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Meet the Youngest Yoga Teacher in America, 11-Year-Old Tabay Atkins

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At just 11 years old, Tabay Atkins from San Clemente, California is the youngest certified yoga teacher in the United States.

Back in 2012, Tabay started his yoga journey when his mother, Sahel Anvarinejad, took up a yoga teaching training program to aid with her recovery from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After graduating from the 5th grade, Anvarinejad gave Tabay a choice: a trip to Europe or a chance to take a 200-hour yoga teacher training program. Guess what he chose…

“He chose training without hesitation,” Anvarinejad, who is now cancer free said to ABC News. “He said, ‘Mom I want to do this too. I want to teach people so yoga can help them the way that yoga helped you.’”

According to ABC News, Atkins began an intensive instructor program, which consisted of 12 hours of instruction every day from Los Angeles-based YOGAthletica trainer Shana Meyerson. Being the youngest to ever complete Meyerson’s 200-hour YOGAthletica Teacher Training, Meyerson says the 11-year old yogi became engrossed in the class.

“The adults in the training, all women, treated him with a unique combination of maternalism and peer respect,” Meyerson said. “Somehow he managed to immerse himself in this very grown up world and never lose his childlike innocence and sense of wonder, and fun.”

Now, Tabay teaches classes two days a week after school and on Saturdays at his mother’s yoga studio, Care4Yoga. Of course, at his side is his loving mother and father, former NFL linebacker Larry Atkins. Along with private sessions, Tabay also teaches a weekly yoga class to his school’s PE class and to the staff as well!

“It’s really awesome,” Tabay said to ABC News. “Some of the boys at first when I tell them that they should try yoga, they say no because they think it’s for girls but yoga was actually created by men, for men.”

Tabay teaches donation-based classes with all proceeds going to charities that support children with cancer. As ABC News reports, the studio waives the normal $30 per class drop-in free to all cancer patients and offers free classes to anyone who has or has battled cancer.

To learn more about Tabay and Care4Yoga, visit the website here.

Photo Credit: Tabay Atkins/Instagram