Have you ever wondered what the start of an impactful children’s yoga class is?
The question most teachers have when they come to plan their first (or 100th) class for kids or teens, is “Where do I start?”
Welcome to the first tip in this blog series on how to get started as a children’s yoga teacher.
I hope you find it useful and valuable on your journey to impacting the lives of children and teens.
With so much information and the many ideas on the internet and in books on children’s yoga, you may be confused with how to put all of this together into a class format that makes sense, has a seamless flow and ultimately has the impact that we desire for our students.
The best place to start when thinking of what to teach the children is quite simply to answer the question, ‘How can I help them?’
If you know the children or teens in your class, this is an easy question to answer. Maybe they need to move and have a dynamic physical practice, or maybe they are suffering from back pain or back tightness and weakness, in which case, you plan a class with asanas to release lower back tension, then strengthen and lengthen the back, starting at the lower back.
Maybe your kids are dealing with stress and anxiety, in which case, your focus will be on teaching them techniques to self-calm their minds and emotions and include yoga therapy exercises for the kidney and bladder meridian lines that will calm the nervous system, remove any toxic physical stress on the body and at the same time, support and build their self-esteem and inner strength.
Perhaps you are going to be teaching a class in a school or ECH and you haven’t met the children yet. Ask the teacher what they would like the focus of the class to be. For little ones, the focus of the class my be how to build positive friendships and so include partner and group work and a talk about the importance of being a good friend. For teens, maybe the class is part of the well-being syllabus, so your focus will be on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of yoga and have them experience what that feels like in their body and mind: what does it feel like to feel relaxed, calm and peaceful after breathing exercises, a long relaxation or yoga Nidra and what does it feel like, after a class that strengthens the lower half of the body and opens the upper chest and heart.
After you have met the students for the first time, you can start to plan classes around what is happening in their bodies, minds and life and ways to help them. Do this by watching how they move in class or at the end of class ask them what they would like to focus on?
When you plan your classes around specific ways you can help children and teens through yoga, your classes will be impactful, meaningful and they will love it and look forward to it every week.