We sat down with Anjelica to talk about teaching to kids and the power that yoga has had in her personal life.

When did you start working for Yoga 4 Change?

I started working for Yoga 4 Change in October 2014. I joined because I was excited to teach both kids yoga and special needs yoga to at-risk youth. 

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher? 

What inspired me to become a yoga teacher is how yoga made me feel in my own practice. I don’t worry about the rest of the day when I am practicing yoga. I am present in the moment, and for one whole hour I am only focused on my breath. Because of my breathe and what my body is able to do, my confidence level has increased. And everybody around me benefits from that. My whole life I have always said I am going to teach yoga to kids one day, and Yoga 4 Change made my dreams a reality. The benefits of yoga are tangible. And it makes me so excited to see them actualized. I have witnessed the practice of yoga reducing kids stress, increasing their mindfulness, their focus, self-esteem, strength, flexibility, while also increasing their connection with others and helping social interaction. I can only hope for every child to experience a yoga class. 

Why did you choose to work with Yoga 4 Change? 

I choose to work with Yoga 4 Change because teaching yoga to children is my life’s purpose. My heart lights up when I am on the mat and I see those wonderful faces. I want to empower children through the practice of yoga. Yoga worked for me and I know it is working for the kids that I teach. Yoga 4 Change has an amazing curriculum and group of teachers that supports me as a teacher and I can’t see myself teaching for anybody else.  

 Share with us a funny, sad, interesting, or memorable story about your teaching? 

A memorable story happened in my special needs yoga class when a non-verbal child started to talk in the class. We practiced yoga for several weeks and then one day it just happened. The child started to talk. This was an amazing experience for me, my ears could not believe it. I saw my purpose in life through the eyes of that child. Yoga has the potential to help special needs students get in touch with sensory processing, language and speech development. 

What is your favorite drink? 

I love sweet tea. 

Can you name one thing Yoga has helped you get through? 

Yoga helps me be present in the moment, as well as being okay with who I am as a person. I can see things clearly and from a positive perspective. I am able to see my true self and share all my gifts freely. 

What’s your favorite yoga pose and why? 

My favorite yoga pose is Flip Dog because you get to have fun and get your sillies out of your body. I feel free in Flip Dog. 

Cat or Cow? 

I love both cat and cow because it is a fun pose to do with children. They  love to say “meow” and “ moo” with each breath into cat and cow. We always laugh so much doing those poses.

How can yoga help people change their lives? 

As I said before, it can help people with reducing stress, helping increase mindfulness and focus, increase their self-esteem, increase strength, flexibility and balance, and help create connection with others. Seeing the results of all these benefits is amazing.

Why should people support Yoga 4 Change? 

I think people should support Yoga 4 Change because we teach the entire Jacksonville community how to deal with everyday situations by giving them breathing techniques that can be used when they get mad, sad, or frustrated. In our yoga classes we have a curriculum that is focused on teaching specific lessons according to the particular demographic, but over all we all teach basic skills like self-acceptance, learning how to connect with others, and learning that yoga is for everybody and always available as a coping skill regardless of the past or current situation. Yoga changed me, and I believe it can change anybody under any circumstance. 

Anjelica graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2009. In May of 2014, she completed the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Big Fish Power Yoga. When I first started my teacher training I was shy and not one to speak up in crowds. Now I am able to be seen and not afraid. After finishing my teacher training I knew exactly what I wanted to do I wanted to teach children yoga. Anjelica started working at Jacksonville School for Autism (JSA) summer 2014. In September of 2014 she acquired the certificate, “Yoga for the Special Child.”  Anjelica started working for Yoga for Change in October 2014. Teaching at-risk and special needs children had taught me to not be afraid of being who I am. Have fun in life! 

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