Just in time for National Children’s Day, we catch-up with Tiffany Belzer on her personal journey from being a mom, school teacher, to Kids Yoga instructor at Nandi. Her dedication inspires us in so many ways!
Nandi Staff: What are the three words would you use to describe your Kids Yoga journey/practice, and why?
Tiffany Belzer: It’s more than three words but I go back to Pattabhi Jois and his quote which really sums it up for me, “Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.” Everyday I teach, every class I teach, and I learn. It’s the practice of teaching that continues to fuel my growth as teacher and as a person. In Kids Yoga there is this ongoing dynamic interaction between the teacher and the students and the group as a whole. No two classes are the same.
NS: What do you want everyone to know about Kids Yoga, and any benefits it provide for children today?
TB: I believe yoga is for all. The benefits adults enjoy from yoga are there for younger students as well. What is really powerful for children doing yoga is that they are learning to breathe with awareness and move their bodies building flexibility, strength and balance as their brains and bodies are still developing. Kids in my classes learn that by stopping and focusing on their breath they calm down their minds and make better decisions. I wish I’d learned that as a child, don’t you?
NS: Who was your inspiration in starting your Kids yoga journey? Please explain and share any previous stories from your personal experiences.
TB: Prior to being a yoga instructor I was an elementary school teacher. I left teaching when I became a mom in 2000 and it was in those years at home raising my children that I discovered yoga. For me the benefits of yoga were life changing. Being a stay at home mom with two young children is challenging. The days I practiced yoga I noticed that I was more patient, calm and had more energy. I credit my children with bringing yoga into my life. I completed my Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training in 2006 and signed up shortly after for a kids training. I had spent most of my adult life working with children so it was a natural next step.
NS: What kept you to continue in teaching Kids Yoga, and building a community at Nandi?
TB: From the beginning Wendy (Nandi’s Owner) wanted the studio to be a place that would welcome kids and families. In addition to the several options of yoga for adults she envisioned multiple classes for kids from toddlers to teens, including family yoga, prenatal and mom & baby classes. Being an experienced Kids Yoga teacher I was thrilled to have the opportunity to build the program in this supportive environment. Most yoga studios don’t have options for kids and if they do there might be one or two classes but they aren’t the heart of the studio.
NS: What’s next on your horizon that we should know about?
TB: I’ll be leading a Yoga for Kids Teacher Training at Nandi this August 6-7, 2016. More details to follow on the website as the date gets near. This training is designed for yoga teachers and classroom teachers who want to teach yoga to kids. The world needs more Kids Yoga teachers! I currently work as a Health and Wellness Instructor in a public elementary school in East Palo Alto, California. What’s exciting is that we’re bringing yoga practices in to the schools and teaching students who otherwise might not have the opportunity.
About Tiffany Belzer
Prior to Tiffany’s yoga journey, she spent over 10 years teaching in preschools and as an elementary school teacher. After becoming a mom in 2000, she left the classroom to be with her children. During this time, she discovered yoga.
She was Yoga Alliance certified in E-RYT 200 and RCYT. She had received her teacher training at Its Yoga, San Francisco in Ashtanga Vinyasa with Larry Schultz in 2006. In order to expand her skills to teach yoga to children, she went on to be trained at Its Yoga, Kids. In the past 8+ years, she has taught yoga to children, adults and families throughout the San Francisco Bay area.
In addition, Tiffany’s yoga philosophy directly transcends into her teaching style: live, love, and shine your light. Her own experiences as a mother led to yoga for the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of the practice. She believes it is through the familial relationships that we receive continual opportunities for growth. She strives to provide a space where children and families are able to playfully connect in a stress-free environment, and enjoying the beautiful practice of yoga.
Contact Tiffany: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/YogaTiffany