How do I keep the Teens motivated and empowered throughout class ? What do I say to have the tweens enthralled and excited ? How can I captivate the minis so they stay focussed the entire time ? These are important questions that all teachers ask themselves when starting to teach yoga to kids and teens. The answer is in understanding the different stages children go through, and teaching classes that are applicable, relatable and target the needs of each stage.
Welcome to the sixth 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 being the best children’s yoga teacher you can be.
Adapting your adult’s classes to suit each age group is a mistake many teachers make. Trying to mould your minis class to suit the tweens also won’t work.
Each age group is going through a particular developmental stage physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and psychologically. Each age group has things different interests and motivations. Find these out and you are well on your way to planning age-appropriate classes and targeting needs in each age group.
For example, little kids may be interested in trucks, dinosaurs, the latest Pixar movie, space, superheroes, pirates or imaginary places. For tweens, they are at the stage of learning new things, gathering information, expanding their knowledge and asking lots of questions. Teens are testing the theories out and are looking for information that will help them and solve the many problems they encounter.
One size does not fit all when it comes to teaching yoga to different age groups.
The structure of the class may stay the same, but the activities, exercises, asanas, breathing exercises, relaxations and partner activities will look very different. Your language, your level of engagement and most importantly HOW you teach will require different skills.
Learning new skills, new ways of interacting, and engaging techniques will be important if you want to teach yoga to all the different age groups. Taking the content and how you teach minis and transferring them into your tween class won’t work. The tweens will get bored, lose interest and they will feel talked down to. Similarly, a 15 year old shared that yoga at school was, “Really boring! We are forced to do it if we don’t get into grade sports.” This is a clear example of a teenage class being taught in the same way as an adult class. Teens are not adults and a yoga class must reflect this in terms of lesson structure, content and delivery if it is to have impact, meaning and success.
A lesson I share in the Foundation course is how to teach asana to the different ages groups. We can take the same asana, but how we teach it will vary, how long we hold the pose will be different, whether it is dynamic, moves, has an element of play, imagination, inspiration, education or connection will all depend on the age group we are focussing on. Managing little minds and keeping the class engaged during asana will also look very different.
Once you know how, you can teach yoga for kids as young as 3 that will strengthen backs, help digestive systems and build strong organ function and structure that is essential for growing little bodies. You will be able to teach strong classes for tweens that balance hormones, create mental stability and straighten spines. The teens will listen, fully participate and take away practices they can do at home to help them de-stress, build confidence, self-esteem and mental focus and clarity.
Graduates share their success stories with me every week of the impact yoga is having all over Australia, in every state, at home and in classrooms, in community centres, detention centres and hospitals, from 3 years old to 18 years old.
We all want to teach yoga classes that make a difference: where the children leave happy, calm and peaceful; where teens feel uplifted, calm and connected.
To learn all these skills and more, join us at the next Foundation & Advanced courses in 2018 where you will learn how to make a massive impact on every child’s life you meet.