Tara Rachel Jones, M.Ed., E-RYT 500, RCYT, RCYS has worked professionally with children and teens since 1989 and has pioneered yoga for children in the Boston area. Tara Rachel has developed her own approach to children’s, youth and teen yoga; which is simply, yet uniquely a synthesis of education, developmental movement and yogic teachings. She obtained a B.A. in Early Childhood Education (N-3) from Simmons College in 1991, became a certified Montessori Teacher in 1992 and now holds a Master’s in Waldorf Education (2009). She offers Yoga Alliance Certified (RCYS) Flower Yoga Teacher Training courses for those aspiring to share yoga with children, youth, teens and families! Tara Rachel has written a Yoga book entitled, “It’s Time for Yoga” www.littlebounderbooks.com. She is also a certified Zen Shiatsu Therapist and also has taught adults yoga since 1997. For more information about Tara Rachel go to www.floweryoga.com and for her Teacher Training go to www.thewisdomgarden.com
Tara Rachel is a philosopher of a multifaceted approach to working with and just BEING with children. She has a strong foundation in child psychology and teaching public school education as she obtained her B.A. in Early Childhood Education (nursery-grade 3) from Simmons College in 1991. While in college, Tara studied the educational philosophies of Plato, Rousseau, Dewey and varied approaches to educating the human spirit. She became a certified Montessori Teacher (pre-primary-kindergarten) in 1992 and was a dedicated classroom teacher of the method not only to children, but classroom assistants and parents for over 7 years. Montessori education, like yoga is about a way of being, which she carries into the fabric of her everyday experience both with adults and children.
“The first essential is that the teacher should go through an inner, spiritual preparation-cultivate certain aptitudes in moral order. This is the most difficult part of her training, without which all the rest is of no avail…she must study how to purify her heart and render it burning with charity towards the child. She must ‘put on humility’ and, above all, learn how to serve. She must learn to appreciate and gather in all those tiny and delicate manifestations of opening to the child’s soul. Ability to do this can only be obtained through genuine effort towards self-perfection.”
– Maria Montessori-
Tara Rachel was introduced to Waldorf Education in 1997 while implementing her first children’s yoga program at a Waldorf inspired school, where she was also a classroom teacher from 1999-2001. Since then, she has been an active student of the Waldorf method. She completed the two- year Foundations Study Course in Waldorf Education in 2005 and as of 2009, holds a MA.Ed. in Waldorf Early Childhood (n-K) and Elementary Education (grades 1-8). She continues to explore the ways that Waldorf education informs the breadth and depth of discovering yoga as a way of life and learning for children.
In ancient times, in India, students would go to live with their teacher and the teacher’s family to work, study and practice selfless service. Family life and education were interrelated in the daily life of growing up. Children studied various aspects of yogic life, philosophy and knowledge. This epoch began on the child’s eighth birthday and lasted for the following 12 years. The teacher and the student had a very significant relationship. These systems today are very rare, however, both Montessori and Waldorf philosophy place high value around the unique bond that takes place between educator, student and parents when a child has the same teacher for any where between 3-8 years at a time. Not to mention, the impact it has on the sense of stability it gives the developmental progression of each individual child. Tara has been blessed with the good fortune of spending period of time living in the same area, working and studying not only with her own Instructors, but also being in relationship to her students and their families for extended periods of time.
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Below is a poem that was written to Tara by her Friday afternoon neighborhood yoga class that has met for the past eight years (I have left the spelling in its original script):
Written, May 2006
Tara is a yogi
A very good yogi is she
Yoga has been fun this year
And when it’s done our eyes will tear
We learned some new poses
And how to touch our towses!
We had some good foods for prasat
They helped us be healthy and smat
So thank you Tara for your wonderful gift
Through your teaching our lives will shift
Yes, thank you Tara for Fridays of fun
Yoga class with everyone!
Tara’s curiosity stems far beyond any one way of education. Movement and experiential learning are the basis for holistic physical, mental, emotional and spiritual evolution. This investigation is what led her to the School for Body Mind Centering, the founder Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and Marcia Monroe, BMC practitioner and children’s yoga educator, in the year 2000. There, she came into an experiential approach to rediscovering the evolution of human movement patterns and examining the question: “What is an informed meaningful Hatha Yoga practice for children?”
Tara has work professionally with children since 1989. Her love of yoga is expressed through the above philosophies, her continuous study of the budding human being and her deep reverence for the child. She has developed her own approach to children’s yoga; which is simply, yet uniquely a synthesis of education, developmental and authentic movement and yogic teachings; and has been teaching yoga to young people from ages nursery through high school since 1997.
She has been Coordinator, Director and Instructor of a Family Yoga Program at the Sivananda Yoga Ranch since 1997. Since 2003, Tara (Omkari) has Coordinated, Directed and Taught a Teen Yoga Camp Program at the Sivananda Yoga Ranch. She has been Directing and teaching the Family Yoga Vacation at The Sivananda Yoga Ashram Retreat on Paradise Island, Bahamas for since 2007.
