Meet the British entrepreneur teaching yoga to children in Bahrain

by Leena AlOlaimy, July 14, 2013



Kate Bartram-Brown, founder of Mini Me Yoga, brings an inventive approach to helping children become spiritually whole and grounded human beings who can create a more positive world.

In 2009, Bartram-Brown sold her high-end dry cleaning business in the UK and moved to Bahrain with her husband Robin—also an entrepreneur, who serves as her sounding board. During the transitional time, she found herself considering writing a self-help book, while taking some time out to practice yoga.

“As adults we have many self-help books to choose from: The Secret, Wayne Dyer—you name it and we have it!” Bartram-Brown says of the saturated self-help book market. “But there is nothing for children.”

“Our children are still being educated in the same system that requires us as adults to need self help books,” she points out.

“So it seemed to me that if we could help children grow up with a positive mind set and healthy body, they wouldn't have to do all the work—as we do now—when we get to adulthood.”

Her practice nurtures the traits that successful entrepreneurs and legendary leaders also advocate: mindfulness, introspection, the ability to stay positive in the face of adversity and uncertainty, an attitude of gratitude, and compassion—especially towards ourselves.

To further her practice, Bartram-Brown journeyed to Rainbow Kids Yoga in Mexico, accompanied by her 10 year-old stepson, who is also passionate about yoga, and studied to become a qualified yoga teacher.

At the end of 2009, in Bahrain, she established Mini Me Yoga, a two-hour workshop program that she brings to schools, nurseries, gyms, community gatherings, and even parties. When designing the sessions, she draws upon the film production career she had before operating a dry cleaning business, using her knowledge of filmmaking and experience working with the BBC and Sky TV to create engaging content.

“There is no typical class,” she says. “But a session always starts with coming together in a circle and sending out love and positive vibes to the world, and ends with a reminder to practice kindness towards others and especially to ourselves.”

As one of two child yoga practitioners currently on the island, Bartram-Brown hopes to franchise her model across the US, Europe and the Arab world to benefit as many people as possible.

“We need many more teachers—which is why I designed the Mini Me Yoga 2-hour workshop for parents, teachers, nursery owners, nannies and anyone else who would like to bring this 15 minutes of fun yoga into their child’s life,” she says.

The classes are designed to help children focus, express themselves, build mental and physical confidence, and get to have daily bonding time with their parent.

The course costs just BD 5 (approx. US$13) and includes a free set of energy yoga cards. Mini Me products—which can be found on the website—are eco-friendly, and some are sourced from a charity, which supports marginalized communities on the outskirts of Mumbai, India.

In building Mini-Me Yoga, Bartram-Brown hasn’t forgotten her first dream, however; she has already authored a series of children's books called The Magic of…Belly Breathing, The Magic of Yoga, The Magic of Nature, The Magic of Love, The Magic of Words, and The Magic of Water.

Soon, a bi-lingual English/Arabic DVD will follow, to grant yoga instruction to parents and children in their own homes. 

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Leena Al Olaimy is a social entrepreneur and professional idealist as co-founder of 3BL ‘Triple Bottom Line’ Associates: a Bahrain-based social impact and sustainability consultancy and think-do-tank committed to the MENA region’s sustainable development. She is also the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Quality Control Consultant for Sustainability Reporting Training Partners in the MENA Region.

You can find Leena’s profile on her LinkedIn page, and on Twitter @LAlOlaimy.

 
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