When you think of yoga, you automatically picture a very bendy person, holding their leg over the head and looking calm and collected. But yoga doesn’t just have to be for adults. Karen Williams runs YogaBugs Teeside, a franchised company that offers yoga classes for children. I know what you’re thinking. How can you expect children to hold yoga poses for lengthy periods of time when they can barely sit still eating their dinner? But YogaBugs combines elements of yoga with other fun activities to help benefit children’s growth and development.
Read on to find out why YogaBugs is so right for children in this week’s instalment of She Means Business.
What sort of things do you offer in your classes?
Yogabugs is an imaginative, dynamic and fun way of bringing the benefits of yoga to children from walking to 12 years.
For children up to the age of 7, classes combine stories, nursery rhymes, relaxation and moves inspired by yoga. Children are taken on wild adventures that develop their creative imagination in a fun and safe environment.
From age 8 onwards classes are structured to appeal to an age group who want to be physically challenged, entertained and engaged with games and partner postures, whilst being mentally guided through relaxation and visualisation.
What age groups do you cater for?
YogaBugs teaches children from walking babies up to the age of 12. The ages are divided up as follow –
MiniBugs covers walking to 2 years.
MightBugs covers 2 to 3 ½ years.
Megabugs covers 3 to 5 and 5 to 7 years.
Yoga’d Up covers 8 to 12 years.
What is it about yoga that you feel children can benefit from?
All YogaBugs classes offer an opportunity for children to express their creativity and individuality in a totally inclusive and non-competitive environment. Children are also encouraged to understand the benefits and positive effects of the postures and the importance of breathing techniques. These are benefits which work on many levels, maintaining natural flexibility, encouraging physical exercise and providing the tools to enable children to deal with emotionally stressful situations through breathing and relaxation. These valuable ingredients help and support children through childhood and beyond.
But it’s not all about yoga right? What other elements are involved?
YogaBugs turns yoga, an activity usually associated with adults, into a fun creative playground for children through a series of stories, songs, journeys and games. Yoga postures, breathing and relaxation techniques are woven together into wild adventures and heroic journeys. Yoga with children is as limitless as your imagination!
How would you sell your classes to a parent that was thinking of getting their child involved?
YogaBugs classes are creative imaginative and fun. The breathing and warm up techniques help children to focus; the posture work strengthens and tones their bodies; relaxation and visualisation techniques help their concentration and improve their sleep patterns. Stories are as much fun for adults as for children and provide an enchanting experience. Sharing yoga with children transcends the boundaries of age and physical ability. Through yoga, children can be taught to play cooperatively, take turns and share resources.
YogaBugs is part of a national franchise in the UK. What are the benefits of buying into a business that already has a reputation?
There are many advantages of buying a YogaBugs franchise. I am part of a national network of franchisees that are representing an established brand which is considered by many to be the largest children’s yoga provider in the world. Being part of a network gives me the opportunity to exchange ideas and experience with fellow franchisees. Head office is always at the end of the phone to provide ongoing support and advice with the day to day running of the business. Training is provided in all aspects of the job including teacher training and business training. Franchisees are provided with a developed IT system to manage the business as well as many other benefits such as marketing materials and access to the YogaBugs Intranet which contains everything needed to assist with running your own business.
What made you take the leap into becoming self-employed?
I joined YogaBugs in July 2014 following eleven years as a primary school teacher. After having my two children, I began looking for a better work/life balance that would allow me to combine my love of working with children and my desire to run my own business.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
When I came across YogaBugs I knew it was the right thing for me! Children can be introduced to the benefits of yoga whilst most importantly using their imagination and having fun. I love seeing the impact that YogaBugs can have on children who take part in our classes.
What is your ultimate goal for YogaBugs?
I would like to see YogaBugs offered as part of the curriculum in all schools and nurseries across Teesside. As a trained primary school teacher, I believe that all children should be able to experience the benefits that YogaBugs can offer. I also want to run a number of private classes for the different age groups so that children can enjoy and benefit from these outside of school hours.
Someone asks for your guidance on starting up a business. What advice would you give them?
Choose something that you are genuinely passionate about. Think carefully about whether you know enough about running a business completely independently or whether being part of a franchise would suit you better. Be prepared to work extremely hard and for it to become a bit of an obsession! Yogabugs has certainly become an obsession for me because I am doing something that I love and believe in 100%!
To find out more visit yogabugs.com or follow YogaBugs Teeside on Facebook!