As adults, we find yoga to be a way to relax, unwind and de-stress, with the added benefits of flexibility and wellness. But one adult in the Ramona community is making sure kids reap all the benefits of the "non-competitive activity," too!
Joanna O'Neal, who grew up in Ramona and moved back as an adult with her family, has been teaching yoga since 2011. She's a Yoga Alliance-registered instructor, as well as certified children's yoga instructor.
Her local biz, Green Ray Yoga, is taught at Ramona Oaks Park and while she offered up classes for adults and teens, she also focuses on families, children and even mom and baby yoga.
Check out what makes children's yoga so great and why Green Ray Yoga is different from the rest.
Patch: Why did you choose to start this business in Ramona?
Joanna O'Neal: I live in Ramona and I think it is so important to have options here locally so we are not always driving "down the hill".
I love having classes at the SDCEA Recreation Center because I can offer a great value to my students. A lot of teachers seek out places like La Jolla or Encinitas where the demand for classes is pretty high, but I enjoy introducing people to yoga right here in Ramona. It is so great to watch adults and children benefit from and fall in love with the practice.
Patch: What distinguishes your business from others in the same industry?
O'Neal: I am really passionate about providing high quality instruction to my students so they can learn to integrate their yoga practice safely and effectively into their daily lives. I teach students about embodied anatomy, breathing techniques to help maintain a balanced nervous system, and asanas (postures) for wellness that they can use throughout their lives.
Because I teach classes at the Recreation Center (Ramona Oaks Park), I am able to offer classes at a great price. There are morning and evening classes. We have an awesome community of health-minded people, and always have a lot of fun!
Patch: Any current challenges you face as a business owner?
O'Neal: Advertising... I often hear that people don't even know about the Rec Center or that classes are offered! Advertising in the local papers is still too expensive, so I rely mainly on word of mouth.
Patch: What's the best business advice you've ever been given?
O'Neal: Do what you love, and people will love it too.
Patch: Why is yoga beneficial for kids?
O'Neal: Yoga is great for so many reasons! My favorite part is that is is an activity that is non-competitive. In sports and in school kids are always being compared and put to compete against each other. Yoga accepts each child as an individual, wherever they are, and gives them tools and awareness to reach their highest potential.
Aside from having a lot of fun, which is the most important part, kids learn poses to strengthen their bodies and minds. We work on breath awareness; balance; coordination, self esteem; and respect. Kids learn how to be responsible members of not only our local community, but also of the world!
Children and teens who practice yoga often do better in school and on tests, because they understand stress responses in their bodies and have the awareness and ability to calm themselves and focus.
In teen classes I've taught, often the kid's favorite part of the class is Shavasana, which is a relaxation time at the end of class. Teens today have are under a lot of pressure and involved in so many activities that they don't have the time to "unwind."
I teach kids how to listen to and take care of themselves physically and mentally not only as they navigate through childhood, but also throughout their lives. We have a lot of fun and create lasting friendships in the process.