Why I Became a Yoga and Mindfulness Instructor

For the past three years, I’ve lived seven months of the year in Scottsdale, AZ and five months in upstate New York. Prior to that, I’d been living and teaching special education in upstate New York for over 20 years. My personal yoga practice began in March 2011.

In June of 2014, our youngest daughter passed away in a car accident.  It shook my world and brought me to my knees. My yoga practice was my refuge. It was a safe place where I could feel and process my emotions. It was the space in which I connected to God, unconditional love, and my daughter who passed. Looking back, I’m so grateful that I had an established yoga practice at such a devastating time in my life. Yoga continues to be my safe, peaceful, loving space as I proceed on my healing journey, living with grief.  

In the Fall of 2014, I returned to my teaching position in NY as a special education teacher.  I was working in a wonderful school with extremely supportive colleagues and friends. A flyer with an all day training with Little Flower Yoga landed in my mailbox. Being such a strong advocate for children’s social-emotional health and a yoga enthusiast, I quickly requested to go to this training. I was thrilled when it was approved.

I attended the full day conference/workshop in the spring and was hooked!  Everything that was presented from Little Flower’s yoga and mindfulness program merged beautifully with my past training and experience in children’s social emotional development and my personal journey in my yoga practice.  

After attending the one-day training, I decided I wanted to continue in The Little Flower Yoga Teacher Training Program. I connected with a strong desire to learn more so that I could bring the many gifts of a yoga and mindfulness practice to children.

After completing my teacher training, my vision was to start teaching yoga and mindfulness to young children (preschool to elementary age).  I truly enjoy working with that age range, and I’ve always been a firm believer in early intervention. Neurological research shows that the early years play a key role in children’s brain development.  I believe every child should have the opportunity to be exposed to yoga and mindfulness to foster healthy social emotional development and strengthen each child’s capacity for present-moment awareness, self-regulation and connection with self and others.  After my daughter passed, yoga and mindfulness was a lifeline to love, light, presence, connection and peace. I knew in my heart that I wanted to share these gifts with children so that they could live a fuller and more enjoyable experience of life.

For the past few years, I’ve been teaching yoga and mindfulness to 3 to 5 year olds at a Cooperative Preschool/Kindergarten in Scottsdale, AZ.  During the summer, I’ve been teaching preschool and elementary classes in upstate New York. The children teach me a lot and I thoroughly enjoy being with them and facilitating yoga and mindfulness.  The families of these children have been so supportive and see the life skills their children are learning.

Over the summer of 2018, I connected with Deanna Sheedy, founder of PLAY. I began working with PLAY as a Mindfulness Instructor in 2018 and I’m thoroughly enjoying all of my varied teaching experiences. I know that yoga and mindfulness gives students life skills that can positively impact their mental health and ultimately society as a whole. I’m grateful to have found something that I’m so passionate about.

Terry Parry