By Risheek Priyadarshi, Pretzel Kids content writer
Clarissa loves to teach children and her resume really demonstrates that. She is a mother, Montessori educator, founder of Star Path Montessori, a dance instructor, and a Pretzel Kids teacher! She believes that kids should have the tools to express themselves, whether it be through dance, yoga, or some other form of exercise.
Clarissa currently teaches toddlers at a Montessori school in Newton, Ma. So yes, she is busy!
Even with her busy schedule, she loves practicing yoga herself. In fact, she began dabbling in yoga while at college. She took classes in meditation, breathing and yoga, and was instantly hooked.
Want to learn how Clarissa manages to teach yoga to kids, run a business, and juggle it all? Read on to find out more about her journey!
Pretzel Kids: Hi there, Clarissa! It is wonderful to get this chance to talk with you.
Clarissa: Likewise! I am excited to get started.
Pretzel Kids: Let’s warm up with some easy questions first. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Clarissa: Where to begin! I wear many hats (people tell me) but they are all hats that I absolutely love. I am a mama of an amazing 5th grader (how did that happen!), a Montessori educator of 20+ years, and founder/creative director of Star Path Montessori located in West Roxbury, MA. I offer so many opportunities for gathering, learning and growing together for families with children six years and under: creative movement, art, cooking, Pretzel Kids yoga, and open meetups for families on weekends, select holidays and school vacation weeks. All of my programs are Montessori-based, and parents/caregivers can come with their children to participate.
Pretzel Kids: That is amazing!
Clarissa: Thank you! We also have a lounge area for grown-ups for when a little ‘you’ time is needed. I am so excited to have met Robyn. I received such a warm welcome to the beauty of the Pretzel Kids program. Now having completed my training, I am able to bring Pretzel Kids to Star Path. It’s a win-win!
From Dance to Yoga, Clarissa Can Do it All!
Pretzel Kids: Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself before we move on?
Clarissa: Hmm, let’s see. I’m a business owner, entrepreneur, and have a performing arts background with a BA in dance (2003). I’m also a former dance instructor for a local dance studio, and, of course, a current Montessori teacher for toddlers in Newton. You know, just a little here, a little there.
Pretzel Kids: You truly are an educator at heart! It is a wonder how you have any spare time, but when you do, what do you like to do then?
Clarissa: I love to watch movies in a theater!
Pretzel Kids: There is something completely different about the experience of sitting in a theater and watching a movie. Playing off of that, what is one fun fact you would like to share?
Clarissa: While most people like hot weather and visiting the beach, I am quite the opposite. I do not like either and actually prefer the cold and snow since I grew up in Florida.
Pretzel Kids: This is the perfect season for you then! Let us get to the real questions: Can you tell us about your yoga journey?
Clarissa: While attending college for dance in Pittsburgh, I took classes in yoga, pilates, and classical ballet to help tone and build strength as a base for my dance training. It was there that I practiced many of the breathing, stretching, and mindfulness work that is so important in yoga. I have taught yoga and dance to young children in the past while also being an early childhood educator. I am excited now to bring these past experiences of mine to my own business offerings.
What Do You Like Best About Teaching Yoga to Kids?
Pretzel Kids: You mentioned teaching yoga to young children, which is the perfect segue to the next question. What are your favorite things about being a kids yoga teacher?
Clarissa: I would say that my favorite aspects of teaching yoga to kids would be: helping them become aware of their body’s abilities through practice and repetition, using creativity and games to get them moving, and threading in literature to lessons—literature rocks!
Pretzel Kids: What do feel are the most beneficial aspects of the Pretzel Kids licensing and membership program?
Clarissa: I feel the structure of creating classes is so easy when you take the training and see how it all comes together. In my experience with teaching children for so many years, I have come to truly understand the benefits of planning ahead. Even from my first lesson plan, I felt capable of putting something together for my students that hit all the areas, kept the class fresh and exciting, and allowed for fun movement with the children. The system is awesome, well thought out, and so helpful.
Pretzel Kids: We love that your experience, even the first one, has been so positive! This next question is similar to the last one. 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?
Clarissa: Absolutely! As a business owner it can be tough to find all the right places to market and the exact audience to target in order to get signups. Being a part of the Pretzel Kids program, with its branding and reach, is like getting a highlight to your offerings that you may have overlooked.
How Do You Hope to Make a Positive Impact with Pretzel Kids Yoga Classes?
Pretzel Kids: Let’s flip the tables a little now. How do you hope to make a positive impact with Pretzel Kids?
Clarissa: In our current society, it has been proven that children are overstressed and under exercised. It is my hope that providing this fun opportunity for movement and wellness will give children in my community a healthy outlet that helps them become aware of their bodies, move, breathe, and have lots of fun in the process!
Pretzel Kids: That is a cause we can get behind! Where do you live and where would you like to teach PK yoga in your community?
Clarissa: I live in Dedham, MA, just outside of Boston. I am offering Star Path Yoga, a Pretzel Kids program, in my own place of business: Star Path Montessori in Boston. We offer child-geared, Montessori-inspired programs for children six and under.
Pretzel Kids: How did you hear about Pretzel Kids? Would you recommend the program to friends, moms, childcare providers and yoga teachers? Why?
Clarissa: Robyn, the owner, reached out to me directly, which was incredible! And, yes, absolutely! I have recommended it to many already and will continue to do so.
Pretzel Kids: To wrap things up, let’s start a mini rapid-fire round but with less serious questions. To start off, what’s your favorite Pretzel Kids pose?
Clarissa: Tree Pose
Pretzel Kids: What’s your favorite Pretzel Kids game? What’s your favorite Pretzel Kids theme?
Clarissa: Magic Yogi! I honestly cannot decide which of the many themes are my favorite, I love them all.
Pretzel Kids: Lastly, what’s your favorite food?
Clarissa: Mashed potatoes.
Pretzel Kids: Clarissa, that’s all the questions that we have for you. It was wonderful getting to know you and we wish you the best of luck with teaching yoga to kids!
Clarissa: Thank you! It was a blast to sit down and have this conversation with you.
Editor’s Note: Clarissa’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!