About a year ago, I wrote a post about how yoga can benefit kids (Yoga for Kids). I have since taken formal trainings in kids yoga and have gained a greater appreciation for the impact that yoga and meditation can have on kids.
Through my Next Generation Yoga teacher training, I have learned that yoga can have so many more benefits for children, including:
- Assist in body development and flexibility
- Improve concentration, body awareness, and balance
- Improve self-image
- Increase levels of self-esteem and confidence
- Learn tools for coping with stress and frustration
- Learn different modes of expression and creativity
This training really taught me to teach from my heart. When teaching yoga, or anything really, be true to your own heart and what you are passionate about. Kids will see that passion.
Also know that kids won’t enjoy everything. Yoga may not be for them, like many other things.
Let’s be honest, kids can often drive us bonkers. They are little bundles of high energy which, when combined with lack of sleep, can lead to exhaustion and frustration.
Yoga is a great tool not only to help kids use that energy but also to help instill a sense of calm and focus. Many kids have trouble focusing or sitting still, which can lead to other issues later on. Yoga can teach children tools and techniques to help them focus and sit still not only at home but at school and in many other situations.
Here are just a few of the benefits yoga can have for children (and adults):
- Yoga promotes non-competition.
- Yoga promotes self-acceptance and awareness.
- Yoga promotes empathy.
- Yoga teaches techniques to focus and stay calm in difficult situations.
- Yoga supports and promotes positive mental health and coping strategies.
So now that you’re convinced yoga is good for children, how do you teach them yoga? You don’t have to go through an entire 200 hour yoga teacher training. Though a short day or weekend training is recommended, here are some quick tips to teach basic yoga to children.
- Keep the practice FUN!
- Be high energy to promote high energy.
- Do the poses with the kids.
- If the kids are old enough, allow them to provide input on what poses they like.
- Build your class for your kids at their level.
- Keep the class fast paced.
- Use games, be playful. Yoga doesn’t have to be serious.
- Help the kids by adjusting them or assisting them.
- Use positive reinforcement.
- Use props/toys. (Meddy Teddy)
One of the key things to remember is that kids will be kids. They will get distracted, they will want to stop. Just go with the flow and see how the practice progresses over time! After a few weeks/months, you may see a difference!