Stress can have various health consequences, and children rely on the environment set by society for their physical and mental development.
Yoga can act as a potential tool for helping kids deal with stress and regulate their emotions. In fact, research shows that yoga can help children cope with stress, improve mood, and build resilience, resulting in a positive life balance.
Yoga practice among children benefits their concentration, improves self-awareness, consciousness, behavioral and emotional maturity, and self-confidence in daily life. Some evidence suggests that yoga can even be used as an adjunct to medical treatment for various mental illnesses.
When it comes to teaching yoga to these young minds, you get to grow with them embracing your inner child. In fact, it’s essential to understand age-appropriate practice and go ahead with some creativity and positive communication.
Essential Ingredients For Kids Yoga Class
Having some essentials and kid-friendly resources can help you make your class fun-filled and interesting. These ingredients include:
- Appropriate yoga clothes and accessories
- Some videos and reference books
- Your lesson plan for the class
Other than these materials you need open-mindedness and lots of patience to meet the needs of children. Interactive and fun-filled classes can keep the kids engaged and focused throughout.
A Step-by-Step Guide For Conducting Kid’s Yoga Class
Here are simple steps to help you meet the needs of kids’ yoga classes.
Step 1: Set Your Intention
The tradition of yoga is a collection of practices and commitments that reflects in your daily life. Yoga practitioners are expected to start with a “readiness-to-change” mindset, which needs the right intention. Having great lesson plans will not get results if you haven’t set the right intention.
Ask yourself what you want to achieve through this class and set an intention for yourself as well as your class. When you have set a purpose, your class moves on the right path.
Step 2: Lesson Planning
Unlike adults, kids are not focused as much on the rules; hence you need to have a flexible lesson plan. Though yoga teaching is serious, it requires a playful and fun approach based on children’s needs. Keep an open space in your daily lesson plan to adapt to the day’s energy and be flexible.
Some essential aspects of yoga include:
- Breath control techniques or pranayama
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Asanas or adoption of specific bodily postures
- self-reflection or self-study
Yogic breathing as a part of your lesson plan can be used to improve concentration and focus among children. Studies say yoga breathing practice brings immediate changes in children with decreased visual reaction time (VRT) and auditory reaction time (ART).
With an increased rate of information processing and improved concentration, kids will be able to ignore external stimuli. Yogic breathing, when practiced for nine rounds, can help you keep the kids grounded in the class.
Remember, your yoga class may not go perfectly as you have planned; be ready to take that lead from kids and give them what they need through yoga.
Step 3: Engage & Connect to Create a Tempo
It’s a good idea to plan a specific theme or activity to capture a kid’s attention when you begin your class. Your focus activity can be a game or singing a song that builds connections and brings all the students together.
Make your warm-up session fun-filled then take the kids to the focused yoga practice of the day. A warm-up game can be an age-appropriate yoga story, yoga dance, or acro yoga. These can have a meaningful effect on their performance by enhancing psychological stability, preparation, and confidence for yoga practice.
Create a positive impact by ending your session with breathing practice or mindful meditation. Using Tibetan singing bowls can be a great option to bring complete relaxation and a sound mood. It brings an emotional balance and a sense of achievement to kids.
Try to create a positive impact on kids throughout the session. Let kids understand that yoga is not about achieving that perfect pose but to create an ideal mind that’s ready to face the world. Everyone is unique in their own way, and let them know that. Address each one of them and help them build their confidence.
Step 4: Be Compassionate
These growing young minds can not be treated as adults. Even learning yoga may not be their focus when they arrive for your class. Take a compassionate approach with each child and try bringing their attention to yoga in a respectful way.
You can explain to the kids the importance of yoga through a story or an activity by showing something like how flexible you can get.
Give them options and let them choose their intention for practice. Having an aim is a great way to keep them engaged and on track. During training give them personalized feedback to help them reach their goal. As yoga needs a consistent approach, encourage them to take this journey positively.
Be open to allowing some kids to do other activities if they don’t feel ready. Take a gentle approach and get them to practice with patience.
Step 5: Add Some Fun
When you’re trying to add yoga to their lifestyle, you’ll want to take a fun-filled approach. Kids love art, drama, music, dance, and games, and adding them to your session makes it fun. Joining the kids and playing with them also helps to set the tone.
Make the session interactive by asking questions and opinions. Explain the basic concept of each asana to make it meaningful to them.
For instance, some asanas improve posture; hence explain to kids how important it is to have a good posture, which can represent their confidence. Tell them how mindfulness helps them stay happy and content. These simple practices can create a significant impact on growing minds.
Step 6: Gear-Up With Your Listening Skills
Children‘s minds have no boundaries. They are filled with creativity, ideas, and plans. Be open to listening to their beliefs or suggestions to improve the session. Once in a while, you may even want to let the kids plan a session and guide them through it.
Yoga sessions for kids should be a positive experience. They don’t need to be aligned properly in a pose.
Instead, let them feel like a fighter in warrior pose, stand strong in a mountain pose, and fly during an airplane pose. Teach them the basic idea about asanas in a fun-filled yet straightforward way.
Step 7: Grow & Learn as a Yoga Teacher
We learn many things from children, like accepting imperfections and flaws, forgiving, and forgetting unimportant things, and living in the present moment. As a yoga teacher, you will learn patience and self-acceptance from children, which is essential in your yoga journey as well.
How Do You Explain Yoga To a Child?
Kids usually don’t know much about yoga. Y