By Risheek Priyadarshi, Pretzel Kids content writer
Now that September flew by and October has arrived, it is time to introduce this month’s featured Pretzel Kids teacher, Alyssa Linkletter!
Alyssa is somewhat of a Jack-of-all-trades. She has worked in numerous fields, from telehealth to sales. However, her background in holistic psychology ultimately led her to pursue a career in teaching kids yoga.
Alyssa has lived all across the U.S. (including both coasts) but is now teaching yoga in Laguna Beach, California. She is very passionate about teaching children’s yoga and the benefits that result from it, both for the kids and for herself.
The connection between mind and body is key to Alyssa’s philosophy about yoga. She believes in empowering kids to learn and grow through yoga. Perfection is not the goal, but learning from mistakes and growing is.
Read on to find out more about Alyssa’s journey teaching yoga to kids!
Pretzel Kids: Hello Alyssa! It is an absolute pleasure to have you here for this interview.
Alyssa: Glad to be here! The pleasure is mine.
Pretzel Kids: Let us get started! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Alyssa: My holistic psychology background and training ignited my passion for mindful movement-based practices—including qigong, belly dance, and yoga. I am a 200-hour registered yoga teacher through True Nature School of Yoga. I have been certified to teach children’s yoga by Pretzel Kids, of course! In addition, I’m certified to teach infancy/preschool-age children. My aim is to support children by building a foundation that cultivates empowerment throughout their vital developmental stages.Through my experiences working as a teacher at enrichment programs, I respect and listen to kids. I truly enjoy working with them, as their world is incredibly wide and open!
Pretzel Kids: Your yoga certifications are seriously impressive, plus we love your unwavering support for children! Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself before we shift topics?
Alyssa: I’ve worked in publishing, outside sales, marketing, event planning, and telehealth. After trying on this mixed assortment of hats, and finding myself most passionate about delving deeper into human-to-human connection and potential, I pursued studying holistic psychology. My holistic psychology background ignited my passion for mindful movement-based practices—including qigong, belly dance, and…yoga! I’ve been practicing yoga for the past 15 years. I also work as a life coach with an emphasis on mindfulness and positive psychology. To top it off, I’ve worked as a teacher at youth enrichment programs, which fueled my direction to work with in a way that is both playful and resonant.
Pretzel Kids: Your work history is so diverse, yet it makes sense how you ended up teaching yoga today! To mix it up, is there a fun fact you’d like to share?
Multi-Talented Yoga Teacher was Once a Rapper
Alyssa: Raps on Thursdays in high school, shared in health class, were brought by yours truly: “Mango Ice.”
Pretzel Kids: Mango Ice, what a fun rap name! This adds yet another tidbit of diversity to your work history. So, tell me: How do you like to unwind?
Alyssa: I like to run on the beach, get lost in quaint towns, find new hiking spots, write (anywhere and everywhere about anything), and record meditations.
Pretzel Kids: Those are such great ways to relax. What are your favorite aspects about teaching yoga to kids?
Alyssa: It was yoga that allowed me to see how I can best serve children. With the bombardment of digital technology, I love sharing yoga with children because it helps them return to their mind-body connection through an evidence-supported and ancient tradition. I love helping kids learn the value of deepening the connection with mind, body and spirit. This way they can realize how limitless they truly are!
Pretzel Kids: That is definitely something we value at Pretzel Kids!
Alyssa: Exactly! In my opinion, yoga provides the most beautiful canvas and outlet for a child’s innate strengths of being playful, kind, and in the moment! It empowers children to bring balance to their relationships with their caretakers and with themselves. All told, they learn from a young age how to embrace a “beginner’s mind” and try new things instead of focusing on perfectionism.
Pretzel Kids: Agreed! Perfection is not necessary but striving to learn new things is invaluable. Speaking of learning, can you tell us a bit more about your yoga journey thus far?
Let’s Talk About Your Kids Yoga and Meditation Roots
Alyssa: Sure! Meditation has been important to me since I was a child! Before I knew what it was I craved it and carved time to sit outside on the grass or the sand. I would just relax and listen to the sounds around me. I learned about the benefits of formal meditation from my neighbor, Nagaraj, who taught me a simple mantra meditation that I still practice. My very first yoga class was at Indigo Yoga in Ft. Worth, TX. As a freshman in college, I became aware of needing some kind of reprieve from the day-to-day hustle. I remember walking through the door and into the space, a bit nervous. I rolled out a mat, followed the instructor’s prompts and actually felt like for the first time (or for the first time in a long time), my mind and body were in sync in the same place at the same time!
