Kids YogaDance Teacher training

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At the end of April 2016, over a long weekend in Brighton I became a Kid’s Yoga teacher through Luna Joy’s Yogadance® Kids training program. The program is an organization providing yogadance classes in schools, nurseries and the community and is associated with the YouthMindfulness Kids and the Yoga4Classrooms Programmes for Schools. This 3 Day Intensive Teacher Training Course is offered worldwide for yoga teachers, school teachers and all people and professionals whose work supports the well-being of children.

My teacher Luna Joy is a fully qualified Primary School Teacher (Mainstream and Steiner), a Kids Yoga Teacher, a 200hr Yoga Elder registered with IYN (Independent Yoga Network) and a fully trained VitalDanza® Facilitator for children and adults.
She trained to be a Kids Yoga Teacher with Dolfijn Wellness in Holland and three other Kids Yoga Trainings in the UK and Ireland.

She developed the Yogadance® Kids Teacher Training Course based on her 20 years of experience in working with children in all kinds of settings, as a Class Teacher, a Dance Teacher for Children/Adults, a Kids Yoga Teacher, and as a Project Manager and Educator working in a Social-Educational Project for children working in the streets in Nicaragua, Central America.

I thoroughly enjoyed this intensive training although it did come with it’s challenges. It is in trainings like this that you learn about parts of yourself you weren’t aware of and you find out what your teaching style and voice is. I realized that the story telling and teaching very little kids was extremely hard for me, perhaps because I am not a mother yet and so that “Mum voice” women use when telling a story just did not come natural to me. However, I relished in learning how to teach yoga to tweens (10-13) and loved that teaching older kids was more about acro-yoga partner games and yoga dancing than telling stories and using props so I knew straight away that this was the age group I wanted to teach and further fueled my desire to eventually do a teenager yoga teacher training and along the way continue learning about mental health, eating disorders and body dysmorphia so that I can show children (particularly tween girls) that they are beautiful and be a part of the fight against teenage depression, bullying and negative body image.

I have ideas already that incorporate belly dance, art making and even Indian head massage techniques with the yoga. How beautiful would it be if I not only performed Indian head massage on my pupils but showed them how to do it themselves so they can give their parents a head & shoulder massage? This would teach the kids kindness and empathy, don’t you think?

The great thing about this kids yoga teacher training was Luna’s free flowing style within a structure. Meaning, she gave us the bare bones framework of how to facilitate a class but encouraged us all to find out what kind of teachers we are. Some of us were naturals at story telling and using puppets and therefore couldnt wait to set up ‘Mum & toddler’ yoga groups, others who worked with children as support workers wanted to teach yoga to kids from turbulent homes, others wanted to reach out to kindergartens and a few like me wanted to teach older kids within community and educational settings.

Luna’s training gave me so much confidence in myself and life path. This is the beginning of greatness I, for a long time didn’t believe I had because it was knocked out of me by certain people through out my childhood and early adulthood, and now I can look to the future with hope and a courage that grows inside my heart every day like a little flame.

I am now creating new business cards, flyers and a website. I am also finally about to enroll on the Dance Therapy (theory) diploma which consists of six modules and if I do well and want to go on to do the practical side to this diploma I have to set up 12 one hour sessions teaching therapeutic dance movement lessons to kids in my local community who are perhaps underprivileged or struggling with mental health. This diploma will fit beautifully with my YogaDance qualification so I am very excited and eager to set up my own classes.

I am also willing to travel around the UK and abroad, my mum lives in Bulgaria so I am currently discussing the possibility of teaching out there. I have also lived & worked in Cyprus and I am in talk with a good friend of mine who runs BloomArt (which is a community school of theatre & music) to teach yoga to her pupils. As long as someone can host me (airport pick up/accommodation) and you believe your school, centre or organization would benefit from my skills lets organize a workshop together?

And with that, stay tuned for further updates and progress on my new found teaching qualification, watch out for more yoga related announcements coming soon!

Budapest: Vienna, Austria Day Trip

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During our five days in Budapest we found out we could hop on a train (5am start, on the train at 6am) and spend a day in Vienna, Austria! Arriving in the city at 9am we had until the last train of the day (9pm) to cram in as much site-seeing as we possibly could. The train ticket for the three hour journey cost about 13 euros which is just over £10. I am unsure if prices change or have changed since we visited but at least this gives you a ballpoint figure. Prices may also vary depending on the time you go and if you want first class, I am pretty sure we booked a generic ticket as we don’t mind sitting in the cheap seats, all you need is a good book, music and good company and you are all set!

Vienna is very elegant and pristine. You can see that the locals are extremely proud of their city. It feels safe, very well looked after and very sophisticated. All the buildings and streets are flawless and many Viennan’s can be seen walking out of opera houses, theatres and concerts in their luxurious cars and stylish clothing. This city is needless to say, expensive to live in, let alone visit but if you are someone who enjoys culture, history and opulent lifestyle then Vienna is for you. Although I am glad I visited Vienna, I did not like the aloof atmosphere and it felt almost too immaculate to enjoy, whereas Budapest had a slightly grungy, boho vibe that implied the lifestyle was down to earth and vibrant, Vienna felt like I was walking around a huge exhibition I was not allowed to touch.