Tara Rachel instructs classes in public schools, private schools, after school programs, yoga centers, family neighborhoods and privately.
She has been teaching yoga to adults, children, teens and families in the Boston area since 1997.
|Montgomery County Public Television, Maryland|
Show: Model for The Twenty Minute Yogi
“ Power Yoga”
“ Yoga with the Stability Ball”
|Model for Fit Magazine, 8 Day Yoga Detox Plan,|
Baptiste Power Yoga
|Boston Globe Article, The Art of Teaching Yoga to Children||February 2001|
|Interviewed by NPR News for Children’s Yoga||March 2001|
|Fox Channel 5: Children’s Yoga|
The 4:30p.m. Show
|Model for Body Wisdom Media DVD: Yoga for Inflexible People||May 2002|
|Model for Prana Catalog||Spring 2003|
|Oxbow School House, Devens, Ma.|
Created a 5-week session (block) at a Waldorf-Inspired School for grades 1-6 (mixed age classrooms). In addition, Supported the inspiration for the grades 5/6 school play, Ramayana, through storytelling, chanting, meditation, yoga postures.
|The Lincoln Library, Lincoln, Ma|
Conducted 3 Family Yoga classes for families with children ages 2-5. Each class included story song and verse to welcome the season of winter!
|Boston Children’s Museum|
Present two family yoga classes for the museum vacation week events.
Conducted a 4 hour teacher training workshop for the Early Childhood team at the museum, that will lead to Flower Yoga classes for museum programming only.
|Public Middle School: Brooks School, Lincoln, Ma.|
Taught yoga classes for the student body of 200 middle school youth in grades 5-8. Students participated in to 50- minute classes per class, for one week during their scheduled physical education period.
Presented yoga training workshops for the Wellness faculty whom teach ages kindergarten through grade 8. The training involved the introduction to yoga philosophy, yoga games, how to teach yoga postures, structure an age-appropriate class and how to teach relaxation and meditation. Training included creating an instructional manual and providing text books for study.
|The Fenn School, Concord, Ma.|
Presented yoga for Culture Day at an all-boy school. Students were introduced to yoga through story, philosophy and the physical practice to Middle School boys.
|Henry Bear’s Park, Arlington, Ma.|
Presented a Family Yoga class followed by a book signing.
|Fallen Church: Unitarian Education for Children|
Share one yoga class with the children for their cultural religions education, focus, Hinduism and Buddhism.
|Stratton Elementary School, Arlington, Ma.|
Helped write the yoga portion of a grant entitled “Fit and Focused” that was given to the Stratton PTO. Developed and taught training workshops for teachers for grades k-2 and 3-5: How to bring yoga into the classroom. Presented a workshop for parents Sharing the value of the practice of yoga for families. Offered classes for children in grades k-5 fall/winter-spring.
|Fall 2010-Spring 2011|
|Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training|
How to share yoga with at risk youth and families, included a demonstration class and curriculum-handouts.
|Fall 2008, May 2009|
|Nashoba Brooks School, Concord, MA|
As part of their health class at an all girl school: In 2 sessions, introduce the philosophy and physical yoga practice for two sessions to 7th grade girls
|Thompson Elementary School, Arlington, Ma.|
Introduced Yoga 2 sessions to the three, first grade classes.
|Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training|
Introduced strategies for sharing yoga with Families that is structured to meet both the issues for the parent and the child individually and collectively.
|Bowman Elementary School, Lexington Ma.|
Taught yoga classes for the student body, grades 1-5, two 30 minutes classes for one week during their scheduled gym period.
|The Franklin Park Zoo, Boston, Ma.|
Taught family yoga classes at the zoo as a guest presenter
for the Jane Goodall Institute for Earth Day
|The Hastings School, Lexington, Ma.|
Taught yoga classes for the student body (500 children):
Grades: kindergarten through fifth grade. Two 30 minute
classes per class, for one week during their scheduled gym period. The week concluded with a group presentation at the all school assembly.
|The Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, Ma.|
Taught yoga classes for preschoolers, children and teens
for their presentation day: “The Mind-Body Connection.”
|The Yoga Studio, Boston, Ma.|
Yoga and the Meridians: Qi Flow for the teacher’s training course.
|Sivananda Yoga Ashram, N.Y.: Teaching Yoga to Children||Oct.2006
|Peace Education in a Montessori Classroom|
Course to implement peace education for children in
the pre-primary class for teachers in training.
|Barbara Kemp Award for Excellence in Student Teaching|
Simmons College, Boston, Ma.
I would like to dedicate my work to my dear teacher and my inspiration, Sarabess Forster, of The Sunflower Yoga Company, a pioneer of yoga for children. I would also like to dedicate my practice to all the teachers who have walked this earth ahead of me. Those who offered seeds of wisdom for those of us on this path, to find and sow, in order that we may grow to serve the development of the child and ultimately the future consciousness of humanity.