When I asked Tom, a 15 year old student, what he liked best about his yoga class, he replied very deliberately, “The discipline of the class is what makes it.”
One of the things lacking in society are high standards and guidelines of discipline.Over the last 20 years, I have seen kids and teens’ attitudes change and behaviour issues increase. Now every teacher of kids yoga needs to know the tools and skills to be able to deal with this and one of the best places to learn discipline is a yoga class (simply because it is a ‘discipline.’) One of our key roles as children’s yoga teachers is to instil a practice, a way of being that guides minds to quieten and develop good habits.
We often collapse two very different things: developing the trait of being disciplined and disciplining poor behaviour. In yoga classes, by fostering the first, we will alleviate the second.
I have seen it, schools have experienced it, teachers have witnessed it and parents have thanked me for it. It’s the development of this mental strength that allows for integrity and the foundation for living a calm, balanced, successful and happy life.
Having said this, in order to run a successful children’s yoga class, at the beginning, there needs to be clear boundaries of what goes and what doesn’t. Children and especially teens thrive in an environment that holds them to the best that they can be, that focuses on who they truly are and creates a tight container for them to be able to experience stillness within. This is only possible, if there are clear defined rules and boundaries.
Many classes for kids and teens erupt into noise and chaos when the teacher doesn’t apply solid and sound classroom management discipline or doesn’t have the skills to handle behavioural issues. Unless you gains the skills to be able to manage children and teens, there will be no ‘yoga,’ no quiet, no possibility of the benefits that yoga provides. This is the area I get the most questions.
Do you have the skills and knowledge to have your teen boys quiet in seconds? Can you manage all possible scenarios that could arise and disrupt your classes with ease and efficiently? How many of you would like smooth flowing classes without any classroom issues? Well, you can!
The good news is that these are all skills that can be learned and you are already here taking the first step. At the Zenergy courses you learn a structure for how to set up your class so that learning will take place and the focus is yoga. You leave confident how to handle the various situations that could arise in any children or teen’s yoga class. In the Zenergy Advanced course, we take this further for those of you who are going into schools, day care centres and teaching larger classes than eight. The Advanced Classroom Management template is what works for these environments. Graduates who were previously worried about teaching teens or five year olds, now feel confident that they have a template to follow, that they have practiced and that works. I love hearing stories from graduates after they have taught their first class, almost in disbelief that they could manage the class saying, ‘It Worked’!
This works for 4 year olds, 14 year olds, teens in detention centres, special needs classes, mixed classes, and it works whether you are teaching 30 children or 133!
The teacher at the local special needs school announced with amazement, “There are never any behaviour issues in the yoga class.” I watch kids who tend to act up or disrupt during school lessons, join the yoga classes and lie peacefully for 20 minutes in relaxation without saying a word, I have teens thank me for creating a space where there is silence and focus, I love seeing the timid and shy kids join in the classes after sitting back and watching for a while because it is a safe, controlled environment.
Classroom discipline will make the difference between a fun, uplifting, heart-warming class and a chaotic, nightmare experience. For anyone who has taught a children’s yoga class without proper training, you will know what I mean.
The key is to educate yourself, so you can be the best children’s yoga teacher you can be, to know how to set up your class and handle any behavioural situation that comes your way. Because ultimately, it’s the children and teens you are there for, to give them the same benefits you have gained from your practice and you are the one to guide that.
To learn all these skills and more, join us at the next Foundation & Advanced courses.