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Walking around Vienna and you can’t help but marvel at the grand architecture. Vienna, the capital of Austria, lies in the country’s east on the Danube River. Its artistic and intellectual legacy was shaped by residents including Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud. The city is also known for its Imperial palaces, including Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ summer residence. In the MuseumsQuartier district, historic and contemporary buildings display works by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and other artists.

Vienna is packed with imperial history; at the same time it has exciting contemporary museums, lively eating and nightlife scenes, and many quiet corners to explore. The city boasts an imperial pomp like no other and whilst some enjoy environments like this, it just wasn’t for me, although some parks within the city looked and felt like you had stepped into a romance novel.

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If Budapest is the city of contemporary arts and urban life, Vienna is the city of classical music and in fact is one of the most musical cities in the world. You can experience the works of Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Beethoven, Johann Strauss (both father and son), Liszt, Brahms, Bruckner and many others in venues like the Staatsoper and Musikverein. The music of Bach and Händel continues to be performed in Vienna’s historic churches today, and Vienna’s Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments, paired with a visit to the Haus der Musik, takes you deeper into the texture of music and how it is created. Venues for classical music are augmented by some great clubs and live rock and jazz places.

Some of the most amazing sites to visit are the city churches, especially in winter to keep warm and dry! The churches are awe-inspiring and so grand you feel engulfed by the high stone walls, the magnificent interior and austere atmosphere. Other sites I recommend include the Schönbrunn Palace. It offers a 30 and 60 minute tour, but go for the shorter one and spend the rest of the time walking the beautiful gardens. A little secret about the palace is that it has the world’s oldest zoo on its premises and is a great treat for families.

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The other sight is the Giant Ferris Wheel at the Prater. Lines can be long and to be honest, it isn’t worth the wait. Photo opportunities from the ground looking up at the wheel can be really nice though. You can even buy a Vienna 2, 3 or 6 day pass that gives you free entry to the likes of the aforementioned Hofburg and Schönbrunn Palaces, plus the main venues in the Museum Quarter, like the MUMOK and the unmissable Leopold Museum, often with “skip the lines” entry. It will save you a fortune! (You can even hop on and off the tourist buses for free).

Vienna is also the birthplace of the coffeehouse and The Sacher Café is the most prominent with its famous Sachertorte. Pair the sweet torte with a strong cup of Viennese coffee and the sugar and caffeine rush will keep you buzzing for hours. To see all the other sights ride the Vienna Ring Tram which is a good value or do what Jon and I did, wear a good pair of walking shoes and walk around all the sites to really get a feel for the place.

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Walking through Vienna is a bit like walking into the pages of a fairytale, as a horse and carriage trots past one ornate palace after another. The Austrian capital is bursting with Imperial history and Baroque architecture, with a musical accompaniment by Mozart and Strauss. But there’s also a more modern side, with Art Nouveau and modernist art.

This hasn’t been a favourite destination but I definitely urge you to visit and experience the grandeur Vienna has to offer. If you are a history buff, music student or someone who can and does enjoy visiting places of a higher budget then Vienna is perfect for a long weekend city break. Steeped in majesty and a pompous attitude, Vienna is a touch of class within Europe.

To see more posts about Budapest mini break click on the links below:
Budapest: Buda
Budapest: Pest

To see more travel write-ups click on the links below:
16 days traveling around Morocco
10 days traveling up the Dalmatian coast of Croatia
Excursion from Croatia to Montenegro
21 days backpacking around Nepal
Random places in the UK

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Happy International Yoga Day!

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A few days ago I just got back home in the UK from visiting my Mum in Bulgaria and have been swamped with the usual daily errands to sort out before I start my summer contract as an activity leader for a language school, so this is a belated Happy International Yoga day to fellow yogis, Summer Solstice & Strawberry Moon blessings to magickal friends and Ramadan Mubarak to Muslim friends!

I am really excited (and a tad nervous) about this summer contract. I am excited because I am allowed to incorporate teaching yoga, dance & arty activities in the line-up and I will also be taking kids out rock climbing, swimming & trekking on Dartmoor. I hope to teach art journalling workshops, Yoga games and dance movement meditations, it’s going to be heaps of fun. I am nervous because it is a teaching role so I will be figuring out my teaching voice and putting it into practice but this is great for when I decide to set up my own freelance classes teaching kids yoga out in the local community once the summer ends.

On another note, I am really proud of my Wheel Pose right now because this time last year I was afraid to push my body up into this asana and even felt like my body was a huge dead-weight that didn’t want to be lifted up. It just goes to show that when the mind and body connect, amazing things can happen. My body no longer feels like lead, it feels light and airy and it is learning to trust my mind a lot more, there is better flow of communication between my vessel and my psyche and I feel magical!

