In this day and age, children are exposed to a lot of stress—increasing homework and projects, video games, social network, peer pressure, and competitive activities. Yoga can help kids cope with daily pressure by enhancing self-awareness through non-competitive physical activity, breathing exercises, and meditation.
Yoga increases coordination and balance, improves strength and flexibility, and helps build concentration. Knowing the benefits of yoga, I was very eager to teach my kids basic yoga poses so that we can do yoga together. After a couple of attempts at teaching them the Sun Salutation and basic standing poses, I gave up. They were bored to death and I didn’t know how to keep their attention.
After attending kids' yoga training, here are some tips I learned on how to introduce yoga to your kids and keep them interested.
1. Make it fun!
Yoga should make kids happy. And what better way to make kids happy than to have FUN! Be creative, play games, tell stories, sing, and use as many props as you can. Go on a yoga journey around the world; to the zoo, under the sea, to the jungle. Kids' yoga is not just about yoga. When children do Warrior III, they are airplanes going to Africa.
In kids' yoga, children are not only learning about yoga, they can also learn geography, the animal kingdom, the alphabet, dance, science, arts and crafts, and yes, even math! It’s all about integrating these elements into your classes. Combine your own passion and create new poses. You can even rename yoga poses. Whether you call it a Child’s Pose or "The Rock," the important thing is that it feels good and the kids are having FUN!
2. Be organized.
You have to plan for your class. You can create any class structure that would fit you and your kids. To start with, here’s a general structure that can help you organize your class.
- Something to bring everyone together (warm up)
- Yoga poses (kids love animal poses)
- Quiet Time (e.g. breathing and meditation activities)
The secret to organizing your class is to make sure that all activities are fun. You can search the internet for great ideas of games and activities for kids of different ages and incorporate these into your class.
3. Never stick to your plan.
Having said that, it is important to have a plan; inevitably something comes up that will disrupt everything. For example, in one of our classes with a “Going to the Beach” theme, my daughter wanted to be a frog! You need to flow with the energy of the kids and go with what they want. So, going with my daughter’s idea, we became frogs jumping up and down along the beach.
It is important to think in a story-like manner to connect all activities and keep the class flowing. You can’t stop for a second; use your imagination and keep the class going, going, and going. It helps, though, to keep along the general theme of the class plan you have prepared.
4. Have fun!
Finally, it is important that you have fun! It's not enough that you just give instructions, because kids' yoga is not a traditional class where the teacher stands in front and gives lectures. In kids' yoga, everyone is equal. Do the activities together. Play, sing, and dance with them!
When you are having fun, you bring in a vibrant and happy energy that provides a positive impact to your kids. That way, they, too, can have fun and will grow to love yoga the same way you do!
by Jane Chiong - Jane is a working mom, yoga junkie, adventurous traveler and an avid blogger. She recently finished her 3-day Rainbow Kids Yoga Teacher Training and dreams of enrolling in yoga teacher training (if her boss will allow her to take almost a month off work). Find out more about Jane at YoginiTales and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.
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