Are you ready to teach yoga for kids?
If you are a yoga teacher and want to give a hand in teaching children yoga, you might want to rethink your class strategy. You will discover that not all the techniques you employ when you teach an adult yoga class is applicable when you teach kids. Certain qualities are still always required - passion and compassion - but at the same time there are other skills you need to develop.
Here I will give you certain scenarios in a children's yoga class that will make you re-evaluate if your teaching skills are at par.
1. How to begin a class
In an adult yoga class, sometimes I would enter a room where all the people are relaxedly waiting (or stretching) on their mats for the class to start. These are either regular practitioners or those who just came from a long day in the office and can't wait to destress and rest in savasana. But if you enter a kids yoga class, kids may already be running around and even playing with the mats.
So what do I do? I prefer to be present inside the room to welcome the class. That way I can initiate the set up, especially when I prefer to place the mats in a circle with everyone facing each other. I sit in a yoga pose, find calm and an air of authority, and one by one children would come and choose a mat, and copy my pose. That's a signal that yes, they are joining a "yoga class."
2. Children not settling down
Now, in an adult class, if I invite practice time to work on everyone's say, side crow pose, people will attempt what they can. Let's say after a good five minutes of practice or trial and progress, people will feel ready to move on to the next pose. In a children's class however, it is usual that you would conclude an activity and kids will refuse to come back to their mats. It would be helpful to have an "official signal" that the class will have to resume and you need order. Ringing a bell is one way, clapping your hands is another. Call out their names. Or try slowly counting down to one until everyone is back on their places.
3. Children fiddling with their yoga mats or wandering off
It's not uncommon to flow through a kids class and see one or two boys rolling themselves into a yoga sushi. This is the moment to stand up and prepare for a game. Usually kids will prefer to join the group once everyone agrees to participate. Keep things rolling, one activity after the next. You can also put a separate mat on the side (or outside the circle), call it "The Quiet Mat" and if someone is feeling moody, give them the option to stay on the quiet mat. Usually they will choose to stay with the group in the circle.
Teaching yoga for kids requires plenty of energy and enthusiasm. That being said, teaching yoga for kids may not be for everyone. It is a venture requiring passion and compassion, patience and resilience to work around lively spirits, which makes the experience truly special for all the people involved.
What other tips can you add if you've experienced teaching yoga for kids?
This article was first published on June 1, 2019