All about Gale... (and Kids Yoga)

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

At Move Happy our aim is to empower and support through movement and fitness, and that now includes our young people too.

Gale Hubbard (👆 with her son Ruben) is our newest member of the Team! An experienced yoga teacher and practitioner who has been inspiring kids through her work for over a decade, we can't wait to have her on board for the Kids Yoga courses this September.

I caught up with Gale to ask a little bit about how she came to do what she does, and how her sessions work.

Gale, you have worked in education and with children for years now, including as a primary school teacher. Can you tell us a little bit about your passion and drive for working with young people?

I come from a family of teachers with my mum and my two older brothers teaching before me, so perhaps this is one reason I have always felt drawn to working alongside children. Somehow children have a genuineness and authenticity I really appreciate. I love their openness to try new things. I also find that they don’t mind if they don’t get things right first time or if they make mistakes along the way. It’s just amazing to watch them grow and learn.

I came to work with children first when I graduated from university, taking a three-month voluntary placement at a Liberian Refugee Camp Based in Ghana. I loved this time volunteering in the classroom, and it determined a lot for me about what I wanted to do in life. On my return to the UK I worked to study and qualify as a primary teacher.

I admit I did find my first few years as a teacher an emotional roller coaster – I am sure some other teachers can relate! I found many situations that challenged me to really look at why I was committing my life to education.

My own yoga practice became essential to me in finding balance and managing the pressures of work, moving house and country (I also spent some time in New Zealand) and thinking about starting to raise my own family. I decided I wanted to deepen and share my practice, and undertook my Yoga training in India.

It became increasingly obvious to me that our children and young people go through challenges too. The challenges are different, but they too face a lot of change, and experience what can be both internal and external pressures. I started to consider how yoga practices could support children with their everyday stress and anxieties. It was then I decided to train to specialise in children’s Yoga.

Supporting children with their emotional health has really come to be my passion as well as my career path. Since having my own son, it has brought home to me how important it is that our children feel equipped with the tools they need to lead happy and healthy lives.

What is it specifically about yoga that can make such a difference to children?

Good question! Children gain so much from participating in yoga regularly. Classes provide a non-competitive environment where children can build both their physical and emotional fitness. Through playful and age appropriate practices, children build an awareness and control of their breath. From the feedback both children and parents give me, it is these breathing practices that come in most useful for children when dealing with everyday stresses and anxieties. It is the practical tools that children take away from yoga that I see as making the biggest difference.

How do you theme and structure your sessions?

I usually plan a yoga theme to run for a half term, which is then broken down into smaller weekly themes. For example our most recent theme for my classes in Bracknell where I live was ‘Nature’s four elements.’ Each week we explored a new element through postures, breath play, mindfulness practices, games and a visualisation. As well as these longer term themes, we often have one off themes to celebrate important dates or events such as Guy Fawkes, Chinese New Year or the Olympics.

Sessions start with some group breathing and we then introduce our weekly theme. We pass our breathing ball around the circle and everyone get a chance to share with the group. Each week we practice our Sun Salutations to warm up before moving into our postures, which are inspired by our weekly theme.

We use toys, props, yoga cards and age appropriate games to keep the classes engaging, fun and relevant. Classes often include group or partner poses to encourage cooperation and teamwork. All session will include a mindfulness practice to support children with focus. Again this is always age appropriate and we often use props during these practices.

All sessions end with a relaxation and visualization linked to our weekly theme.

Can you describe just one or two examples of a key benefit a child has taken from a previous Yoga course you have run? Anonymously of course.

The most rewarding part of my work is hearing from parents or children about ways in which their yoga practice has supported them to work positively through challenges in their lives. Just today a mother let me know her child was able to use a breathing practice to help her stay calm during an asthma attack. Many children tell me that they have been able to use their visualizations to feel calm during time of anxiety or to help them get off to sleep.

Last week a student told me that each week he looks forward to his Monday night yoga as he feels it really sets him up well for the week ahead.

What is it you are looking forward to most about the upcoming courses in Maidenhead?

The past year has been challenging for us all in so many ways, however is has brought me a renewed appreciation for the work I do. Since resuming my local classes in Bracknell, I am aware of the positive impact teaching yoga has on my own mental health as well as the many children I am lucky enough to teach. I feel excited (and a little nostalgic) to be bringing these classes back to Maidenhead where I first started teaching yoga ten years ago.

Thanks Gale! We are delighted to have you and these courses on offer. Can't wait to hear how the little ones get on!

N x

PS. Some spaces still available. Reserve your September spot now!

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