Sport & Recreation

The Yogaman – children’s Yoga

Simeon Wright is the Yogaman.  He’s a qualified children’s yoga teacher and firmly believes in yoga being beneficial any age.  Breathing is a key part of yoga, and being able to self-regulate your stress by focusing on your breathing and your mind and body is a very useful tool to have in life.  Simeon works with children and young people across Kent, with classes at F51 in Folkestone.  Folkelife took a breather with Simeon between classes.

“I’ve been working in education for the last 12 years, and a qualified sports coach for the last 5.  I’m dyspraxic which means I have some coordination issues and when I took up yoga it was a revelation.  It was so calming and gave me a sense of freedom.  The dyspraxia isn’t a limitation.  But most of all, yoga has given me an outlet for stress, and not just on the physical level.  The breathing in yoga has allowed me to learn techniques to self-regulate my moods and feelings.  

“I’ve taught in many different schools and places.  One rather challenging school was one where there were many students with difficult home lives.  It got me wondering why no one had taught them about how to breathe.  So I thought that I would do that; I gave my breathing technique to some of them and it allows them space to focus on the moment in hand.”

teaching yoga

“Lockdown was just around the corner and this really resonated with what was going on in my life.  It was a weekend, and I had a choice of either having lunch that day or paying for a train ticket to a course with an amazing lady called Caroline Garland.  She has changed my life, and allowed me to change children’s lives over the last 3 years I have been working as The Yogaman.

Yoga is a continuous learning process.  I go to adult classes and work on my own practice and how I teach.  During lockdowns there was nothing much to do except to continue learning my practice.  And now I make sure that my classes are lead by the students as well as me, so that we can learn from each other.”

Yogaman relaxing


“When anyone gets overwhelmed with situations, or if things are getting stressed and out of hand, it’s important to be able to ground yourself.  There are simple techniques that I teach my kids so that they can learn how their bodies are feeling, and when to use which method to calm, or focus on the moment.  There’s finger breathing – if you hold up one hand and trace the line of your fingers with a finger from the other hand.  Every time you travel up a finger you breathe in.  Every time you travel down you breathe out.  You don’t need any other tools, just your hands and breathing in and out. 

“When I started my first yoga classes I was still working as a teaching assistant.  I’d be teaching a kid how to write, and then half an hour later I’d be working with them in a completely different way in the yoga sessions.   Since then, my sessions have grown and I’ve moved to teaching here in Folkestone where I run sessions at F51 and at Sandgate Primary and St Eanswythe’s school.”

tap into your superpower

“What’s important to understand is being in control of your body and your mind is a superpower.  That’s what I call it.  Anytime you get stressed or worried, or overwhelmed you can send a message to your brain to calm down.  That’s what I want, to get a generation of kids who know how to do that, and how to do it themselves.   There’s so much pressure on children these days.  I’m sounding old, and I’m only 32, but social media only came into my life when I was about 18.  Maybe I’m the last generation who were allowed to play outside and not have to worry about what’s going on on socials?  That’s a sad thought.  My mum used to have to come and find me; we’d be out using our brains and being creative.  Yes, we had Playstations and used them, but not addicted to them in the way children are today.”

autonomy in the classroom

If you look at what’s happening in education now it’s a 7 hour day for any child where they need to sit, be told what to do and do the tasks in front of them. Then if they have after-school clubs too they never switch off.  It’s stimulation all the time and that’s restrictive, and not very creative.  I try, in my sessions, to make them autonomous, so they have ownership over what we’re doing.  They can choose the exercises, or the stories we tell, or the tools we use.  

To have the time to relax, be calm, and be exercising at the same time is so important.  There’s also the space to lead, use their brains and be creative.  We come together and breathe; we chuck the breathing ball around and share people’s news of the day.  Then I invite them to come and jump on my mat and warm up a part of the body, then ask another, and so it goes on.”

authentically folkestone

I live in Ashford and run classes across the county from Tenterden to Canterbury, and of course here in Folkestone.  I love coming here, in fact, I want to move here.  There’s something about this town that has its own identity.  The people in it too are authentic. 

“People wear what they want to wear, which might mean it’s hippy, most definitely people have colour here, and are bright and are themselves.  You don’t get that in the towns, people seem scared to show who they really are. This is me, this is who I am, it’s what everyone’s saying here in Folkestone and I love that.”  

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