11-Year-Old Helps People One Yoga Lesson at a Time

Tabay Atkins may be America's youngest certified yoga instructor
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2017 6:04 PM CST
Tabay Atkins may be the youngest yoga instructor in America.   (Facebook)

(Newser) – Eleven-year-old Tabay Atkins was given a choice upon graduating fifth grade last year: a trip to Europe or a 200-hour yoga instructor certification course. He went with the yoga. The Orange County Register reports Tabay may very well now be the youngest certified yoga instructor in America, leading classes at his family's yoga studio in San Clemente, Calif. Tabay tells the San Clemente Times the classes help some of his peers from school deal with their stress. One of his 13-year-old students likes that Tabay brings "the happiness...and the kid energy" during his yoga classes. But Tabay isn't just teaching kids. A middle-school teacher and 16-year yoga veteran says Tabay even taught her a few new tricks.

Tabay was introduced to yoga in 2012 when his mom, Sahel Anvarinejad, was battling cancer. She realized yoga helped her in that battle and got her own instructor certification while recovering. Tabay says that as a 6-year-old he realized yoga helped heal his mom "mentally and physically." Now he says he wants to "help other people, like yoga helped her." Classes taught by Tabay are free; donations go to the Children's Hospital of Orange County and other charities for children with cancer. Anvarinejad calls her son an "amazing" kid who "touches everyone's heart," and his dad, former NFL linebacker Larry Atkins, says Tabay's "energy just lifts everyone up." (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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