Presenter Spotlight: Kathy Flaminio, 1000 Petals

Kathy Flaminio
1000 Petals

KathyFlaminio

Kathy Flaminio, LGSW, ERYT-200 has over 20 years experience as a Social Worker in the Minneapolis Public Schools in regular and special education settings. She is also the founder of 1000 Petals LLC, a well being consulting company that trains educators/therapists on how to integrate Yoga-Based Movement, Mindfulness techniques and Social/Emotional skills into the classroom and therapeutic settings.  Kathy currently works at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital providing yoga-based therapy for patients on the Child/Adolescent Mental Health Unit and Chemical Dependency/Dual Diagnosis Unit.

How long have you been teaching kids yoga? What inspired you to get started?
I have been a school social worker for over 20 years and also in the fitness/wellness industry for 26 years. Ten years into my work in the schools I started integrating Yoga and Mindfulness and within 6 weeks saw changes I hadn’t seen in 10 years. Students were using the practices not only at school but at home. I then received a sabbatical from the Public Schools to research yoga, mindfulness and their intersection with mental health. It was at this time that I met the Yoga Calm founders and began collaborating with them to provide training to educators and clinicians.
Tell us a bit more about your work. What does a typical class [or day] look like? Who is the community or population that you serve?

I work in the schools training educators and also provide onsite work in classrooms, pre-K-12th grade. We also provide trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness practices in the hospital child/adolescent mental health and dual diagnosis in-patient units.  Classes in the school range from 20-30 minutes and 60 minutes in the hospital. Our program provides the educators and clinicians the tools to integrate yoga and mindfulness into their work. We are working with schools and entire schools districts implementing these practices.  A typical day includes consultation, on-site teaching and coaching.
What are the specific ways you think yoga can be helpful for kids?

Yoga and mindfulness practices provide our youth essential tools to navigate life’s joys and challenges.  It provides them a tool kit to move within and become self-aware empowering them with life-long skills for well-being. We are teaching them the power of the pause.. learning the art of responding and the importance of self-care.
Tell us about that one pivotal experience—the student, class or moment—that keeps you going even when your work gets challenging.

When a child looks at me in wonder asking what is the peaceful feeling she is experiencing despite having her life feel completely chaotic. During journaling after practicing yoga a patient drew herself as a half girl/half monster.  She stated she always felt like a monster but today when she put her hand on her heart, her heart stated she wasn’t the monster and then she stated she was not her depression.


Who or what inspires you the most in your work?

The gift of doing this work is what inspires me.  I am inspired to see individuals recognize their greatness. I am inspired by entire classrooms, schools and districts changing the way they are doing things by incorporating mindfulness and yoga.  I am humbled to be a part of a practice that allows individuals to be revealed as they are: whole and perfect.


What is the most rewarding part of your work?

Honestly I love it all!  It is my life work.  I love working with the educators and clinicians-see the changes they make within one training session. I LOVE working with children/teens and am humbled every time to be a part of this sacred work.
What brings you the deepest joy in your own yoga practice and in sharing yoga with kids?

Yoga has been such an integral part of my life. I come to my mat and I allow myself to be revealed.  Each time it is a coming home, a union, a refuge.  It has helped me navigate the devastation of losing my brother and brought me ease in my everyday life.
What is your favorite yoga pose? What pose do you think benefits your students the most?

To me the most beneficial poses are the grounding poses-like tree, eagle, and warrior. They allow us to step into our strength and find the balance point within ourselves.  I think this is critical when working with children that have experienced trauma.


Describe your vision for the future of kids yoga.

My wish is that all children have the opportunity to learn yoga and mindfulness just like reading, writing and math. That it is integrated into the school day and into hospital settings as a primary treatment modality.  I see children growing up with these skills and changing the world.

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