Kids yoga has become increasingly popular as of late. However, many yoga instructors find themselves at a loss when faced with their first yoga class for kids. The instructors know the poses, how to develop flow sequences, various pranayama exercises, and how to perform adjustments. However, they now have a group of children staring at them and they have no idea how to fill the next 30-60 minutes.
To help here is a list of the top 10 tips for teaching kids yoga. These are tried and tested techniques which will guarantee your success.
#1 – Have fun. Kid’s yoga is more about playing yoga than perfecting poses. Release your fun-loving self, laugh, tell jokes, make silly faces, let loose, enjoy.
#2 – Pick a theme. Developing a lesson plan around a central theme helps to focus attention and provides a context to what otherwise is a bunch of unrelated poses without purpose. Yoga adventure stories are a fun way to use themes, as are other lesson plans such as opposites, shapes, alphabet, things that fly, etc.
#3 – Know kids. Get current with what kids like and dislike: what is cool and totally last year. Each class will have certain interests, so find out what they are and develop lesson plans with these in mind.
#4 – Use stories. Kids love stories; give them what they love. Whether as the overall theme or to teach a particular concept, stories grab the imagination and become a part of us. This is a powerful tool that, when used well, will involve participants physically, emotionally and intellectually.
#5 – Play games. Break out the yoga games and take your classes from average to amazing. Yoga games are especially effective to get everyone moving and working together, and are a fun way to spend the last few minutes of class. After a couple of weeks kids will request their favourites again and again.
#6 – Keep it moving. Numerous activities with varying energy levels help to keep kids attention and interest. Kids yoga classes are fast paced which will require high intensity and energy from the instructor. A good rule of thumb for how long kids will pay attention is “ageX5. ”
#7 – Incorporate music. Kids respond wholeheartedly to music. Try calming tunes for relaxation, upbeat ones to release energy. Find one of the many kids yoga music CDs now on the market and use it, or simply raid your own play list and share the groove. You can also incorporate drumming and chanting which are especially useful to teach basic rhythm skills, develop co-ordination and increase body awareness.
#8 – Make noise. Bark in Downward Dog, meow in Cat pose, hiss like a snake in Cobra pose. Find your voice and express your creativity: the louder the better of course. So get into it and make some noise.
#9 – Share wisdom. Recognize that you will not be the only teacher in the class as often children provide the greatest insights into our lives and relationships. Allow discussion time to cover interests, events and general sharing. See life through a child’s eye and learn from them.
#10 – Include partner poses. Activities are more fun when you do them together. Develop a repertoire of partner poses and always include at least one in every class. Partner poses help to build unity, cooperation, and social skills essential to child development.
These 10 tips will make your classes come alive, be engaging, and get the kids moving and grooving in a yoga way. Namaste.
Donna Freeman is the founder of Yoga In My School. She has been doing yoga since 1997 and teaching it since 2002. Passionate about yoga for kids and teens, she loves showing parents and teachers how to share the joy of yoga with children of all ages. Visit http://www.yogainmyschool.com/ for all you ever wanted to know about yoga for kids and teens.
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Casey’s Comment: In honor of my Kids Yoga Teacher Training today I am sharing this great rescource. I am so excited to meet and share with 15 beautiful souls that will be joining us for the weekend! Namaste and Play!