Starting in 2017, Imagination Yoga has been conducting classes in Shanghai, China, the most populated city proper in the world with over 24 million people. Select students in PuDong, the newest district in the city, are now learning the benefits of yoga including self-soothing skills and the importance of kindness.
Crista Lindberg, an Imagination Yoga teacher of 4-1/2 years is not surprised by the success. “The majority of the students are expatriates and from a Western family heritage. Because of their background, they already know the benefits for the mind and body. However, every child I teach is experiencing yoga for the very first time themselves which is slightly delayed compared to the majority of students I taught in the States. This makes for such fertile ground to establish fresh principles.”
Students are primarily from the mid-west due to the large automobile sector in Shanghai but students are also local, German and Danish. “Interacting through the Imagination Yoga adventures is always interesting with these well-traveled yoginis. I mention popular Thai beaches that are a holiday hotspot for families, for example, when describing an ocean adventure. And they’ll engage with details like “I tried surfing in Bali” or “I saw dolphins in Australia” which connects their recent experiences with the storyline that much more!”
As Mandarin is a required course in all schools, public and private, some words are used to add to their China experience. “Albeit most kids’ Chinese is better than mine but we count in Chinese when we’re blasting off in our rocket ship or we become a niu (cow) and mao (cat) in a field.”
More teachers are needed in Shanghai as the demand is quickly outpacing the supply. Families are asking for private in-home classes, parents are requesting their schools bring Imagination Yoga into the after school activities, and parents are demanding yoga for middle school and high schoolers which is a curriculum the company hasn’t yet developed. So, if you are looking for a move, consider Shanghai as the job market is wide open.