By Risheek Priyadarshi, Pretzel Kids content writer
Please bring your hands together and welcome Cyndi Mazzotta, our August 2022 Pretzel Kids featured teacher!
Yoga empowers us to accomplish more in our lives. Just ask Cyndi!
Cyndi has been doing it all: she’s a 200-hour registered yoga instructor with certifications in Yin yoga, restorative yoga, and, of course, Pretzel Kids. That’s before we even mention that she has been an elementary school teacher for the past 23 years!
This yogini and educator grew up in Portland, Connecticut and currently resides there as well, where she teaches yoga. She began her yoga journey 14 years ago and has never looked back.
“I began practicing after my second child was born, 14 years ago. Lacking confidence, I often chose to practice at home. I took my first class with a yoga teacher named Diana and she was just so supportive!” Cyndi says.
“It was the first time I chose me and what I thought to be most important. It was life changing!”
Yoga is certainly life-changing and can help bring balance to your life. No matter how much else you have going on, yoga can help ground your world and emotions, something that Cyndi advocates for strongly. So, keep on reading to find out more about just how she does it all!.
Without further ado, here is Cyndi!
Pretzel Kids: Hi there, Cyndi! It is so nice to finally get the chance to interview you. We love that you took the time out of your day to answer some of our questions. Let’s start with a little bit about yourself.
Cyndi: Sure thing! I am a 200-hour registered yoga teacher with additional training in yin, restorative yoga and children’s yoga. As an elementary school educator for the past 23 years, I have incorporated yoga into my own classroom, which has helped students manage tough emotions, learn the ease of breath and see how an “imagination vacation” can help the body cope with challenging stressors.
Pretzel Kids: Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself before we move on?
Cyndi: Recently, I became a certified health and life coach! In addition, I am a level 2 Reiki practitioner, RYT-200, and Pretzel Kids yoga teacher. These services are offered virtually, by phone or in-person at The Red Barn in Durham, CT. My best accomplishments, though, are being mom to my two boys: ages 14 and 19, and being married to my supportive husband for the past 22 years.
Yoga Down on the Farm?!
Pretzel Kids: It is absolutely wonderful that you are out there doing so much for others as well as yourself. To mix it up, tell us one fun fact about you.
Cyndi: We have 11 chickens and I have a favorite. Her name is Pearl! She has a Mohawk.
Pretzel Kids: We never would have expected that! Pearl sounds like a gem. When you’re not working or tending to all 11 chickens, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Cyndi: Yoga, gardening, walking, reading, cooking and going to the beach are my favorite hobbies!
Tell us More About Your Yoga Journey
Pretzel Kids: Considering that you like to practice yoga in your spare time, can you tell us a bit about your yoga journey?
Cyndi: Of course! I began practicing after my second child was born. I took my first class with a yoga teacher named Diana and she opened up space for me to imagine that one day I could become a yoga teacher, too. Thank goodness for the virtual shift in 2019. I was able to be home for my kids and work towards my RYT-200 during the first COVID-19 summer. It was something I never dreamed possible because of my schedule and the hours it would keep me away from my family. It was the first time I chose me and what I thought to be most important. It was life changing!
making a positive impact as a kids yoga teacher
Pretzel Kids: Yoga—especially kids yoga—has definitely changed our lives as well. Speaking of that, what is your favorite thing (or two) about teaching yoga to kids?
Cyndi: The enthusiasm kids have in learning something new is definitely my favorite aspect of teaching kids yoga. If you establish great rapport, classes can be so fun, engaging and you can equally learn from kids. They are so creative!
Pretzel Kids: We wholeheartedly agree over here at Pretzel Kids: the kids can definitely be extremely creative! How do you hope to make a positive impact with Pretzel Kids?
Cyndi: As a public school teacher for the past 23 years, I realize the positive impact managing my stress with breathwork and movement has on me and my ability to show up as my best each day for my students. Incorporating this work into my classroom has been a privilege and I know it will have lasting impact.
Pretzel Kids: Since we discussed how you hope to make a positive impact using Pretzel Kids, let’s switch it around: what do feel are the most beneficial aspects of the Pretzel Kids licensing and membership?
Cyndi: The support from Robyn has been amazing. The ease of the Circle Community allows staying in touch to be so easy. The resources we have at our fingertips to plan a class are so handy in a pinch!
Pretzel Kids: Thank you for your kind words, they truly mean a lot! 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 longer? How so?
Cyndi: Absolutely! I essentially have free advertising on the website between posting my bio and adding my classes. Robyn will also make available any teaching opportunities that are available to those who are nearby. I love the opportunities being a part of this community has offered me so far.
Pretzel Kids: We will continue doing everything we can to help you and all our other amazing teachers out. One more question along these lines: Where are you from originally and how do you plan to continue to teach youth yoga in your community?
Cyndi: I was born, raised and currently reside in Portland, CT. I have reached out to our local dojo and have planned classes with parks and recs. I have also offered classes to kids and adults in my district both before and after school.
Pretzel Kids: This next one is the last of our more serious questions. How did you hear about Pretzel Kids? Would you recommend the program to friends, moms, childcare providers and yoga teachers? Why?
Cyndi: My husband! He was searching on Google for jobs related to kids and yoga for me. He found Pretzel Kids! As soon as he texted me the link, I applied for a job at Pretzel Kids and spoke to Robyn within the next month about choosing the Pretzel Kids training.
What’s Your Favorite Yoga Pose for Kids?
Pretzel Kids: Now, onto our fun section! What’s your favorite Pretzel Kids pose?
Cyndi: Frog pose! It challenges me and gets that heart racing!
Pretzel Kids: What’s your favorite Pretzel Kids game? What’s your favorite Pretzel Kids theme?
Cyndi: I love Painting a Rainbow! Not only is it a great stretch, but we create something beautiful using our imagination.
Pretzel Kids: This one is a little off the topic of yoga, but what’s your favorite food?
Cyndi: Any kind of dark chocolate!
Pretzel Kids: Is there anything else you’d like to share before we wrap things up?
Cyndi: What I really want everyone to know is that anything is possible. Work towards something, no matter what the pace. Just keep showing up. Keep working towards the goals you wish to achieve. The idea that we are too old or it’s too late is never what it is about. It’s about the fear, but we can rise above that fear and keep moving forward. The Pretzel Kids team is there to support you!
Pretzel Kids: Well, that wraps up this wonderful interview! Thank you for sharing your journey and insights with us, Cyndi!
Cyndi: Thank you!
Editor’s Note: Cyndi’s story is the reason why we do what we do! If you want to enjoy sharing your passion for healthy living and children’s well-being then 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!