Interviewed by Sarah McElwain

You teach Kids Yoga for 7 to 11 year olds. What inspired you to teach this class?

As yoga instructors, I see it as our goal to share yoga with as many people as possible. After teaching adult students and young adult college students for a couple of years, I wanted to focus more of my day-to-day work on sharing and living out the yoga practice with people of all ages. I taught Kindergarten last year and would start the mornings with a few poses and moments of mediation and intentional breathing. The children loved it and were motivated to master the poses each day. When the opportunity presented itself, I was thrilled to hold space once a week for children to practice yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises at IYI in NYC. 

Children’s yoga can also benefit the family unit, as it serves as a connector.  It opens the student’s awareness of loving kindness and the unlimited possibilities to apply it with loved ones and peers alike in day to day interactions, in times of ease and in times of dis-ease. Teaching children how to regulate their bodies and minds can only make it easier for parents to encourage children to develop independence and autonomy throughout their development. 

Wishing I had learned earlier about positive stress-management tools, I want to offer children a positive outlet (early on) that can serve them in the ever-evolving world, a world that keeps getting augmented with external stressors. Yoga has had a positive influence on my maturation, and was an outlet I relied on when I found myself deliberately anxious and insecure in college.  The transformative power of yoga in my life has led me to introduce yoga to other populations s an opportunity to release, such as men in substance use disorder treatment facilities. With children, yoga has even more power, as it is a protective and preventive way of avoiding maladaptive coping skills that people develop as they grow up. Learning to integrate yoga as a default coping skill at an early age can only lead to better people, better connections, and a more patient world. 

What do you hope your students will experience in your class?

Children are innately excellent at living in the present moment. My hope is to maintain their ability to live in the present moment for as long as possible. In my class, students have fun through mindful movement, calm moments of contemplation, bursts of breathwork, and community connection. I want each class to be a joyful experience but also a space to develop and unleash skills that will last a lifetime. I hope my students learn that the power to fuel their well-being starts within and they can cultivate it whenever they need. 

What special skills do you bring to teaching this class?

In my yoga class, expect positive energy, physical intensity, mindful sequencing, cooperation and connection. As an instructor, I lean into child-like curiosity while also sharing my energy as a guide. I practice patience and presence while teaching and create a space where each student feels seen. In turn, this helps me  empower others in their yoga practice.  

What do you love about Integral Yoga?

I love how IYI remains respectful to the yoga practice. In the modern age, many studios and schools of yoga have stripped out the philosophical and lifestyle components of yoga and focus solely on the asana practice. I love how IYI pushes me to be a better human by practicing yoga off my mat; practicing karma yoga and creating a life that aligns with my values. After teaching yoga for a couple of years at corporate fitness studios in CA and NY, I completed my 200 hours at the IYI in NYC last summer as a way to gain a comprehensive and holistic approach to yoga. IYI’s 200-hour teacher training inspired me to learn more about the mind, body, and spirit connection, emphasizing the profound capacity for such integrative healing modalities. Moving into a professional career in the psychology field, I know that these integrated concepts will play a role in what I bring to the world as a healer. Learning, teaching, and growing as a student and teacher at IYI aligns with my passions, purpose, and further fuels my interest in psychological healing. 

Holly (Lalita) Hoover received her BA in Psychology from University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s degree at Columbia University’s Teachers College in Clinical and Counseling Psychology. As an Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor at a rehabilitation facility in San Diego, California, she produced research articles on recovery, wellness, addiction and substance use disorders for rehab facilities across the country. Holly has a background teaching yoga to elementary school students in underserved communities in Oakland, California. She incorporates all of her interests, a holistic wellness approach, and a warm demeanor to treat patients and work with children to achieve their full potential.

Ongoing Class: IY Kids 7-11 Mondays, 4:30 PM – 5:15 PM in-person

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