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Ivan Nolia in Scorpian Pose
Photo by Natalie Tomlin for WTOP.com
Yoga teachers, like yoga students, come in all shapes and sizes, backgrounds and ages. Last week, we shared a bit about New York yoga teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch, who just celebrated her 95th birthday. On the other end of the spectrum is Ivan Nolia, a newly-trained yoga teacher from Washington, D.C., who is only 9 years old.
When his mother took him to his first yoga class at a local library, he loved it. That was a year and a half ago. Earlier this year he completed an 11-day, 200-hour teacher training a DC studio called Yoga District. He recently began teaching yoga to his swim team to help the team warm up before practice.
Ivan told WTOP.com that he’s particularly pleased how yoga has helped with his martial arts, which he’s practiced since he was 4.
“[Yoga] teaches me how to be calm, and it also teaches me how to be flexible, so now for example, if someone hits me in the rib (during kung fu practice), it won’t hurt … and I can dodge it better,” he said.
While some people might see inexperience as a hindrance to being a great yoga teacher, youthfulness has its advantages. “What is often difficult about yoga is the mind is very restless and it doesn’t want to hold on to lessons in life, so they have to be constantly repeated,” said Aqeel Yaseen, Ivan’s teacher at Yoga District. “Ivan doesn’t have this problem since he doesn’t have past experiences like adults do to hold him back from accepting certain philosophical lessons from yoga.”