By Faye Martins
Yoga teacher training courses enhance an interns ability to connect with children on many levels. Teaching yoga to children is very rewarding, but there will be challenges in your classes.
Perhaps if adults had the energy, optimism and honesty of children, the world would be a different place. Looking at the world through the eyes of a child means taking things one moment at a time, stopping to appreciate seemingly insignificant moments and attractions, and releasing your emotions as you feel them. Essentially, children are living some of the most fundamental of yogic principles: mindfulness, gratitude and inner peace. It makes sense, then, to teach children yoga postures and breathing while they are young and eager to accept healthy, lifelong concepts.
Teaching children requires a special kind of teacher. We can’t expect kids to file into class quietly, choose a mat easily and flow through postures seamlessly. Kids’ yoga instructors are faced with the challenge of making kids’ classes engaging, interesting and fun. Fortunately, there are many techniques teachers can employ to provide an environment conducive to kids.
Children love stories of all kinds. They love hearing and telling stories, and they usually want to hear the same stories over and over again. Asanas can easily be incorporated into stories so the kids can experience the story with their bodies as well as their ears. Many kids’ instructors start by introducing several animal or nature poses, which can easily be incorporated into stories. Instructors might read a book, showing the illustrations first and then teach the kids the corresponding poses. Once the children know the poses, they can perform them while the teacher shares the book.
Kids love games because they are engaging, challenging and fun. Yoga instructors can play a variety of games with the students that focus on learning or reviewing the poses. Instructors might lead the kids in musical mats, where the kids dance around until the music stops and then have to find a mat and perform a designated pose. Instructors can place illustrated posture cards on every student’s mat and instruct them to perform the pose on the card and then switch mats upon a designated signal. The games do not have to be complex, they can be simple and silly.
The music we traditionally associate with yoga is quiet, calm and instrumental. While there is certainly a time for quieter, calming music at the end of class, the music for the bulk of a yoga class for kids can be upbeat, loud and energetic. Instructors can use music to let the kids explore how their bodies move, feel the beat and move with the music. Yoga can teach them to get their energy out in positive ways while also teaching the value of quieting the mind and body with cool down poses and meditation.
Side Notes for Yoga Teachers
Always look for materials (educational props) that enhance the learning experience in your classes. Flowers, leaves, pine cones, and sea shells are examples of inexpensive props, which can bring a story or idea to life.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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