So… you dove into children’s yoga trainings, voraciously read and wrote about your experiences, apprenticed through the mentorship program, have been hugely inspired by your peers in training and how this work attracts so many different kinds of people, and now you are a fully certified Little Flower Yoga children’s teacher! Congrats! Your heart is beaming, and your brain is starting to think, “Okay, now what?”
Maybe this is completely your story, maybe just a piece strikes a chord, or perhaps you are just at the beginning, contemplating this path. No matter where you are, we all have those moments of wondering how this work fits into our lives in a practical way. By regularly reflecting on this, you can surely create a sustainable, thriving model for yourself to bring more joy into the lives of children, and your own.
Step 1: What is my grandest vision for myself in this work?
Ask yourself this over and over until you have refined your dream intro something that lights you up. Write it down and start sharing it with others. Let this vision lead you to your radiant future. It doesn’t matter how big it is, or how impossible it may seem at the moment. Put it out there to yourself that your greatest dreams are possible— just in the same way you aim to do for your students. If you are working through our whole program and have completed your vision paper, you already have done much of this work!
Step 2: Who do I want to teach?
Figure out which age groups and/or populations are most interesting for you to work with. This doesn’t have to be the group you are committed to forever, but aim to narrow your focus from all kids, to a range that is more specific to your interests and perhaps connected to your long term goals. As an example, let’s say you are interested in working with 8-10 year old girls. This doesn’t mean you won’t teach students outside this range, but it is wise to identify the population you most wish to work with.
Step 3: What is my availability?
Are you looking to transition to full time work, or teach a volunteer event once a year? Probably something in-between! Figure out what you are aiming for in the short term, and plan for the long term (if you see it changing) to accommodate your broader vision down the line. Be practical with the fullness of your current calendar and the demands on your time. Let’s say for now, you are available 2 afternoons per week, and you would like to teach on one afternoon and use the other to plan and reflect on your teaching for next week. (Don’t underestimate the time it takes to prep well for your teaching— especially in the beginning!)
Step 4: Who is in my network?
Once you have a clear, exciting dream for yourself, know the population(s) you most want to teach, and are solid on your schedule, you are ready to start tapping into your existing networks.
If you have children of your own, it may be easy to start there with their school, friends, clubs, and activities.
If you don’t, start to think about your network of family and friends who have kids and/or work with children. Expand your horizons. Begin to reach out to those who work with 8-10 year old girls and share your new dream with them, and the skills you’ve learned in training. In this example, you could research all of the local Girl Scout troops in your area and see if you might be able to work with them.
Let’s imagine some other possibilities: You want to teach preschool and you have an old college friend who runs a preschool and you’ve been liking her recent trip photos on Facebook? Turn that into a conversation about your new path teaching yoga to kids. You want to teach high school boys and your brother coaches a basketball team? Perhaps you can come warm them up for their next game. You pass by a bake sale at your local school run by the PTA? Strike up conversation with some of the members there about how you would like to get involved.
When you are starting out, you will likely be eager to explore all of these types of options— go for it! You might surprise yourself and open up new paths to pursue. The best way to start is to be fully passionate about your vision. This will be infectious to others, and give you the confidence to reach out to the widest group of people. It certainly takes your finest hustling skills, but you are more than ready for it. I can’t wait to celebrate your successes with you.
Each month Lianne will be writing a reflection on each one of her songs on her soon to be released album, "Breathe In". Her first song and reflection is called "Wishing Tree" and we hope you enjoy this as much as we do.…When you wish upon a star, Makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires,, Will come to you…
Listening to this song as a little girl, I remember thinking something like: “Wait a second, if I make a wish when I see a star, it will come true?! That’s AMAZING!”
Although a New York City child doesn’t see many stars, they occasionally catch one here or there. Whenever I managed to spot a star, it was a magical moment - a time to think about what I wanted most in the world. I’d look up into the night sky wide-eyed and smiling, and the possibilities just seemed endless. Six-year-old me wished for her favorite Barbie doll, an easy bake oven, GAK, the Full House board game, or a Troll; she even wished that she didn’t have to share a bedroom with her older sister! It didn’t matter what the wish was; when I was little, I really believed that if I made a wish upon a star, it would come true.
Stars weren’t the only things that I wished on. Birthday candles were a perfect opportunity. I remember carefully planning out my birthday wishes months before my actual birthday. They always seemed to revolve around whichever toys I wanted that year. As a six-year-old, it was clear: I wanted the newest and best Polly Pocket. “Blow out the candles, Lianne!” Closing my eyes, I visualized the Polly Pocket in my hands, took a deep breath and then wished with every bone in my body:
“PLEASE, let me get the newest and best Polly Pocket!”
When my wishes came true, it was obvious that the magic was real. And it was ok if they didn’t come true, because for a six-year-old, there’s always another wish right around the corner.
I can’t remember exactly when, but at some point I stopped wishing so much. Eventually, it seemed like I rarely wished at all. I would spot a star and see it for what it was: a sparkle in the sky, not an opportunity to fulfill my heart’s desires. And one year, as another birthday crept up on me, I realized that I hadn’t so carefully planned and visualized the moment as I had before. Because of this procrastination, “Blow out the candles, Lianne!” led to a moment of sudden panic, instead of the moment I had been waiting for all year. Without a plan, I closed my eyes, blew out my birthday candles and let the moment pass.
Six-year-old Lianne would have been horrified to witness how careless she would soon become with her wishes.
As adults, it can be easy to wonder whether there is any point at all in wishing. With the magic and mystery of childhood fading and our busy lives taking over, visualizing one’s desires can feel pointless. Believing in wishing starts to seem more like wishful thinking, and a song like “When You Wish Upon a Star” loses its secret meaning as it becomes just another pretty melody.
In his book, The Power of Intention, Dr. Wayne Dyer writes, “You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.” After reading this, I realized something about my wishes: All the little thoughts that I say to myself before I go to sleep, or that wish that I have about another person’s well-being, or my silent thoughts - the ones that no one else will ever find out – all of these desires shine through so clearly in how I interact with the world and the people around me. I believe that wishing can take on a new purpose as we become adults. They mature along with us, and they can tell us a lot about who we are if we pay attention. Polly Pocket, GAK and Barbie Dolls haven’t made my wish list in the past 20 years, but my aspirations, the things I want to accomplish in my life, and my hopes for others and for the world have taken the forefront.
By practicing mindfulness regularly, we can learn that wishing as an adult is not about getting what you want materialistically; it is also about helping to connect with yourself and others. And when you know what your desires are, you can inspire others to realize their own desires. Now, when I revisit the song, it seems to take on a different meaning:
…When you wish upon a star, Makes no difference who you are, Anything your heart desires, Will come to you…
Rather than just having my heart’s desires “come to me”, I have found that when I am connected to my internal desires for myself, others, and the world at large, I am internalizing who I am - and that is really all that I can wish for. In continuing my journey as a children’s mindfulness and yoga instructor, what I “am” is being brought to my students every day. I must be connected to my own wishes, so that my students can be inspired to connect with theirs. And keeping this in mind, the magical quality of my wishes has returned.
To encourage children to identify their intentions and the power of their wishes, I have written “Wishing Tree”, a song that introduces children to the idea of sending good wishes to themselves and to others. You can listen to “Wishing Tree” here: