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Tween Guru: Meet the Youngest Yoga Teacher in America

in YD News

Jaysea and her brothers.

Meet Jaysea Devoe, she’s a 12-year-old yoga teacher from Encinitas (where else?) and she’s believed to be the youngest official yoga teacher in the US completing her 200-hour training and starting her career on the California coast. Our idols just keep getting younger and younger. Don’t they have age limits on these things? Yoga Alliance? Bueller? Yoga teacher training, so easy even a 12-year-old could do it! Is what they should seriously consider to be their slogan.

We’re kidding (sort of). Jaysea is an inspiring young lady teaching the yoga to wee little preschoolers, which is super, how do you say…bodacious. She also teaches teens and tweens in the local area (not all of them, we assume). We love to see that kids are interested in taking on the practice — it’s been known to be a super valuable tool, after all. It probably helps that it’s one of their own kind teaching it. And this isn’t just some passing phase, Jaysea says she’s in it for the long haul.

“I feel like I want to do this for a long time because I love teaching so much,” says Devoe, the picture of a California beach girl, with long blond hair and long legs to match.

In the most atypical American household, yet perhaps the most TV show stereotypical Encinitas Cali household, Jaysea and her family live right on the beach and go surfing daily. Her parents decided that she and her brothers should go to school only three days a week so they can have time to form their career path (and surf, duh), which has us wondering why our parents weren’t so cool. Papa Devoe, who “manages bands and surfers,” like one might expect, wants to give his children the opportunities other local superstars like Tony Hawk and Shaun White have, so he let them choose their own child labor vocation.

Her dad was pretty impressed by his daughter’s drive to complete the 200 hours of training but he wasn’t surprised she wanted to do it.

“Jaysea is just really Zen-y,” he says. “She’s got this spiritual side to her. She’s always been intrigued by the moon and nature.”

Well. We’re proud of Jaysea, too, and it sounds like she is just thrilled to be immersed in yoga and sharing her love for it with others. She practices on her own every morning for an hour: ”I turn music on and I like flowing with the music, it is called sun salutation … that is probably one of my favorite parts,” Jaysea says.

She currently “works” at a donation-based adult-student studio and is already making bank, having received $136 in donations after her first class. So, yoga teachers, if you were wondering what the key is to a successful yoga teaching business, here’s your answer. It’s being a 12-year-old.

In all seriousness, we wish the very best of luck to Jaysea on her continued path of teaching yoga and making people smile.

[Via Reuters]

photo via REUTERS/MIKE BLAKE

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8 comments… add one

  • Thanks for sharing this post. It’s inspiring to see youth finding a path they care about. I remember working as a life guard at 15 years old and it was a great job. One of our new programs is a yoga teacher training for youth. We think youth could inspire a lot of kids into doing more yoga, like no adult could.

    Way to go Jaysea.

  • Jenna

    I’m in favour of dramatically increasing the requirements to teach in general. When you are dealing with people’s health and complex issues requiring study and experience with anatomy, biochemistry, psychology and theology – a 200 hour base training simply doesn’t suffice. The “Wild West” freedom of yoga training is putting people at risk, and allows anyone who fronts the money for a basic training to call themselves a yoga teacher. I’m not sure a 12 year old can understand these complexities yet, not to mention the history of this practice based in Tantra. To be fair, I’m not sure many adult teachers do.

    That being said, I’m all for this child’s pursuit of the practice and teaching young children, although I think an experienced older teacher should be present to prevent injury.

    I’m not sure what I feel about this to be honest. Having zero to do with her age I think teaching requirements need to be modified dramatically to reflect the importance of having the proper qualifications to instruct people on health issues. I don’t know that there should be an age requirement (yoga is for everyone) but I do think teachers need more training.

  • Aimée

    Very interesting. But maybe we could do without the sexualizing quotation for the 12 year old girl: long blond hair and long legs to match? Enough. Does she have to have her body remarked upon in this way?

  • Karen

    My immediate reaction, too.

  • Wendy Nichols

    Hah!
    I’ve been teaching 14 years, currently receive $35.00 per 75 minute class at a local yoga studio. ^_^
    If you’re in it for the “bank” you’ll be bankrupt.
    Keep spreading the joy of practice!

  • S.

    This is good on a few levels. First, this is evidence that yoga has now saturated our culture to the point that now even kids are teaching. Secondly, it reveals how the Yoga Alliance RYT200 process is at the intelligence level of a 12 year old. This appears to make many angry to the point that they want higher standards for yoga teacher training. If you want to command the respect and pay from getting certified as a yoga teacher, make that process to get that certification challenging and not just a means of keeping 200RYT degree-mill studios in business.

  • Karen

    Regarding age as an indicator of the rigour of training, I’ve very mixed feelings. After all, I do know people who completed degrees – even PhDs – while children. While taking my undergraduate degree, I was friendly with a 16-year old doing his post-doctoral research in what to me was a very esoteric area of physics, so I’m very aware that some kids are very capable of meeting the intellectual demands of even the most academically difficult work (not to mention that we all know plenty of adults with a shockingly stunted degree of emotional maturity). On the other hand, there can be a tendency to a lot of pressure on teachers of all subjects, so I hope she’s getting good support.

  • My 16 year old son is finishing his 200 RYT at our studio. My program is excessively rigorous with over 400 hours of training, 9 books and extensive meditation, and practice. This experience in addition to his three years of intense focus on nutrition, weight lifting and herbal supplements makes for a well trained yoga teacher. I can only remark about the positive changes that he has experienced and the continuation of skills that he will develop. Remember that teaching is a lifelong proces and she is starting. Give her credit for discipline and passion that a lot of adults lack.

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