Teaching adult yoga is not easy. What about teaching little kids? Teaching kids yoga is very rewarding, though it does come with its own challenges.
Children easily get distracted, they need fun and have usually better ideas than you. There are few rules you should stick to if you want to be successful kids yoga teacher.
1: You need to like having fun and have playful personality.
Yes, if you are too serious and too focused on your way of doing yoga, then probably you might struggle with the chaos that children create. YOGA HAS TO BE FUN!
On a bad day, when everything in your life do not work, you might be a terrible kids yoga teacher. No smile, no energy, means no fun. In that respect kids yoga is not as challenging as teens yoga. For older kids, fun is not enough…the class also has to be COOL! And “cool” is anything that you can take from the class to show off to your friends.
Remember – yoga can be anything! Give children the freedom to co-create your class. Give yourself the freedom to re-invent yoga, re-name poses and invent new ones…the only rule is that it has to feel good.
2. Do yoga TOGETHER.
It is always more fun to sit in a circle, do massage in a circle and copy each other. Give children sense of being a small community. Bring people together through partner and group poses, games, massage etc.
3. Set up rules and be consistent.
If you are a parent then you know what I mean by that. No rules – no space for learning and no respect. This means we need mutual respect. If you respect the kids they will respect you, if you listen to them they will listen to you, if you let them lead they will let you be the leader too. Keep rules simple and stick to them.
4. Start from where the children are now!
If you start i.e. from running around as all kids do, there is no limit to what you can achieve with the children. But if you insist to start from where you have planned to, or from where you have thought they are supposed to be, then you might fail. The class cannot be too easy, to boring or too challenging. Watch and listen first, then adjust to kids abilities.
5. The magic of touch.
We live in strange times when you have to be very careful when and how you use touch. But when you look carefully at children you will realise that touch is the first form of communication. We receive attention and love through touch more than through any other sense. Touch also connects people faster than any other thing. Touch also helps at solving all discipline issues. Gentle guidance with use of touch is more powerful that words. Try and see for yourself!
6. Be quick and flexible.
It is said that to be a yoga teacher you need to be flexible. But to become a good kids yoga teacher, your body does not have to be as much flexible. It would be not enough. To teach kids your mind has to be prepared to become a magic suitcase with constantly new ideas. Many things might go wrong. Kids can be tired, moody or extremely energetic. Your yoga class plan might end up in a bin and the only thing you new mantra: “try next thing, next one and next one”. You need to quickly adjust to the situation.
7. Finally – be yourself.
Children do not like fake people. Children feel when you are pretending to be somebody else. Be honest and say the truth. Then the children will respect you and be truthful in return.