Teaching Tips

Pretzel Kids Yoga Teacher Feature: Meet Julianne Ferguson

By Brooke Weber, Pretzel Kids content editor

Meet Julianne Ferguson, our October 2020 featured Pretzel Kids yoga teacher!

We’re excited for you to hear about Julianne’s path from enjoying yoga as a hobby to becoming a member of the Pretzel Kids yoga teaching community.

Julianne began practicing yoga as a young cheerleader, years before she would stumble upon the opportunity to become a Pretzel Kids teacher.

Throughout her college career, Julianne explored everything from English and theater to philosophy and environmental science – before deciding that her true interests lie in psychology. As Julianne prepared for her senior thesis class, an acting and voice professor inspired her to revisit yoga as a way to alleviate mental, physical and vocal strain

From that moment on, yoga became the glue that held all of Julianne’s passions together. She wrote her senior psychology thesis on methods of releasing stress, spotlighting yoga as one of the most effective ways to relieve anxiety. She also turned to teaching kids yoga classes as a unique way to express her theatrical side. 

Now, Julianne is pursuing her graduate degree at Northeastern University while starting a side hustle as a Pretzel Kids teacher. On top of all that, she’s a teaching assistant for a psychology professor and performs as Disney princesses for kids’ birthday parties! She hopes to one day become a childhood/adolescent counselor.

Why does Julianne love working with Pretzel Kids? That’s simple:

“I am proud to be a member of the Pretzel Kids community, as they too take pride in helping kids have fun while managing stress both mentally and physically.”

Although Julianne calls Stoneham, Ma. home, she’s excited to teach kids yoga classes both in-person to those in the Boston area and online to those living all over the world!

Read on to learn more about Julianne.

Pretzel Kids: What’s your yoga journey been like?

Julianne: I used to do yoga for fun in my spare time off and on growing up. Lately, after studying yoga consistently for my senior thesis, I found myself getting back into it more regularly. Now, after seeing that I could teach yoga in my spare time, I’ve been practicing it again.

Pretzel Kids: What do you like to do with the rest of your spare time?

Julianne: I enjoy reading, going for walks and listening to music.

Pretzel Kids: Can you tell us a little more about your yoga-focused thesis?

Julianne: I took up the senior thesis class while I was already in an acting/voice class. Through the class, we learned about breathing techniques. We ended up doing a lot of one-on-one doing yoga, and my senior thesis was actually about ways of releasing stress. Yoga was one of the huge components of that, how (there are) different ways of using your body to connect feeling to movement.

Pretzel Kids: Wow! That’s amazing. How does all of this fit into psychology?

Julianne: That’s also an interesting story! I started out with a major in English and theater, and then when I transferred to Northeastern, I took up philosophy and environmental studies as my majors. Before I graduated, I added a psych minor, and through that, I saw all the different connections that theater has on psych in terms of group therapy, dancing therapy, drama therapy, art therapy and music therapy. All were using the arts to relieve stress!

Pretzel Kids: So how did this lead you to Pretzel Kids?

Julianne: I came across an ad for Pretzel Kids online when job searching. Pretzel Kids is a wonderful job opportunity, and working with kids to help them relieve stress while having fun seemed like the perfect job. 

Pretzel Kids: What drew you to the Pretzel Kids online course and membership/licensing program?

Julianne: When Robyn informed me over the phone of all the amazing opportunities one gets when taking the course and joining the Pretzel Kids community, the decision to join was not a difficult one for me. We hit it off right away!

Pretzel Kids: What were some of the highlights of Pretzel Kids’ online training course for you?

Julianne: When I saw the training videos, I noticed that teaching kids yoga is theatrically oriented! You have to be very engaging and interactive to get the kids excited and wanting to learn, so when I saw the ad, I was like, “This is right up my alley.” It was also really interesting to see the techniques they used.

Pretzel Kids: You’re just getting started with Pretzel Kids yoga! What are you most excited about when it comes to teaching?

Julianne: I’m really interested in learning how to adapt between online and in-person (teaching). I’ve always been used to doing in-person stuff, but then COVID hit, and it sort of forces you to think about and do things differently. Robyn mentioned that you can teach in pandemic pods, so something like that would be really cool and interesting to go out of my comfort zone and explore new things.

Pretzel Kids: What are your favorite Pretzel Kids poses?

Julianne: My favorite poses are salamander, child’s pose and tree pose.

Pretzel Kids: Favorite Pretzel Kids game?

Julianne: I’d say Simon Says (the Pretzel Kids version is ‘Salty Says!’) because it is a game so well-known to the kids and it’s easy to change depending on the theme of the class.

Pretzel Kids: How do you hope to make a positive impact with the Pretzel Kids curriculum?

Julianne: I like to take my own spin on the themes, incorporating song, dance and even art because I believe there is no one method to helping kids. I want to be able to reach all kids with various learning styles and interests. You can do ocean-themed yoga, rainforest or fairytale by using the same poses – you can just rename them or rename the games and give a different flair to it.

Pretzel Kids: How do you go about giving a themed class your own “flair”?

Julianne: Robyn was saying that through Pretzel Kids’ partnership with Outschool, there’s a way that, if you have more than one skill, you can combine it with yoga. So with the rainforest yoga, I thought, “Maybe I could teach them to do a watercolor or a colored pencil sketch of the rainforest landscape.” That way, they’re learning something besides yoga, so it’s a fun twist to get more people with multiple interests involved.

Pretzel Kids: What are one or two of your favorite things about the Pretzel Kids Method?

Julianne: Two methods I really like are circle time and savasana. Circle time gathers everyone together, making sure everyone is on the same page and laying the foundation down for the overall lesson plan to come. Savasana helps the kids relax and visualize a special place and time, bringing their imagination to life in their minds.

Pretzel Kids: If you could teach Pretzel Kids yoga anywhere, what place would you choose?

Julianne: I like the idea of online yoga, especially now where social distancing is a demand. Teaching online allows kids all over the world to participate, widening the learning experience to include almost everyone.

Pretzel Kids: Now for the silly stuff! Beach or mountain?

Julianne: Both – it depends on the season. I love the calming smell and sounds of the waves crashing up along the sides of the rocks and birds chirping, but I love the sounds of the wind off the mountain tops too.

Pretzel Kids: Any fun facts about you you’d like to share?

Julianne: I sing and tap dance.

Pretzel Kids: Last, but not least – favorite food?

Julianne: I love pasta, specifically chicken ziti and broccoli. 🙂

Thanks for talking with us, Julianne! We wish you continued success!

Editor’s note: Are you interested in taking the Pretzel Kids online certification course and learning how to run successful kids yoga classes like Julianne? Are you interested in becoming a member of the Pretzel Kids teaching network

We’d love to talk to you and help you create a lucrative side hustle teaching kids yoga. We can’t wait for you to join our Pretzel Kids yoga family! 

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