I Am a Man. And I Teach Kids Yoga.
I am a man. And I teach kids yoga.
No, that is not a misprint. No, this is not the only teaching job that I could get. I teach yoga to young children because I see how this practice can affect even the earliest of students from infancy on. There are endless literature and studies that show just how much yoga can impact the gross motor and fine motor skills of a younger participant. Instructors and educators all over the world are aware of how important the mind/body connection can be as a child begins to move through preschool to elementary school and beyond. This is why programs dedicated to kids yoga have grown drastically over the past couple of years regardless of socio-economic status or demographic.
However, one thing remains constant (and that is true throughout early childhood education overall) and that is the lack of male teachers willing to work with such young ages.
Of course, part of it is financial. Because we all know how drastically underpaid teachers are in society. And as low as the salaries are for high school, middle school, and elementary school teachers are – preschool teachers (regardless of specialty) fall into an entirely different category way below those.
And the other part is the negative connotations that go with being a male who teaches young children. Gender, sexuality, biases – are all common themes that have been apparent since the first day I started teaching this younger demographic. And believe me, once I was certified as a 200-hr yoga teacher, the response from others as to why I would rather teach kids than adults were met with quite a bit of uncertainty. They said I could make more money. They said that since I was a male in a profession mostly occupied women, that I would stand out at studios and not have the type of competition faced by my female counterparts.
But my answer to anyone who questioned why I chose to teach this younger demographic was that I simply loved working with kids. It’s a passion of mine and one that not only brings me joy but creates smiles and laughter on the faces of every child who crosses my path.
I love that I can let go of my insecurities in front of a group of children. I love that I can say things without judgement. And I love that I can be myself.
Times have certainly changed since I was a child, but there is still a divide that exists between what is considered feminine versus something that is considered masculine. It is amazing to see how these roles have changed over the years and hopefully our society will continue down this path. However, for there to continually be change, pioneers need to step forward and break this male/female paradigm.
I ascribe myself to this group of people who want to take down the gender-specific barriers in the pursuit of change.
I am a man. I teach kids yoga. And I couldn’t be happier!
By Grant Henry