Presenter Spotlight: Leah Kalish, Move with Me Yoga Adventures

Leah Kalish
Move with Me Yoga Adventures

Leah Kalish, MA

Leah Kalish is a parent, Family Constellation facilitator, Embodiment Process ™ practitioner, and recognized expert in both teaching children and creating resources and curricula that integrate play, stories, yoga, mindfulness, and social-emotional learning.  After creating successful products and curricula for Gaiam, School Specialty, Imaginazium, Yoga Ed. and Barefoot Books, Leah started her own company,  Move with Me Yoga Adventures, which provides movement and mindfulness resources and training to early childhood educators/parents.

How long have you been teaching kids yoga?

20 years.

What inspired you to get started?

My own yoga and my desire to support children’s connection to their innate intelligence and inner resources.

Tell us a bit more about your work.

I help everyone I work with, all ages, connect to their bodies, observe what’s so, and be with and play with whatever is there in a mindful way. I teach groups, I create, I run a business, I work with individuals.

Who is the community or population that you serve?

Teachers, teens, toddlers, parents.

What are the specific ways you think yoga can be helpful for kids?

Yoga brings us into ourselves and gives us practices and tools that develop our abilities to be conscious, compassionate, and masterful.  It teaches us how to be a good friend to ourself so we can then be a good friend to others and the world.

Tell us about that one pivotal experience—the student, class or moment—that keeps you going even when your work gets challenging.

A sixth grade boy complained that he could not meditate.  After a few seconds of quiet, his eyes would pop open and he’d look frightened. I acknowledged what was happening in his body and he agreed that’s how it felt.  I asked him if there was anything in the room that was scaring him and he responded No.  I suggested that it was a memory of something scary that he was still holding in his body. He got that.  So, I asked him to imagine that he was a kettle on the boil and that the sensations arising in his body from the fearful memory were the steam.  He agreed to try again.  I sat with him.  He closed his eyes.  After several breaths, a wave of energy rippled through him.  Then, it was gone.  He continued to settle more deeply, eyes closed. He sent me such a profound smile of gratitude at the end of class that it has always stayed with me.   Later I found out that when he was younger, his parents had died in a car accident and he lived with an older brother.

Who or what inspires you the most in your work?

Currently–Wendy Piret because she’s amazing as a teacher, friend, collaborator, creator, parent.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

Seeing people happier, more fluid, more able to be responsible for their own well-being.

What brings you the deepest joy in your own yoga practice and in sharing yoga with kids?  

The deepening of my relationship to spirit.

What is your favorite yoga pose? What pose do you think benefits your students the most?

Balance poses – especially upside down ones and relaxation.

Describe your vision for the future of kids yoga.  

It’s an integral / core aspect of all educational curriculum.

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