HANALEI — Kailani Hart was doing yoga with her mother when she was still in the womb and on her 10th birthday, the Hanalei girl became the youngest person in the United States to be a certified vinyasa yoga teacher.
She was certified on Hawaii Island Nov. 4, with teachers Bizzie Gold and Tara Winterhalter, and has started her career in Hawaii with an after-school class named Aloha Ohana Yoga, co-taught with her mom, Rebecca Hart.
“I want to continue the generations of yoga (in my family),” Kailani said, sitting on the edge of the Hanalei Pier on a hazy Friday afternoon. “My great-grandpa did yoga.”
The practice was passed down to Hart, who is a teacher herself and learned yoga from her grandmother.
“We did the teacher training for her (Kailani) on the Big Island and it just kind of fell together timing wise,” Hart said. “She had to miss a few days of school.”
And though Kailani had to play some catch-up when she got home from her teacher training, Hart said she learned valuable lessons about how to live an ethical and happy life through the training.
“They teach you things about life — like how to not overindulge, how to treat people, how to be mindful,” Hart said.
Kailani decided she wanted to be a certified yoga teacher at the 2014 Wanderlust Festival, when she met then 13-year-old Jeysea Devoe, who was the youngest certified teacher at that time.
“That inspired me,” Kailani said. “I decided I could get it, if she did it, and I wanted to do it before I turned 10.”
So she completed the 200 hours of training and her last step before certification was teaching a 10-minute demo with 40 adult students following her direction.
“I felt shy and scared that they’d laugh at me, but they didn’t laugh,” she said. “And then I felt like I could do it.”
Kailani doesn’t do a full vinyasa practice every single day. Sometimes it’s a few sun salutations or some stretching that starts her mornings and then she flows into classes at Hanalei School and the rest of her busy life.
But, she is always moving.
“Yoga, it helps me stay calm and more flexible,” she said.
Throughout her days, Kailani uses her yoga lessons for common situations, like a loud classroom when she and her friends are trying to concentrate.
“It’s loud and everyone’s crazy in there and then we do this thing called rainbow breath,” she said, demonstrating the breath exercise.
An avid vegetarian, Kailani wants to use the money generated from Aloha Ohana yoga classes to help with animal welfare.
“I’ve been a vegetarian since I was born and I love animals,” she said. “When I grow up, I want to become a veterinarian … and a singer.”