Welcome to Backyard Yoga! This post is meant to give you a little insight into the journey that brought me to where I am today.
Backyard yoga was born out of many years of collecting bits of personal insights that I tucked away, both consciously and subconsciously, for another day. These bits are what I like to call my Golden Puzzle Pieces. They are the moments in my life that have caused me to truly reflect on an idea and toss it around mentally before storing it away. It wasn't until just recently that I was able to start assembling a picture...
There are many pieces to the puzzle, so I'll give you the highlights. Let's call these the 4 corner pieces.
Puzzle Piece 1: The Experience Is Greater Than The Product.
Sixteen years ago, while working as a toy designer, I was sitting behind a one-way mirror attending a focus group when I heard a mom say, "Some moms don't really know how to play with their baby". My head lifted from the sketch pad in front of me, a pad I'm certain was filled with doodles, and I took pause. The concept that a mom didn't know how to play with her baby was crazy to me. I remember thinking, "Isn't play a natural thing? You don't have to learn to play, do you?". But, I was 22 and single...so what did I know? What I internalized at that moment was that I wasn't just designing cool- looking toys for babies and kids. Rather, I was designing experiences-- and that was something way more meaningful. That moment has shaped my entire design career, and those who have worked with me know the amount of time I have spent in the details to maximize the end-user's experience.
Puzzle Piece 2: Enter Yoga
This puzzle piece kept trying to "stick". Yoga was something I did on my day off from sport. It was my stretching day. Since getting married, my husband and I have regularly attended a Saturday morning yoga class together and my interest has grown beyond my stretching day. The idea of teacher training entered into my conscience many times but it was never the "right" time. One year after my first child was born, I realized I needed something to help me to re-connect with me. At that time I was attending a local yoga studio that felt like "home"--not always an easy find. Before I knew it, I was enrolled in a 200-hour yoga teacher training course that would take me on a 4 month journey. I was finally able to re-connect with some of my passions (and build a stronger core and toned legs). Throughout the course of my training, a number of connections came up for me between yoga and my world of product design. And while I didn't do the training to become a teacher, I did in fact start teaching.
Puzzle Piece 3: Children's Yoga
A few years later, shortly after the birth of my second child, I became certified in kid's yoga. While I enjoyed teaching adults--my favorite classes involved teaching water yoga to active older adults-- I found I also really enjoyed teaching yoga to kids. This came as no big surprise for a toy designer by trade with two small children at home. I loved creating the classes, the experience, but I also live in a busy world with young kids. I found that I didn't always have the time to prep for classes once a week, or multiple times a week for that matter. I was always searching for ideas. That is when I started to notice the lack of resources out there.
Puzzle Piece 4: Backyard Yoga
This puzzle piece finally started forming the big picture for me--hence the name. Last summer, I was looking for a kid's yoga class that both of my girls could attend together (ages 2 and 5), and that fit into our schedule. It wasn't happening. Then I had an epiphany: why couldn't I just teach them a class each week? That idea grew into Backyard Yoga Playdates. I created a private Facebook group and invited my friends and their friends to join me in my backyard on a few select Fridays during the summer for a 30 minute yoga class, followed by 30 minutes of free play. My only motivation was to create an environment for my kids to do yoga and be together with their friends. Okay, I also wanted to see my friends, hence the 30 minutes of free play. What I learned throughout the course of the summer was just how much I enjoyed using yoga to facilitate an environment where friends could meet up and meet new friends-- both kids and adults alike.
So here I am at the start of a new endeavor. I am deeply enjoying the process of creating these resources and cannot wait for the first release. My first inFLOWgraphic class will be released February 1, 2016. It's called 'Taking Flight', and uses the suggested book If I Never Forever Endeavor.
I invite you to join me on this journey.
Peace + Play - erica