Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Pretzel Kids founder Robyn Parets. Pretzel Kids wants to teach as many adults as possible to help as many kids as possible. Check them out if you want to learn some great Yoga, meditation, or mindfulness techniques!
I love the name Pretzel Kids. It’s so cute. Please tell us a little about yourself, what drew you to mindful education, and the Pretzel Kids mission.
I’ve been teaching yoga since 2004 and started teaching Pretzel Kids classes soon after that under the umbrella of my yoga studio in suburban Boston. I sold the studio in 2016 and am now focused on growing the Pretzel Kids brand. Our mission is to train as many adults as possible so that they can then teach the maximum number of kids. This is how mindfulness will have the biggest impact, in my opinion.
I was originally drawn to yoga and meditation in 2000, while recovering from a neurological illness that left me bedridden for almost 2 years. I began reading about yoga and pranayama and then began working with a hypnotherapist who began to teach me how to calm my mind and nervous system using breathwork and meditation. As I recovered, I began incorporating yoga. I never looked back!
You can learn more about my background and Pretzel Kids (including how we picked our name) here: http://bostonvoyager.com/interview/meet-robyn-parets-pretzel-kids-west-roxbury/ and here: https://businesstown.com/robyn-parets-pretzel-kids-yoga-shares-get-business-tip-top-shape/
and here: https://www.pretzelkids.com/robynparets.html
Also, check out our project here (and video). We recently raised money to train public school teachers, starting in Boston: https://ifundwomen.com/projects/pretzel-kids
We’re now in a pitch contest on May 16 with iFund Women and the city of Boston to win more money toward our mission. Check out the details here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ifundwomen-boston-pitch-competition-tickets-45260613714?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing
Why do you think it is so important to teach kids these techniques when they are young? What’s more important, Yoga, Mediation, or Mindfulness for kids to learn? And should we be teaching the kids, the parents, the teachers, or the doctors?
I believe that the younger the child is when he/she learns mindfulness techniques and yoga, the better off he will be, as he will hopefully carry these tools throughout life. That being said, you are never too old to start learning yoga and our Pretzel Kids teachers teach children ages 2.9 on up to teenagers. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness are all important and intricately linked, which is why Pretzel Kids focuses on all 3. To your third question, it’s important for all. Our program trains adults to teach kids (and we also offer classes for kids), so our market is a) adults with all backgrounds and b) children from age 2.9 on up.
Do you find that schools do not want Yoga programs because they are “religious”? And what do you say when a school initially says something like that to you? How do you change their mind? How do you suggest we scale up and get Yoga into every school in the country?
Yes and this is why the word “yoga” is not explicitly in our company name, Pretzel Kids. Our program is geared for the mass market and encompasses fitness, yoga, mindfulness and basic meditation and breathing techniques. The focus is on fun and our classes have been well-accepted in schools. We rarely get any type of religious push-back as there is no inkling of religion anywhere on our website or in our curriculum. For your last question – we are working on scaling up now (check back with us on this one in a year!)
I love your boxer picture on your website. Wuf Shanti is a boxer too. If we are like “the Barney of Yoga”, don’t you think we picked the best dog to be our mascot? Just kidding, that’s not my question. If you had to pick one Yoga pose or game for kids to do in elementary school, middle school, and high school, to help positively shape their future behavior and health, what would it be?
I love dogs too! Our boxer passed away and we now have a pitbull mix. We also foster rescue dogs 🙂
Our curriculum includes dozens of yoga games and poses, many of which are proprietary to Pretzel Kids. We love animal poses for younger kids (and our own themed poses – you’ll have to take the training to learn them all!) There is no one best game but I can say kids of all ages love our version of Simon Says (which we call Salty Says. Get it – for Pretzel Kids!)
What advice do you have for teachers, administrators, healthcare practitioners, kids, and especially parents as it relates to helping kids learn Yoga?
I would suggest incorporating whatever they can into their classrooms and practices. For parents, learn some kids yoga teaching tools as kids yoga is very different than classes you take as adults. We pride ourselves on offering an easy, accessible and affordable online teacher training course. There are no prerequisites and it’s totally self-paced. This means you can start learning how to teach kids yoga – using the Pretzel Kids curriculum – immediately from the comfort of your own home! For more information, see our site at www.pretzelkids.com or online school at https://pretzelkids.teachable.com/
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Ms. Robyn Paret! I’m so glad I met you and look forward to working on projects together in the future. You have great taste in dogs! 🙂 Everyone go check out Pretzel Kids, and teach your kids mindfulness because the health of the future generation may depend on it.
For more information about Wuf Shanti: https://wufshanti.com/2018/05/about-wuf-shanti/