Meet the Teach
The Youngest Thirty-Something in NY
Shari Vilchez-Blatt is the ultimate kid at heart. As the owner of Karma Kids Yoga since its inception in 2002, she’s become the downtown go-to for everyone from prenatal mommies to toddlers and teens.
YogaCity NYC’s Allison Richard sat down with the playful and enviously energetic entrepreneur to talk about teaching 25 classes a week, keeping things creative, and what to do when the kids bring in violent ideas they’ve seen on tv into the studio
Allison Richard: How did you get on the path of teaching kids yoga?
Shari Vilchez-Blatt: At the beginning of my advertising career, I worked with both Hasbro and Crayola in new product development. A huge part of my jobs was working with focus groups of kids watching them play with the toys, talking to them about playing, asking them what would make the toys better- should this lever be red instead of blue?
Should this have glitter on it? I really got a chance to understand how kids work and what appeals to them.As my career progressed I moved from firm to firm continually climbing the corporate ladder, making lots of money, but I had no quality of life. Grey walls, fluorescent lights and no chance of going home at a decent hour any day of the week. I dreaded going to work.
Eventually my company lost a big account and they couldn’t afford to keep me. I got to spend lots of time with my nieces and nephews. I would do yoga in front of them and they followed me. I found out there was a teacher training with YogaKids and took it, following it soon after with a kundalini- based training through Radiant Kids.
AR: Did you ever have a desire to teach adults?
SVB: No. Never. Kids don’t judge you. It’s the perfect place to be in the moment. It keeps me young and playful.When we opened the prenatal studio it seemed like a natural progression. I’m trained to teach prenatal, but I have yet to use it. I became certified because when the studio first opened a teacher couldn’t teach and no one could sub. I had to cancel class and that is one of my pet peeves!
AR: You teach 25 classes a week. How do you keep them fresh?
SVB: Kids are so influenced by movies, books, television shows, Internet. We want kids to participate not just physically, but verbally. If kids look through their binoculars and see a three-toed sloth, you don’t want to say “I’m sorry there isn’t a pose for that.” I mean, what a bummer! So we challenge ourselves to come up with ways to become everything from a pair of scissors to a circus tent.