Tabay Atkins is an 11-year old certified yoga teacher in Southern California, USA. [Image: CARE4YOGA | Twitter and Tabay Atkins | Facebook]
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Being the son of former NFL plyer, Larry Atkins, many would have thought that 11-year old Tabay Atkins would follow in his father’s footsteps and play American football. But the younger Atkins found a completely different calling through yoga and his parents couldn’t be prouder that he found his calling at such a young age.

Described by ESPN as one of Southern California’s most in-demand yoga teachers, Atkins not only teaches classes at their family owned studio, CARE4YOGA, located in San Clemente, he also teaches yoga for PE at his middle school where is is currently in sixth grade.

Many professional football players have begun to use yoga to extend their careers and 79-year old Larry Atkins, former linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders, said even he wishes he started practicing yoga while he was still playing. But he is happy that his own son is now a certified yoga teacher.

“I am with him 100 percent. I played professional sports – what I did was temporary… a few years, and then it’s over. What he is doing can last a lifetime. He can do a lot more than I did, as far as inspiring people,” he said.

According to the family, Tabay Atkins started his interest in yoga when he was only six years old. In 2012, the entire family witnessed how yoga helped his mother, Sahel Anvarinejad, recover from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. As she was completing her 200-hr teacher training certification, Tabay would tag along with her to class and got into the flow of yoga himself.

But it was not just a passing fascination with what mom was doing. In Canada, 11-year old Aderyn McLean became a certified teacher when she was eight. And last year, at just 10 years old, Tabay became a certified yoga teacher himself. According to reports, he was given the choice to go to Europe for his summer vacation or go to teacher training. He chose the latter. As reported by the San Clemente Times, he was the youngest student to complete the YOGAthletica Teacher Training program and currently holds other certifications in Acroyoga and Circus yoga, and a mild to severe autism certificate.

and his classes at CARE4YOGA are packed with young and old alike.

Testimonials from his students include other pre-teens who are inspired to see someone so young teaching yoga. The adults in his classes are likewise impressed by his passion for teaching and wish they had gotten into yoga earlier in life as well. 

Tabay’s mother said that he does not charge for his classes. Remembering that his mother’s illness was what inspired him and his whole family to practice yoga, instead he keeps a donation jar in his class and all cash collected goes to families dealing with cancer, the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, or other charities.

According to the official CARE4YOGA website, both mother and son believe in teaching yoga for free to those battling cancer.

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