As a yoga teacher, I have always believed that yoga is beneficial for everyone including children. This is why I have started introducing yoga to my toddler. Though he doesn’t quite understand it, he absolutely enjoys the time spent with mama on the mat.
Get your children interested in the idea of yoga by starting them young! Teaching yoga to children is very different from teaching them to adults. Here are my favorite tips to help kids learn yoga that are simple yet effective!
Slowly introduce the idea to the kids by practicing yoga around them. Be it in their playroom whilst they play or in the living room where they sit, show them what mama is doing. Let them be curious. I frequently practiced yoga alongside my son who was busy playing. He found my yoga practice funny and would often be giggling while I was in Downward Dog. As he grew older, he would follow as I did “Dog” and then “Cat” and “Cow”. He also particularly loved “Tree”.
When teaching kids, be sure to take into account their age and their level of comprehension. At two, my son was interested in animals, so I would go through some animal yoga poses. An older child who is interested in songs may be intrigued by yoga chants and mantra. Mantras are extremely beneficial to children as they help them develop concentration!
Begin With Breath
Breathing is also a good place to start when teaching kids yoga as it is a simple concept but has powerful benefits. Teaching children to breathe consciously will help equip them with a life-long tool that will help them manage stress and anxiety.
There are many breathing exercises in yoga that you can start teaching your kids. Among the most popular is the Bhramari – the bumblebee breath. The bumblebee is a wonderful practice to calm the mind. To teach bumblebee, get your children to sit comfortable and breath in through the nose. Then get them to close their ears and hum out their exhalation.
When teaching children, always remember that they are not mini-adults. This means that they may not respond to adult instructions or teachings. Make yoga a fun practice for your kids by being interactive. Tell stories of the poses you are trying to teach, create a fun game around your yoga sequence and keep your sessions short.
Engage your child’s imagination as best you can to allow them to explore their creativity. If they have a different version of the downward dog than you do, remember that it’s okay. The best thing about teaching children is that they help us see our practice from a different perspective and perhaps open our heart to adopting their boundless energy into our practice too.
Make It Regular
An older child will benefit from a regular yoga practice, and while you may not be able to teach them quite regularly, you can enroll them in kids yoga classes at the local gym or studio.
A kids yoga class is great way for your child to join other children in a yoga practice and have fun socializing as well. If you’re up for it, take them on a family yoga retreat too so that you can spend a complete week (or more) immersed in yoga practice together with the added benefit of having a teacher guide you through.
Get A Better Understanding On Yoga for Kids
Always remember that your personal practice is not the same as your child’s practice. If you’re a yoga teacher, remember that how you teach the adults is never going to be the same as how you teach children. If you intend to make a home kids yoga practice a permanent thing in your household, be sure to read up on specific techniques to teach kids. There are many websites on the Internet that offer kids yoga tips. My favorites include Cosmic Kids and Kids Yoga Stories. Both sites offer plenty of tips and materials that will help you make yoga fun for your children!
Alternatively, you might also want to consider taking up a license for yourself so that you learn about teaching children in a more in depth way. Enroll yourself in a kids yoga teacher training whether locally or abroad.
Deepen your understanding of yoga to help you teach children better! Learn from the best at a yoga teacher training course!