Yoga Teacher - Fenella Lindsell
Fenella Lindsell and her husband, co-founders of The Art of Health and Yoga Centre South-West London, opened the centre to offer complementary health treatments and related classes to everyone. They had 3 children during the 7 years at the premises and as a result many of the classes and therapies offered were directed at babies, infants and small children. One of the most successful activities was YogaBugs.
YogaBugs classes are targeted at children aged 2 ½ to 7 years old. Fenella integrated postures into adventures and creative stories which children love. Since YogaBugs was created at The Art it has developed further to help children from all walks of life and is committed to the on going development of Yoga for Children
Name Fenella Lindsell
Location Balham, South West London
Family husband and 4 children
Job title: Yoga Teacher
How did you become a Yoga Teacher? What is your background?
I had worked for many years in the travel industry and during a trip to India I was taught by a teacher who had studied under Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar who founded the Iyengar yoga method. When I came back to the UK I found a wonderful teacher who I carried on learning with. I then set up the complementary health centre 'The Art of Health' in Balham with my husband and began teaching classes.
What inspired you to start teaching yoga to children?
When we opened the Art of Health my step-son was aged 3, he was suffering from anxiety from the effect of his parents divorce when he was 1. We found that he loved joining in classes with my husband and I and that it had a very positive effect on his mood and confidence. Seeing the change yoga made to him was the initial catalyst for setting up YogaBugs.
Do you still teach yourself?
I am not so hands-on now, YogaBugs has grown phenomenally and very quickly. We saw a fantastic response and interest from journalists from the very early days - we've been featured all over the National Press and have just finished filming an episode of the Dragons Den which will be shown in Autumn. I am now much more involved in the business side of running YogaBugs rather than teaching. We have 800 teachers currently working under the YogaBugs license who teach around 35,000 children between them!
How does the job of being a teacher fit round family life?
Very well - the majority of our classes are run before, during and after the school day - the last classes end around 4.30pm. Many of our teachers who are Mums simply take their own children to these classes with them. Almost all classes are run in a school-setting and we are seeing more and more which are falling within a school day. The government are pushing 'Sport for All' and PPA (Planning, Preparation and Assessment) time for teachers within school hours...the children still need to be engaged in an activity during this time and Yoga is an excellent subject for these times. One of the real benefits to schools is that yoga is all-inclusive and non-competitive so is an activity everyone can join in with.
Is teaching children yoga rewarding?
Yes, hugely so! You can really see the effect yoga has on children both physically and mentally. It builds self-confidence, helps children to sleep better, maintains flexibility and tones and strengthens their bodies. The difference between the bodies of 3 and 7 year olds in terms of mobility is huge - 3 year olds are running around all the time being active, by the time children are 7 they are sitting down a lot more and yoga can help address these issues.
What is the most challenging aspect in your opinion about being a teacher?
Sometimes children don't always behave as you would want them to! Our ethos at YogaBugs is to try and engage the attention of the class as soon as they get into the room to make sure our teachers have as much control as possible. The YogaBugs forum we have on our website is invaluable to help teachers with any issues they may face - we had one teacher who was having trouble with a class of 5-7 year olds, she posted a request for advice on the forum and within a day had 13 emailed replies and 10 telephone calls!
Do you think it is a job that fits in well with being a Mum with young children?
Yes, teaching fits in very well with being a Mum. The majority of our classes are in school time, and teachers who are Mums often take their own children with them to any pre or after school sessions. Teaching Yogabugs is a lot more 'mum friendly' than 'normal' yoga teaching as you teach in the day and your classes are over by 4.30pm instead of having to wait to teach until the evening.
Any advice for a Mum or Dad wanting to start training?
If you have a background in yoga and like the idea of teaching children then YogaBugs could be for you. You must have a minimum of 2 years continous yoga practise - involving both classes and home in order to train with Yogabugs. We also offer training for teachers who have been practising for a minimum of 5 years to teach sessions to older children through Yogadup our classes for 8-12 year olds.
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