Pretzel Kids: That was definitely a wise decision. Yoga helps immensely with stress relief.
Alyssa: That is so true! It was an amazing experience to link breath to movement, and to stretch myself in new ways. (The warm towels soaked in essential oils placed over our foreheads during Savasana didn’t hurt either!) There were no expectations, only lots of unknowns – like with everything we do for the first time. From there, I have connected with the seed of intention of connecting with the unknown, and being open to the beauty of the mystery as it unfolds, while being present (from engagement to surrender) throughout.
Pretzel Kids: Your story is inspirational. Shifting to a similar topic, what impact do you hope to make with Pretzel Kids?
Alyssa: My classes are adapted for contemporary times to spark engagement in children and inspire a sense of adventure, wonder, compassion, and resilience. I am grateful to be a part of the pilot program towards tremendous growth in Southern California.
Pretzel Kids: You touched on this but let us elaborate a little bit more. Where do you live and where would you like to teach Pretzel Kids classes in your community?
Alyssa: After a hiatus of living in different states and different areas of my home state (ranging from Austin to Boston to Berkeley, and more), I recently moved back to my beautiful hometown in Laguna Beach. Native to Laguna, I am excited to deepen my involvement in the community, and to teach yoga to children in a variety of settings from schools and yoga studios to natural settings with an open sky.
Pretzel Kids: That definitely is exciting to practice and teach yoga in such a beautiful city!
Alyssa: Exactly! Currently, I am working as the coordinator at the Kids Club at The Art of Fitness, a gym in Laguna Beach with a vibrant local community. The timing of the Kids Club’s inception and grand opening paralleled my aspiration to work with children of all ages! I facilitate activities that get children mindful and moving – including yoga, art, storytelling, games, and more. I revel in providing parents an essential time to indulge in their own fitness needs. I feel that teaching kids yoga is an amazing way to give back to the community since the benefits ripple out from the children to their parents, to their peers, and to the greater community. I love that it’s a hands-on and healthy exercise that meets kids exactly where they are.
Pretzel Kids: Shifting gears a little bit to the more serious questions, what do feel are the most beneficial aspects of the Pretzel Kids licensing and membership?
Alyssa: The course and accompanying resources helped me become familiar with structure – which has immensely helped with planning and organization. I also wholly appreciate Pretzel Kids’ approach to bringing motion and imagination to asanas and the experience as a whole.
Pretzel Kids: Thank you for such kind words, especially about our approach! Do you feel that being part of Pretzel Kids gives you more visibility and helps you fill classes that you couldn’t do on your own (or would take you much longer)? How so?
Alyssa: This platform definitely has provided a space that has bolstered my identity as a kids yoga professional. I look forward to adding classes and sharing it with Pretzel Kids’ wider network!
Pretzel Kids: We look forward to helping you. How did you hear about Pretzel Kids? Would you recommend the program to friends, moms, childcare providers and yoga teachers? Why?
Alyssa: I learned about Pretzel Kids after finding a job posting in my area! After reviewing more information about the company, I was eager to learn more and listened to an interview with Robyn, on the “Balance Virtual Trainer Podcast.” I was inspired by her story of recognizing and filling a need in the marketplace as a genuine win-win for children and parents alike!
Pretzel Kids: That just about wraps up all the main, serious questions that we have. To wrap it up, let’s end on a fun note. What is your favorite Pretzel Kids pose?
Alyssa: That’s a great idea! My favorite pose is the Jellyfish.
Pretzel Kids: What is your favorite Pretzel Kids game and Pretzel Kids theme?
Alyssa: “Silly to Calm” because it encourages playfulness and is both fun and effective. My favorite theme is “Springtime.”
Pretzel Kids: Lastly, what is your favorite food?
Alyssa: Chocolate in the morning and mangos when they’re in season!
Pretzel Kids: In a perfect world, that would be the ideal diet. Anyway, thank you for sitting down and having this chat with us. We wish you all the best!
Alyssa: Thank you!
Editor’s Note: Alyssa’s story is the reason why we do what we do! If you want to share your passion for healthy living and children’s well-being, this is your sign! We can’t wait for you to join the Pretzel Kids yoga family!
Risheek Priyadarshi is a contributing writer for Pretzel Kids. He recently graduated from Santa Clara University after studying economics, math, and computer science. His hobbies include a rekindled passion for yoga, running, boxing, and reading!