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Kids Yoga Teacher Spotlight : Sarah Crisafi

We are so grateful to have Sarah in our lives!  She's our first RCYT graduate and so incredibly proud of all the work she does through Bloom Yoga.  Follow her on Instagram @rmclc_bloom_yoga or @sarahliz697 and BE INSPIRED!!!!  You can also learn more about the Rocky Mountain Law Center @COChildlaw.

** She's always looking for volunteers to support a wide array of programming, so reach out!

Tell us a little about yourself: I grew up in Evergreen CO. and moved back there to raise my own children!  My husband’s name is Noah and we have two sweet little girls named Haddie and Maryn.  We have a dog named Basil and cat named Panda. I played soccer my entire life from childhood through college.  After college I coached children’s soccer and that started my love for teaching and coaching children.  I graduated from University of Northern Colorado with my B. S. in Human Services and from Regis University with my MEd. in Education.  I started my career in Child Welfare, working for kids who have experienced abuse and neglect, in 2005.  Through this work, I found yoga as my escape, self-care and life practice.  I found so much of what I practiced on the mat, translates to off the mat too! I currently work for Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center.  In 2016, I had the opportunity to talk with the director of our agency Mrs. Becky Miller-Updike, about what I thought could be beneficial for the children we serve in Child Welfare, that’s innovative, and serves the whole child.  I told her about all the research and benefits of yoga for trauma and how we could teach yoga to children, youth and families within the systems of child welfare, education and juvenile justice.  Through this conversation we started Bloom Yoga, a trauma informed yoga program for children, youth and families.  Bloom shares yoga with youth who ordinarily don’t get the opportunity to practice it. Many times these populations of children only receive the bare minimum of services, interventions and extracurricular activities.  Our goal is to make yoga accessible to all kids.  We also want to provide children and youth skills they can use later in life, or to manage trauma or other adverse experiences.  Bloom likes to use yoga to build resilience and to supply kids with healthy coping skills they can use throughout their lives. Bloom follows trauma informed techniques to teaching yoga and has taken trainings from David Emerson, Molly Birkolm and James Fox.  I am finishing up my registered children’s yoga teacher certification (RCYT) this summer. I also teach yoga for Pranatonic Yoga and Wellness, the Prison Yoga Project, and Creative Minds Preschool.

Tell us about what initially interested you about taking a kids yoga teacher training?  What was your intention with this training? My goal for this training was to get more skills to provide more meaningful yoga to the children we serve. I wanted to gain more experience adapting yoga to children, so that it’s fun and beneficial for them.

How have you found the experience of learning how to teach kids yoga? I had a blast in this training program.  There is nothing like rapping, singing, rhyming, all while doing yoga, in a training class.  I laughed a lot, and it made learning fun.  I found that it just takes a lot of practice, and its nice to learn from teachers who have a ton of experience with lots of different populations.

What have been your biggest take aways? It’s amazing the amount of knowledge and skill it takes to really create a meaningful class, specific to the population you are serving.  I loved hearing about developmental theories, specifically Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and how it related to the content and format of your yoga class.  This was helpful to Bloom yoga, because we work with underserved populations, whose basic needs are sometimes unmet.  How do we create safety and predictability in yoga to meet that need, so we can continue to grow and learn.  Another takeaway was how we can use yoga games and activities to teach coping skills, character development and promote social emotional learning as well.  

Where have you grown as a caretaker and a person because of the training and teaching?

I feel like I have definitely grown in my yoga teaching skills.  This gave me more confidence to try new things.  Sometimes you start teaching what you know and feels safe, so going out and trying new skills has been hugely beneficial for Bloom Yoga.  Also, this training program did such a great job of talking about individual children, different circumstances, and behaviors.

**Originally Posted 6.5.18

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