Horrah!! It’s been 3 years since I became a yoga teacher.
My journey started with the 3 days Rainbow Kids Yoga foundation training- since I have completed hundreds more hours of teacher training and a thousand hours of teaching yoga
Although I also teach adults, kids yoga remains in the heart of my business and I absolutely love it!
In the 3 years as a kids yoga teacher I discovered that
there is something magical about working with little people;
there is something magical about the way they behave or interact with each other and you.
In these last 3 years I learned more from the children than I ever learned from any training course. This served me in my greater purpose and in my relationship with my own child.
Here are 5 things I learned working as a kids yoga teacher:
- KIDS YOGA CLASSES ARE SUBJECT TO THE KIDS’ ENERGY
and the kids’ only.
Yes of course have a plan, but then “throw it out of the window” and meet the children with an open mind. Open mind on the activities and the order of activities.
When it doesn’t work just move on to the next thing. Never insist on anything and allow their creativity to emerge in your classes.
The only rules should stem from SAFETY and RESPECT for one another.
Before you begin any class visualise being a child yourself, channel that childish energy and lead them to a magical place with their help.
- THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO RELAX
nor does anyone teach them.
In this world we are all surrounded by choice, endless choice of activities, things to watch and books to read, but no idle time, no time to be bored, no time to relax.
Although I try and create opportunities to rest with a mindful activity it very rarely ever is the case where children lay down and rest.
Here are a few ways to keep children quiet on the mat for a few moments at the end of play.
Settle them on the mat put some relaxing music on, turn the lights down, offer cuddly toys or blankets. As they lay down quietly (very rarely still):
– Go around and place a singing bowl on each belly and give it a bell. Allow the vibrations to be absorbed by their body before moving to the next person.
– Massage their feet. Using a neutral smell body cream (banana or mint is a good one). Go around and give the tops of their feet a rub, one child at a time, while they relax. Ensure that none of the children are allergic to any of the ingredients in the cream.
– Read them a story. Allow them to settle seated or laying down Only rule is to be quiet. Then read the kids a story. I really love Relax Kids stories – Pants of peace is a staple for any kids yoga teacher AND Nightlights- a compilation of bedtime stories with a meaningful theme.
- ALWAYS MAKE TIME TO PLAY
Often kids come in and all they want to do is run around. It is understandable; I often want to walk, run and jump around if I were stuck sitting down all day listening to others talking to (or at) me.
In these cases you just need to jump straight to the games section of your “class plan”.
Here is an energetic game you can play with your kiddos to bring focus into your practice. Balancing will help them concentrate and it can be done while you set up your class:
1-2-3 Tree: This game resembles grandma’s footsteps. This is an absolute favourite of mine and the kids’. One child stands on one end of the room, she is the leader. The other children are at the other end of the room. When the leader’s back is turned the others children are allowed to walk towards the leader. During that time the leader must count 1-2-3 tree. When leader turns to face the children, they must go into Tree Pose. When they lose their balance AND leader notices they must go back to the start. The game continues until a child reachers the leader and takes the lead.
- TEACHING YOGA TO CHILDREN IS CHALLENGING
The challenges of being a kids’ yoga teacher are not limited to the class.
Class management is very much related to keeping children engaged. While in the class you also HAVE TO BE THE LEADER, you have to be the craziest and loudest of the bunch, “it is a jungle out there”.
Beyond class management you also have to deal with rules each school sets for teacher conduct (eg. No-touch policy).
Budgets are another thing you have to work around, they are massively limited in schools and constantly cut back and parents rarely value yoga (unless they practice themselves) to pay for it themselves.
What keeps my business going is enthusiasm, love of yoga, love for the children and my innate desire to do good…
- LOVE IS IN THE HEART OF KIDS YOGA
In the heart of what kids do is love: seeking for love, acting on love OR lack of…
Although each and every child is different, each and every one wants to be loved and each and every one thrives on love.
Love must be in the heart of your practice at home, love and compassion for yourself, so you can also meet the children with loving kindness, accepting who they are without ANY labels or diagnosis. When you feel love and compassion for yourself you can serve the children you see as extensions of yourself, with patience, understanding and without expectations, just love.
Kids yoga classes may not seem like much, or much like yoga, but in the heart of it all is YOGA and yoga only… love, joy and making little people happy.
We all learn to read write, do numbers, etc, but we are not taught how to love and yoga is there for just that.