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Why You Should Teach Your Kids Yoga (And How To Do It)

Family | Lifestyle

Becoming a yoga teacher changed my practice for the better in so many ways. One change that wasn’t so great: I started to take everything yoga-related very seriously. I taught a class at the elementary school where I was working and I was frustrated by the students’ lack of focus. They didn’t want to hold the poses for very long and they couldn’t stay quiet. I introduced counting breaths in each pose, but even then, they managed to make distracting noises.

Since then, I’ve learned some strategies for teaching yoga to kids. Not only am I a better teacher, I get a weekly reminder that yoga is (and should be!) fun. At first, I was doubtful of these techniques—I was convinced that games, songs, etc. “aren’t yoga.” But when you see twenty preschoolers holding triangle, it’s clear that the benefits of modifying for little students are totally worth rethinking your definition of yoga.

Teaching a group class requires some planning and skill, but that doesn’t mean that sharing yoga with the kids in your life is impossible. If you’re a parent, a teacher, an aunt or uncle, friend or neighbor, you can easily introduce a little yoga to the children you know.

Tell A Story

Tell a story (for example, of a walk through the woods) and incorporate poses for the animals and plants you encounter. If you’re not a great storyteller, you can use picture books.

Sing Songs

You can use songs to help the kids stay in poses longer. Here’s a classic song that I modified for yoga:

If you’re happy and you know it, be a frog.

If you’re happy and you know it, be a frog.

If you’re happy and you know it, then your pose will surely show it.

If you’re happy and you know it, be a frog.

You can use this song for any and every pose. It gets kids excited to hear something they already know used in a new way.

Play Games

Most games can be modified to incorporate yoga. For example, I play music and when the music stops, call out a yoga pose. The kids recognize this as freeze dance, but they don’t complain because they’re having fun.

Guided Meditation And Rewards

During relaxation, help kids stay calm by talking them through a scene you know they will enjoy. It can be as simple as a trip to the park with their best friend. In group classes, I walk around during savasana and put a sticker on the hand of all students who are following my instructions for relaxation. This incentive inspires them to breathe and be still with their eyes closed.

The best part of all is seeing the kids after class. Their energy is excited but calm. If you have any tips for sharing yoga with kids, please share them in the comments.

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