5 Tips for Teaching Yoga to Kids

Monday, February 17


I now have 12 six year old girls in my Tuesday afternoon Yoga group. They are the sweetest bunch of little ladies, and although at times a little chaos reigns, I really am so fortunate to be able to share Yoga with them!

I thought I would share a few things that I have learnt in the past few months, for any other aspirational kids yoga teachers out there!

1.  Everything you are using in the class needs to be identical.  Ideally you need all the mats to be the same colour, if you are handing out stickers they all need to be exactly the same, and if you are handing out Mandala's to be coloured in, they should all be in the same pattern.

2. Ask if anyone needs to go to the toilet before the class starts.  Otherwise one announces halfway trough that she needs to go, and then half the class says they are absolutely bursting and need to go immediately too.

3.  I have had to instigate a no speaking rule, to reduce the general chatter and ongoing random statements:

"Lulu, do you know that Jessica is coming to my house later."
"Lulu did you know that once I fell over and didn't cry?"  
"Lulu you are from South Africa!"

In my class, you may only speak if you are holding the magic speaking ball.  You request this by placing both hands in the air, and waiting for the ball to be passed to you when I deem it an appropriate time to speak.  Unless of course it is an emergency.

Our ball is blue with soft tassels on, and the girls have named her Bluebell.  Bluebell has developed a wonderful personality courtesy of the girls who frequent embellish on her likes and dislikes!  In my class, if you make it to the end of the class, having only spoken accidentally once, and having not lifted up your mat edges once, you are awarded a second sticker. The first one is awarded in the relaxation.

4.  Bribery for keeping still in the deep relaxation is essential.
Although this is no longer as imperative as it was in our first few sessions, it still works a treat.  Once you are lying quietly and still, I come and place a little sticker (with the back still on) on your forehead.

Interestingly, the girls now ask me when the 'peaceful' part is going to start.  They really have come to love this part of the session. I just love watching even the most energetic little one, curl up in a ball, close her eyes and listen and relax as I talk them through a guided meditation. 

5. Praise Praise Praise.
I am constantly surprised at how these little ladies faces light up when I tell them how fabulous they are, which I always weave in at some point in the guided meditation. I also try to ignore bad behaviour where possible during the class, and praise good listening, alignment, balance and strength where ever I can.


I hoe that you found these helpful! Please let me know any tips that you have for teaching yoga to kids, or just working with groups of children in general?

I also teach two yoga groups a week for children with special needs and their carers, which are totally different to my Tuesday group...maybe I will write about these very special classes one day soon!
 
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