Christopher Theodore, a physical education teacher and certified ChildLight Yoga instructor, has been teaching yoga to children in Philadelphia public schools for the past 14 years. Recently, he was awarded both the Teacher of the Year and Trailblazer award for the Cardiyogalicious Physical Education (P.E.) class curriculum he created.
“I taught in two West Philly schools before joining the K-8 William Meredith Elementary School. It was while I was teaching in West Philly that I started incorporating yoga into my P.E. classes. I thought it might help my students, particularly those who were dealing with obesity, attention deficit and behavior problems, to better handle the various challenges they were facing,” says Theodore.
Theodore’s experience resulted in his creating Cardiyogalicious, a complete curriculum for his 45 minute P.E. classes that serves to help keep children active, focused and eating healthful foods. The popular class consists of three parts: cardio, yoga and nutrition. Each class starts off with 10 minutes of cardio such as jumping rope or jogging. After the cardio session, everyone gets into a circle to do 10 to 15 minutes of yoga. Each yoga session starts with breathing and moves into poses. Playing the sport of the day follows the yoga session.
“The benefits of yoga for children are astronomical,” says Theodore. “They learn to find their calm, balance their energy, be in the present moment and to work together. Kids who aren’t into traditional sports can also excel at it.”
When not teaching at William Meredith Elementary School, Theodore runs THEOGA, which offers yoga classes to adults and children as well as athletes. Theodore goes to wherever his clients are whether it be their home, a daycare center, school gym, recreation center or summer camp.
It was due to the urging of a friend who sang the praises of Lisa Flynn, founder of ChildLight Yoga, that Theodore attended a ChildLight Yoga Teacher Training and completed certification requirements to become a certified ChildLight Yoga instructor in 2008.
“The ChildLight Yoga training provided me with the tools and knowledge to more effectively teach yoga to children. I incorporate the curriculum into various classes I teach, including my Kindergarten and daycare classes,” says Theodore.
Theodore is looking forward to introducing a new group of Kindergartners to yoga and to continuing to practice it with students he has been working with in the fall at William Meredith Elementary School. He also hopes to present his Cardiyogalicious curriculum to more Health and P.E. professionals. To date he has presented it to over 300 such professionals in the School District of Philadelphia.
To learn more about ChildLight Yoga’s teacher trainings, which are offered in 15 U.S. states and in Canada as well as the many programs for children, parents and adults in general that are held at its new studio in Dover, NH, please visit www.childlightyoga.com. If you are seeking an effective yoga and mindfulness program that results in productive and peaceful learning ready classrooms, please visit www.yoga4classrooms.com, ChildLight Yoga's school focused affiliate. For further insight into Theodore’s THEOGA and Cardiyogalicious curriculum, please visit http://theoga.net/ or http://cardiyogalicious.weebly.com.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Theodore.