The 3 principles of teaching yoga in the classroom
Kids yoga is a big part of my business and will always be. I love teaching little children ways to do yoga and have fun and be happy. I also love sharing this knowledge with school teachers in Yoga in the classroom seminars. There is an element of magic in every yoga practice and that magic can be taken in the classroom.
The classroom is often a better place to practice yoga. In many (if not all) schools the gym halls and assembly rooms are often associated with higher energy activities; yoga that takes place there, for a given time, may not always bring the desired effect.
Principle 1 – FUN
Yoga in the classroom is still yoga of course and although it is good for the children it needs to be digestible to children. So, just like veggies hidden in sauce, through play we can make yoga digestible to children. Therefore the 1st principle of teaching kids yoga in the classroom is having fun.
FUN should be the main focus, while making yoga digestible to children through games, singing, dancing, stories, etc.
While in the classroom kids learn to read, write and do numbers and they are expected to “behave”. How to be happy and how to navigate through life is not the priority in the classroom though.
The modern educational systems are so concerned about meeting “educational” targets that fun is forgotten. Yoga in the Classroom can be a very effective tool in injecting some fun into the students’ day. Through yoga games, poses, flows you can watch your students thrive.
Principle 2 – TOGETHER
The very first thing I learned in my Rainbow Kids Yoga trainings is that “Yoga is more fun together”. From the way a yoga class is set up to the way yoga is done yoga is more fun we we do it together. This can be applied in the classroom also.
“Yoga is more fun… together!!”Rainbow Kids Yoga
- Work in a circle: When working in a circle no one is hiding behind another, no one is the leader, no one is first or last. We are doing yoga together when we are in a circle.
- Allow Co-creation: Another thing that I learned from my Rainbow Yoga training. Allowing for the kids to have their say, to have an input means that they also take ownership of the class, they wait for their turn, they are engaged.
- Do yoga together: From partner poses to group poses and games “make” your yogis work with each other. Games should be inclusive – no one loses and opportunities should be created where your students work with someone new whenever possible.
Doing yoga together is fantastic for bringing groups together at the beginning of the academic year or when the class has not quite “gelled” together yet. Yoga together can create a community which encourages kids to be engaged making class management easier.
Principle 3 – FLEXIBILITY
Have a class plan and then “throw it away”. You are not responsible for the kids experience in your classes, but you are responsible for acting from a place of love for those children. Go with the flow, no agenda, no plan.
From the moment you allow co-creation in your classes, having a plan and “sticking to it” may be impossible, for good reason.
Never insist on anything either; this will only lead to resistance from the children. Yoga should always be a choice, even in the classroom. You are simply inviting your yogis to the practice, not telling them.
Meet your yogis at the same “energy” level as them, inviting them throughout the practice to a place of calm as you go. The children are likely to be seated all day long and “burning” off some energy with movement in your classes, is often a good idea.
Be flexible in your approach, be kind and have fun.
By following these 3 principles in your class, whether doing yoga, or not, you are likely to discover more engagement, easier class management and fewer disputes. So give them a try and massively improve your students learning experience daily.