Yazmine Mellish is the beautiful soul behind Yogi Beans; a venture born out of her pure love for kids and her undying passion for yoga. “It’s all about learning to love and respect yourself” she says enthusiastically as we chatted over the phone. “It’s comforting to know that yoga is always there when you need it, it’s a service I seek to provide to help kids (and even adults) connect. To connect within themselves and also to the world around them.” Indeed she delivered just that but let’s backtrack …
Yoga at HOME! And for my kids …. I could hardly contain my excitement when I planned our first session with Yaz.
The minute she stepped through the door her warm and gentle disposition created an evident sense of calm. The kids were curious and excited as Yaz began to set up; the mats were rolled out and one by one the colourful props began to appear … pinwheels, a Homberman sphere, finger puppets, “I am Yoga” book and a triangle chime – I have to admit, even I was intrigued!
As the ambient music began to play, the session began with a little introduction about yoga and the word ‘Namaste’ … “the goodness in me sees the goodness in you” she said as they took their places on their own mat, their safe space. They sang a sun salutation song and went through the basic poses together. She then took them on a journey through the rain forest where they spotted all sorts of animals; elephants, snakes, birds .. you name it, they saw it and there was a different pose for each of them too!
The kids were then given the pinwheels as an exercise to connect to their breath. Lots of giggles ensued as they noticed the pinwheel spinning faster and faster as they released breath after breath. In a similar way the Hoberman sphere or “breathing ball” was used as a breathing game …. deep breath in, belly puffs up and the ball stands large and proud and on the exhale the belly contracts and the sphere shrinks.
Unfortunately, my son decided to leave the session at this point (and rather than force him do something he wasn’t up for, we let him go and told him he could join the session at any point if he was up for it).
Next came the “I am Yoga” book, Mila’s favourite … “I close my eyes and make room in my mind, in my heart to create and imagine … I am Yoga” …. I saw the book come to life, page after page as Yaz and Mila acted out the words. They sparkled like stars, they stood tall, they were free, they sailed on the sea, they were love …. “I can stand up for me, I can stand up for others, I can stand up for peace” … what a beautiful exercise that drew to a close with a well-deserved relaxation pose.
As we neared the end, Yaz and Mila sounded the triangle charm and listened to the sound and the vibrations it made. To finish Yaz put some relaxing Lavendar balm on Mila, thanked her for participating in the session and gave her a great big hug.
What a wonderful afternoon and what an amazing experience. I am so grateful to Yaz for sharing her practice with my kids in such a beautiful way. We chatted some more as we packed everything away and we both agreed that we wished we would have been introduced to yoga at an earlier stage in life. As children develop they struggle with various complex emotions and anxieties … “I’d like to let them know that it’s ok to feel sad, angry, happy, loud etc .. to show them they are not alone and to give them the tools they need to control their emotions.” In fact, Yaz has big plans for the future of Yogi Beans “I want to bring yoga to as many schools in Malta as possible.” She tells me she has already started teaching at Chiswick and that the kids have responded beautifully. She will now be running a 5 week course at Sanya, starting Friday 21st July from 4pm to 5pm. “I am so excited about this, mummies can even take the opportunity to relax at Sanya whilst the kids are in class with me”
Before she leaves she takes the time to talk to Eli and to make sure that he is ok. He really appreciates this and begins to show her all his favourite toys and his favourite movie – she promises to come back and to choreograph the next yoga session to his favourite theme song from “Rock Dog”, he is thrilled and I can’t wait!