DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — When two of her youngest students bounce off their mats and giggle at one another’s jokes, Avery Jones doesn’t scold them or even mind. She smiles and keeps on leading the rest of her class through another pose.
Jones, 14, just likes to go with the flow, which is the name of her weekly yoga class.
“When I was 6, we used to get (yoga) videos from the library, and we would follow them along,” Jones said before her March 24 class in Johnson Park. When her family settled in Marble Falls about six years ago, she just kept up her yoga practice.
At 10, Jones was leading Wiggle Worm yoga, which was for younger children. Jones wanted to learn more about yoga and develop her teaching skills. So last year, she enrolled in Sana Vida’s yoga instructor program.
“It was amazing,” Jones said about the 200-hour program, which she attended for six weeks. “I learned so much. It went over all the different types of yoga and really helped me develop as a teacher.”
At 14, most kids are worried about turning in schoolwork on time or what to wear the next day, not building a business. Jones, however, doesn’t appear overwhelmed at what’s she’s doing. The Go With the Flow class, which meets 3:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays (weather permitting), draws mostly moms and their kids (as well as a few of Jones’ siblings.) She lets anybody attend the first class free, and then it’s $5 a session.
“I’m really focusing on bringing yoga to the kids,” Jones said. She loves that moms show up and take the class with their children. Jones also realizes kids have a dramatically shorter attention span than adults, so she devises ways to engage them.
After a few minutes of yoga poses, Jones invited the students to pull their mats into a circle and sit down. Then, she pulled out two small balls, each about 12 inches in diameter.
“We’re going to pass them around the circle,” Jones said. She paused, then added, “with our feet.”
A few giggles erupted, not just from the kids but from a couple of the moms, too.
Jones took her place on her mat, reached down and placed one ball between her feet. She rotated to her left and tipped the ball into the waiting feet of her grandmother, who laughed and then, with the ball in between her feet, twisted to her left and passed it on. The ball continued to make its way around the circle — there was a drop or two but no harm was done. Jones then added the second ball to the mix.
Jones explained that games such as this one — and the ever-popular Freeze Yoga — make it fun for the kids, though the older youth seem quite adept at picking up the yoga poses and movements as well.
Teaching a class one hour a week, at this point, is probably doable for many young people. But putting in the 200 hours of yoga instructor training at Sana Vida, well, that’s another thing. Jones, who is homeschooled, credited her parents.
“They really ask us what we’re interested in and then let us go and explore it,” Jones said. “They are just so supportive. I’ve published a newspaper and other things, and it’s because they give us the support and chances to go and do things.”
Back at the class, Jones guided the group out of the ball passing and into more yoga poses. She doesn’t push people to get the poses “right.” Instead, she wants them to focus on doing what they can and helps them modify a pose to better suit them. If Jones sees that someone needs a little help or isn’t sure how to do a particular pose, she pops off her mat and heads over to the student. With a few words and a smile from Jones, the student is back on track.
Even when the two giggling girls headed off to the outdoor pavilion to “take a break,” Jones quickly recaptured their interest.
“We’re going to do something called Freeze Yoga,” she told them.
It’s similar to freeze dancing, she explained. When the music stops, you freeze in a yoga pose.
Everybody laughed as they danced around the pavilion, freezing in their yogo poses when the music stopped. Holding the yoga poses was easier than holding in laughter.
After a few minutes of Freeze Yoga, Jones led the group through a series of relaxation exercises to close out the session.
“It’s a lot of work, teaching yoga and leading classes, but I love doing it,” Jones said after the class. “So it’s really not work, but this is a chance to share something with everybody.”
Go to Go With the Flow’s Facebook page for updates and information. Jones plans to lead a kids class and kids summer yoga boot camp this summer at Sana Vida. Go to savavida.info for more on Sana Vida’s yoga schedule, classes and yoga instructor program.