California tweening: the making of a 12-year-old yogi

Fri Apr 4, 2014 9:32pm EDT
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By Mike Blake and Mary Milliken

ENCINITAS, California (Reuters) - Jaysea Devoe is a yoga instructor who has the challenging job of teaching fidgety preschoolers the ancient practice, but once her charges get going, she says, "they really start to focus and listen."

Devoe knows a thing or two about childhood and focus, for she is only 12 years old and just recently became a certified yoga instructor after completing 200 hours of teacher training. She is believed to be the youngest certified female yoga instructor in the United States.

In addition to her pint-size students aged 4 to 6, Devoe teaches teens and fellow tweens in her California beach town of Encinitas and is about to start a family yoga class. Oh, and she just told her dad she wants to look into making eco-friendly yoga mats.

"I feel like I want to do this for a long time because I love teaching so much," says Devoe, the picture of a California beach girl, with long blond hair and long legs to match.

But Jaysea is not alone in her entrepreneurial zeal. Her twin brother is a sponsored competitive surfer and works at a surfboard fin manufacturing company. Her 15-year-old brother is a "professional water man," a spear fisherman, rod and reel angler and surfer who also teaches and has sponsors.

Encinitas, 25 miles north of San Diego, happens to sit at the junction of laid-back beach life, high-octane sports and entrepreneurial gumption. Skateboarder-turned-businessman Tony Hawk and Olympic gold snow boarder Shaun White are both based in Encinitas.

With so much opportunity around, the Devoe parents, Rick and Julie, decided less time should be spent at school and found an accommodating institution for their kids' plans.

"They only go to school three days a week and we told them 'You have to figure out what you want to do and you've got four days to do it,'" says Rick, who manages bands and surfers. "'And hopefully by the time you graduate high school, you have a career path chosen.'"   Continued...

Twelve-year-old certified yoga instructor Jaysea DeVoe (R) enjoys a hot chocolate with her friend Miely at a coffee shop in Encinitas, California March 24, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake