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Teaching Yoga to Children
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September 24, 2010 - 3:11 pm
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Teaching Kids Yoga
By Julie Ann Martin

Wouldn't the world be an awesome place if everyone did yoga? Ok, maybe "awesome" is a bit strong, but couldn't we hope for more compassion? Understanding? Even if everyone were more aware of their breath, less road rage would surely ensue.

Seems like an impossible task to accomplish. But like any major shift in society's perception, it has to start from the ground up. In other words, teach our children.

Teaching kids yoga from an early age empowers not only the individuals but also the community. Learning a sport is normal when growing up, but achievement and performance are the usual emphasis. Giving kids an activity that focuses on self-awareness and well-being will filter into other areas of their lives.

When adult yoga practitioners experience this they often wonder, "What if I had been doing this since I was little?"

So where to start? Getting your own children to join in your home practice is a great way, but the impact on a community is greatly increased by access to Kids Yoga classes.

As the world opens its arms to yoga, Kids Yoga classes are sought after more and more. Some schools are starting to implement programs for weekly Kids Yoga sessions. This is great news. However, there is a lack of teachers trained to work with kids.

As adults what we do in a yoga class is very different to what children respond to. Maybe you already teach yoga to adults. Completely different kettle of fish. Lack of attention span and understanding of body mechanics make kids a tough audience.

This is where the small but important world of Kids Yoga Teacher Training comes in. These courses offer techniques to teach kids yoga poses with a playful and fun filled approach. Unfortunately there are not many programs to choose from. Some require that you buy a franchise just to participate in the training.

However there are good Kids Yoga Teacher Training courses out there. The good news is that they are usually short term (a few weeks or weekends) and are designed to compliment a previous teacher training.

As a career, teaching yoga to children is not only personally rewarding but can give your own practice a reminder of being in the moment, exploration and innocence. Kids already have this aspect of yoga in the bag.

After the initial romance with our own practice wears off, a need to accomplish or judge can creep in. Needlessly looking for results.

Watching children in any activity we can honor their curiosity and simplicity with which they approach things. The ability to laugh at themselves when they fall over or think a yoga pose is silly. In other words they don't take themselves so seriously.

We can learn as much from them as they can from us.

If teaching Kids Yoga appeals to you, perhaps as an addition to your current yoga teaching, to implement into a school program, or maybe as something completely new, look for a Kids Yoga Teacher Training that emphasizes the communication and interaction with a young audience.

Make sure it requires some previous experience teaching - either yoga or another activity to children.

Although it may be a challenge to find a Kids Yoga Teacher Training, once you have completed a course you can start a rewarding journey, helping future generations find the compassion we all need.

Julie Martin is Director of Brahmani Yoga in Goa, India and runs yoga teacher training programmes, workshops and classes at Brahmani as well as around the world. She is known for her inspiring approach to the world of yoga and is passionate about making it accessible to all.

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