Where can I teach kids yoga?
Ideas for teaching children after certification. By Gopala Amir Yaffa
Reading time: 5 minutes
Yoga for children has countless benefits. It Improves strength and flexibility, increases self-confidence and builds a positive self-image. By sharing the practice with children we can help to create a generation which is more peaceful and more kind, and make the world a better place, one child at a time. So where can you teach kids yoga? Here are some ideas:
It is super fun to teach yoga to toddlers — like yoga playtime! Sing and laugh a lot and don’t take anything too seriously. With lots of animal poses and some simple games, a 30-45 minute class is enough; when you see they are losing focus, start winding things down. Slow it all down with some guided imagery so they leave class peaceful and calm.
Schools are some of the best places to teach yoga. It is a great service to the children and also a much-needed one. Crafting meaningful classes, often to complement what they are learning at school, we can share life lessons and wisdom. Do it without long lectures, but through sharing circles, inspiring poems, asana and social interaction, encouraging this more stationary generation to move, play and stretch through yoga poses.
You can offer kids yoga to different age groups or even family yoga for parents and children to attend together. Yoga can be a great social activity, a healthy and positive way to spend quality time together.
At a dedicated yoga centre you can focus on the more peaceful elements of the practice, letting the space help you create the right atmosphere and induce a calming effect on the children.
What parent doesn’t want their child to stay fit? The issue is finding the time to do it. Kids yoga comes to the rescue! At the gym, you can take care of the kids, teaching yoga in a fun and engaging way, while the parents get to do their workout. At the gym you can keep it a bit more upbeat with a focus on staying mobile and strengthening.
Children who are experiencing illness or are recovering from surgery, and even children who are facing a frightening and uncertain future can benefit on all levels from yoga. On the physical side, yoga helps children to stay more mobile; on the emotional level, it is uplifting and mood enhancing. There is some research that shows it can even help with pain relief. You may need to adjust the practice to be done on a chair or in bed. If moving through yoga poses is too difficult, you can still practice yogic breathing, relaxation
techniques and mindfulness.
Summer camps and day camps are always in search of fun activities to keep the children busy with — yoga is perfect for this. It’s also a great way for the camp’s organisers to market their offerings to parents. Focus on making yoga social with lots of yoga games, breathing games and mindfulness games, to help the kids experience community while playing and stretching in pairs and groups.
Libraries and bookstores
Yoga story time! Each week, pick a different book and enjoy story time with the children. Choose books that have lots of animals and objects in them, and do yoga poses each time they come up in the story. Finish with relaxation, breathing or guided imagery, ideally related somehow to the story you have read.
Churches and religious institutions
While avoiding any religious connotations, including any Indian cultural elements in all other settings, when teaching at a religious institution you can use relevant elements from the appropriate tradition. When teaching at a church or a Catholic School, for example, you can guide the class around themes such as Noah’s Ark, Garden of Eden, the creation story, Christmas or Easter. People always understand you best when you speak in their language. They feel comfortable with what is familiar to them.
Toy stores and children's hair salons
This is a fantastic way for you and the store owner to do some cross marketing! They get to promote an event that will bring customers to their shop, and you get exposure to new audiences that may be interested in continuing to practice kids yoga with you.
Hotels and retreats
Families on holiday tend to have more time for yoga, and offering kids and family yoga classes can be a profitable venture. You can either offer the classes on a regular basis, daily or weekly, or you can leave your ‘yoga menu’ at the hotel or resort and be on-call for
private sessions. If you live in the right place, you can even offer a mindfulness meditation walk at sunrise on the beach or in nature, and a sunset yoga session to help wind down the kids from an active day. If the resort has a kids club, you can also try and be a part of that.
Today, there is often competition between parents on who can run the most amazing birthday party for their children. Meet or talk over the phone with the parents or the birthday boy/girl to discover what things they like, then try to build the theme of your
class around that. And, of course, celebrate the birthday boy/girl at every opportunity throughout the class!
The idea here is that parents can drop off their kids with you for a yoga pyjama party while they go out on a date. So cool! All the kids can come in their PJs, you do some sleepy time yoga with them, maybe have a vegan pizza, watch a movie with popcorn… younger
children can fall asleep, or you can tell stories or narrate a guided imagery while they lie down and close their eyes. When the parents come and pick them up they are either asleep or very calm and all ready for bed!
Here, you tailor a class for the unique needs of the child. They may need to work on fitness or weight loss, enhance their skills for concentration and learning, or process an emotional trauma.
Gopala Amir Yaffa is co-founder & wizard at Rainbow Kids Yoga Teacher Training (rainbowyogatraining.com)
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