Photo: In a pedestrian subway with an awesome piece of street art in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Photo by Jon Roberts.
Wheel Pose by my vessel.

Chai, Yoga & Manifesting Desires

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I finally met up with this very inspiring lady. Although due to clashing life schedules she is someone I consider a wonderful friend and it is unfortunate we haven’t had the chance to see more of each other. Emma & I met up for a catch up over milkshake and a chai latte at Rumpus Cosy. She gave me encouragement for future endeavors, advice and lovely gifts because she is leaving the country with her husband and son. They are starting a new life and a new adventure in Vietnam! We talked about dreams and manifesting what you desire, she gave me tips on teaching kids yoga and general information about her Vietnam story. This has inspired me even more to carry on working towards my aspirations (which are very similar to Emma’s and are currently in fruition!)

Emma is a qualified primary school teacher, kids yoga teacher and adult & pregnancy yoga teacher. A few years back when attending her kids yoga teacher training, another woman on the course was moving out of the UK to live and work in Vietnam, with her TEFL training and qualifying as a kids yoga teacher she found a nice job in a Vietnamese school. Early this year Emma applied to work at a school in Vietnam, knowing it’s competitive she didn’t expect to hear back but she tried anyway. She recognized the name of the school and soon discovered it was the same school her friend on the kids yoga teacher training all those years ago now works at. She contacted her friend who put in a good word for her as her application was being processed and she got the job. Destiny much? Divine timing much? Synchronicity much?

Her son will be attending the same school but on the English campus so he continues to receive an English curriculum. Her husband has been an art tutor for a local college in Plymouth and is going out to Vietnam jobless but hopes to find work as an art tutor in their local area as there is a nearby university. Although living and working abroad earns you less than in the UK, the quality of life is nicer as most things you need on a daily basis are cheaper, including either renting our buying a property. Plus most often than not the weather is also much better for most of the year.

It is exciting to know she is only a few steps ahead of me, I hope to be doing something similar within the next 6 to 9 months. As I stated in earlier posts, after my summer contract as an activity leader for a language school I hope to enroll on a TEFL course in September which will take about 6 months to complete. I will then be able to apply to work abroad as an English teacher with the added qualification of Kid’s yoga teacher with knowledge in art therapy, nutrition, mental health & well-being plus the usual first aid and health & safety at work skills which always come in handy.

Just talking to Emma motivated and inspired me further to continue on this journey. Fact of the matter is I don’t want to live in the UK anymore, I want and need a reason to travel more and experience other cultures and TEFL will enable that for me and I want to bring my love of creativity & healthy living into the mix too so knowing I could set up art, dance and yoga classes where ever I am in the world would be a dream come true! Who knows I may end up running long weekend retreats!

I know it all sounds like I am getting carried away with my head in the clouds but it can be a reality and Emma is living proof that manifesting your dreams and desires can turn them into a reality. I see myself in a warmer climate, teaching what I love, doing yoga on a beach or by a giant waterfall and learning a new language as I shop at the local market for watermelon and honey. It can happen and it will happen. Even if it doesn’t last forever and I come back to the UK, I’ll be telling my Grand children “when I was 30 I traveled the world and lived in the Far east, I did amazing things and you can too!”.

I’m a published poet in Indie Affair Magazine!

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A short while back I stumbled upon a new online arts and poetry magazine called Indie Affair who were looking for writers and artists to submit their work for the third issue.
I submitted two poems with hope and optimism even though a few weeks prior I submitted poetry to two other platforms who rejected my work. The editor herself emailed me a few days later to say how much she loved my poetry for it’s fusion between earthly sensuality & dream-like quality and wanted to publish both poems in the third issue coming out mid June.

I was over the moon with joy knowing that someone appreciated my work and I could finally honour my late Auntie Carol (my Mum’s eldest sister) who sadly passed away very young and had a difficult life. In her early years she was a published poet and playwright and I have said this before: A lot of the things I do or accomplish is for both my Auntie Carol and my Grandmother (Mother’s Mum) who were both brilliant women who could have become so much more if it wasn’t for the abuse and trauma they were subjected to. This is why although I enjoy being in relationships, I am emotionally very independent and strong willed, I can not and will not be tamed by any man or anyone for that matter. I live for these two women, I envision their spirits seeing things through my eyes which is why I constantly challenge myself, why I live unconventionally, why I never give up, why I write erotic poetry, why I am proud to be an artist, why I belly dance, why I am a flirt, why I love to tease, why I am playful and why I will not conform into a consumerist zombie, I aim to constantly live an extra-ordinary life for my Aunt and Grandmother to set them free and ultimately set myself free.

These two poems in Indie Affair are part of a bigger body of work of an illustrated poetry book I am creating with the hope to publish on Amazon. This poetry book is a study and theme about all kinds of love from parental, friendship, love for nature, desire to loss.
In the magazine the first poem is about unrequited love and the second is erotic.

So if you wish to see my poetry click on the link below and it will open up a new tab to the magazine and I am on page 18!
Indie Affair Magazine, issue three