Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend!
Today we are starting the week with the interview of Donna Freeman from ‘Yoga In My School’ podcast. If you never heard about her podcast, she talks about bringing yoga and mindfulness into schools from children to teenagers and it is so fascinating! There are so many benefits that yoga and meditation can bring to adults but also young minds! And young minds also needs it right now more than ever. Empathy, compassion are emotions that needs to be developed more and more in our societies and starting from a young age can only serve them and everyone in the good way. Now I let Donna Freeman tell you all about her intentions and her so fascinating yogi journey!
Hi! Can you introduce yourself a bit to the readers who don’t know you yet?
My name is Donna Freeman, I’m a teacher by trade and a yogi by heart. I travelled the globe for many years but now call Alberta, Canada home. I have four kids, one sweetie and a cute little dog.
Can you tell us about your yogi journey?
I was introduced to yoga while living in Cape Town, South Africa back in 1997. It was love at first pose. My first instructor was amazing and she really lit the fire within. Yoga has been with me through four pregnancies, a major car accident, years of distance running, and everyday living. I love that yoga and meditation are highly adaptable. Whether I need a restorative, gentle practice or a kick-your-butt sweaty one, yoga is there for me.
What does yoga mean for you?
Coming home to myself. Finding that sweet connection of body-mind-spirit and living in line with my heart’s desire.
What fascinated you into kids yoga?
As a teacher bringing yoga to kids just made sense. I started teaching kids yoga immediately with my own littles. Back in the day many people were confused as to why kids would need yoga and mindfulness and I had to do a lot of explaining. Now there are numerous studies to back up the claims and most everyone understands how important these tools are for our children.
What is the project behind Yoga In My School?
Yoga In My School purposes are – 1) to bring yoga and mindfulness to children 2) to empower caring adults with tools to share the joys and benefits of yoga with children 3) to encourage lifelong learning and a zest for life through connection, self- awareness and compassion
What pushed you to start the podcast?
I started my podcast back in 2009 as a way to connect with the Yoga In My School community as well as other leaders in the kids yoga world. It has been an amazing ride over the years and I’ve been blessed to interview some truly incredible individuals while addressing interesting and important topics.
What did you learn from this experience?
I’ve learned so much from the people I’ve interviewed. Each one has taught me something. Over the course of 10 years I’ve learned a lot about the technology side of things as that keeps changing. Best of all I consider many of the podcast guests friends and colleagues with whom I get to chat and we can totally geek out on all things yoga.
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Do you teach in schools and to which classes?
Yes, I teach in lots of schools, preschools and day cares. I teach everything from babies aged 1 to teens in grade 12. I also teach adults and seniors with my oldest student currently aged 84.
How do the kids react to the practice?
Kids love yoga. They love to roll out their mats, get into their bodies, explore the breath, do partner poses, play yoga games. Sometimes I encounter some resistance but I can usually win kids and teens over. My goal is to give them a positive yoga experience so they want to come back and do it again.
Are schools more and more looking forward to offer these classes to their students?
Yes, schools are very much on board, for the most part, to offer yoga and mindfulness to their students. Administrators have seen the evidence of the benefits. Teacher notice the impact in the classroom. Students are calmer, more focused and can self-regulate. Parents see their kids are better equipped to handle life’s challenges.
If you could motivate one mum or one dad out there to practice yoga with their kid, what would you say to them?
Go play yoga, have fun, roll out your mats together and enjoy the moment. Your kids are going to grow up really fast. Set an example for them of living mindfully, eating well, moving your body, and embracing all life has to offer.
Can you share with us one book about kid yoga that you really liked?
For teachers or parents who want to know how to share yoga with kids my book Once Upon a Pose: A Guide to Yoga Adventure Stories for Kids is a comprehensive look at all things kids yoga related. My all-time favorite mindfulness book is King Calm: Mindful Gorilla in the City by Susan Sweet and Brenda Miles. I did an interview with them when the book was first released, I loved it so much.
And finally, what’s next in your projects?
I’ve just done a relaunch of my podcast and am now including videos on YouTube of each interview along with the audio feed that is available on more outlets like Spotify and iHeartRadio. I’m organizing a number of guests to focus on trauma informed practices, social justice and accessible yoga for the coming year.
Thanks for answering Donna!
Did you like this interview? Tell me in the comments! If you want to check out more about Yoga In My School website, check this link and for the podcast, this link. You can also listen to it on Spotify where I discovered it in the first place!