By Faye Martins
To become a yoga instructor is one thing, but to teach yoga to children is another. No matter what kind of yoga teacher training course you take, there is nothing like teaching kids. If you are able to channel the motivation of your group toward a constructive purpose, you have accomplished a wonder. There is no doubt that children bring joy and youthfulness into the lives of parents, families, teachers and caregivers. Kids have a way of looking at the world with their eyes wide open, stopping to gaze and wonder at the things adults often take for granted. Along with wide-eyed wonder, they also bring an unbound energy that is often hard for adults to match. Children’s yoga classes can teach children healthy methods and techniques for releasing pent-up energy, for focusing or energizing the body or for calming down at the end of the day.
Warrior III pose can also be referred to as “Superman Pose.” Teachers and kids can have lots of fun “soaring” through the sky as they work on balance and strength. The focus required for superman pose helps kids hone their concentration skills as well.
Camel pose opens up the chest and invigorates the mind and body by activating the adrenal glands. What child wouldn’t want to pretend they are a camel, especially if we encourage them to huff and “spit.”
Child’s pose is aptly named, for it allows all of us to have that cozy, “back-in-the-womb” feel. Child’s pose will help children become calm and focused and perhaps even a little sleepy.
Eagle pose is the kind of twisty, complicated balancing pose that children are often in awe of and can’t wait to try for their selves. It forces kids to concentrate while calming their thoughts.
Breathing and Meditation
Teach children to take full belly breaths by asking them to lie on their backs and place a small stuffed animal on their bellies. As they inhale, they should concentrate on filling the abdomen with air, causing the stuffed animal to rise. As they exhale, the animal should slowly descend. Ask children to focus on the breath, trying to get their animal to go up and down smoothly as if riding a wave of breath.
Shavasana (Corpse pose) for children can be referred to as the “Do Nothing Doll.” Ask children to lie on their backs with arms at their sides, palms up. Help the kids visualize a rag doll that has no control over any parts of its body. Ask them to release the muscles from the tips of the toes to the top of the head. Ask them to lie there and “do nothing” while their body powers down at the end of an active day.
Side Notes for Yoga Teachers
Nobody ever tells Yoga instructors to enjoy the class. Very few yoga instructor certification courses are written up to tell you to have fun while you teach. Well now you heard it! Let children be themselves, have fun, and help channel their energy toward a positive goal. Let children know what the goals and objectives are for each class. Do you know what will happen? The best parents will beg you to join in and you’ll be the best yoga teacher around. Once in a while, you might find a parent who sees your classes as a babysitting service or you might find the stick in the mud type who thinks your yoga class is too much fun. There is no yoga instructor training course that can prepare you for every situation. However, you can prepare a handout that outlines what your yoga classes are like and the life skills children will develop in your classes. If parents don’t like it, wave bye-bye because it’s their loss. Childhood should be a wonderful learning experience and that’s what kids yoga teachers provide.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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