Sprouts Yoga is a yoga class for tots. Taking in small people between the ages of three and seven, the 45-minute class involves a lot of fun, music and roleplay – and, of course, some sun salutations.
Founder Lois Kerr has been doing yoga for 20 years, and decided this was a natural next step. Kerr has had a colourful career, including a short stint as a professional cheerleader, working as a nanny, being a brand ambassador for a rum company, dabbling in cocktail bartending, and teaching adult yoga classes. This was all before her daughter, Mimi, came along.
Kerr was still attending yoga classes up until the day before she gave birth to Mimi. “When I was in classes people used to look at me like I was a bit odd, with this huge bump in these crazy athletic yoga classes. But it worked for me! And I gave birth to a yoga baby so maybe there’s something in that,” Kerr says, laughing.
It was when Mimi was a toddler that Kerr had her “lightbulb moment”. While Kerr was practicing yoga at home, Mimi started to join her on the mat and mimic her stretches.
“It struck me just how much she was able to do, and how well she was able to follow along when she was so tiny. It was quite incredible to see,” says Kerr.
And from this, Sprout Yoga was born. Kerr went on to train under Loraine Rushton, who runs children’s classes for Zenergy Yoga. It was with Rushton that Kerr learned how to create a yoga class to keep kids interested.
Sometimes she will read stories, and have the children act out poses of their favourite animals in the stories.
“You can make it fun without dumbing it down. You can add music and games and it is still real yoga, but it’s just adapted to make it really awesome and fun for little kids,” Kerr says.
Kerr runs classes at Little Mandarin in South Melbourne (“it’s so cute, it’s perfect for children’s yoga”) and Yoga 37 in Collingwood. A seven-week course will set you back $140 ($20 a class). Kerr will run all the classes, with parents welcome to sit and watch. She is also hoping to branch out into pre- and post-natal yoga, and would like to expand classes to include the whole family.
“Kids leave the class calmer. You’ll see these tiny little children effectively meditating … It’s amazing to see them just stop, when they’ve been running around in circles all day. But the benefits are so many. It really does wonders for their self-esteem, their confidence and, of course, for their health,” Kerr says.