Yoga crept up on my family by stealth. I wouldn’t call myself a yogi, but I have always found respite and restoration in yoga poses and breathing; they seemed to find a natural meaning in my heart and soul, mind and body without my needing to instruct those parts of myself. Occasionally I would do a few poses at home and my children would join in – then ask to do more. Their little bodies were instinctively drawn to its charms. I began to ponder how we could bring more of this magic in to our lives and the idea of ‘bendy beans’ was born.
The more I pondered, the more I realised a kids’ yoga project would really epitomise Mainspring values: physical literacy (this will be the subject of another blog…), creativity, community and connection. Yoga encourages children to explore their physical potential imaginatively, working creatively with themselves and with others. They make shapes and stories with their bodies; shapes and stories that tell the tales of, and make sense of the world around them, as well as their own extraordinary inner landscapes. Yoga is an opportunity to pause, take notice, go with the flow, extend oneself – and let go.
School seemed an ideal place to start as we hoped the values of the project would serve as a backdrop to support the incredible contribution our schools have in making a community. We wanted to make sure that whoever taught these classes would be vested in the the life of the school, so it was key to the project that a parent should be involved. With the help of Brockley’s Sunflower Centre, we created a bursary to train our first parent-teacher with Yoga Beez Children’s Yoga School and classes began in September 2017. We are now planning classes at Gordonbrock School and The Sunflower Centre.
We were really delighted to have Amanda get bendy beans up and running at John Stainer (you can read her biography here). Soran also runs one of the John Stainer classes.
Here are some of the amazing things children are saying about bendy beans classes:
‘Yoga was amazing, it was so fun and the teacher was really, really good. It’s weird because it was really calm and relaxing but fun and exciting too!’
’On the inset day, the only thing she really wanted to do was make time for some yoga practice!’
‘When I feel sweaty and scrunched up, yoga helps me stretch out!’
‘He often comments that yoga can help with his dance and swimming – thanks very much for making the class fun and interesting!’
‘I like everything! Everything was so nice and relaxing”
‘I love yoga. I like doing yoga to interesting stories (and Amanda is nice)’.
We aim to make these classes as accessible and affordable as possible. Two free places are created in each class for children identified by the school as whom they feel would most benefit. A small amount of the profits will contribute to generating further bursaries to train more parent-teachers. Our plan is to extend this project into as many local schools as possible: if you are a staff member or parent interested in bringing bendy beans into your school, get in touch with us. Are you are able to make a donation to help train more parent-teachers ensuring as many children as possible benefit from the wonders of kids yoga? We would love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.