Twelve-year-old certified yoga instructor Jaysea DeVoe teaches her yoga class at the Bergamot Spa in Encinitas, California. Photo by 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, 40km 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.'"
Jaysea told her father she wanted to teach yoga and when she
said it was 200 hours of training, "We were like 'Whoa.'"
"She was just adamant about doing all the homework and never
wanting to miss a class," Rick says. "We were just really
thrilled and very honored that they allowed her to do it and
that she pulled it off."
READY FOR ADULTS AND INJURIES
Jaysea now works at a donation-based yoga studio and found
$136 in the donation box after her first class. She was
trained to teach adults yoga and is ready for moms and dads
in her new family class. And she feels completely prepared to
deal with the injuries that often crop up in the practice of
"We have learned so many variations of all the poses to do if
people do have injuries or to prevent injuries," she says
with a confident tone.
School doesn't start until 9:45 a.m. or 10:30 a.m., so she
has time to do her practice every morning at home for an
"I turn music on and I like flowing with the music, it is
called sun salutation ... that is probably one of my favorite
parts," Jaysea says.
Rick Devoe says he's not surprised Jaysea chose yoga.
"Jaysea is just really Zen-y," he says. "She's got this
spiritual side to her. She's always been intrigued by the
moon and nature."
As if teaching yoga on a donation basis to preschoolers,
teens and families and creating a yoga mat side business
wasn't enough for a 12-year-old girl, Jaysea also volunteers
every week at a local organic farm.
And then there's time for play. When it's sunny and the
Pacific Ocean is what she calls "glassy," she surfs or
paddleboards with best friend Miely. No parental guidance
"We live right by the beach, right down the staircase, so we
just go down there, yeah," says Jaysea.