Beor Havea Role Model
My puppet Ollie is a popular fellow among our preschoolers. Hes just the kind of role model who gets childrens attention and keeps them captivated and learning their lessons. We all know that preschoolers especially will mimic behavior, and seeing you, a character, a puppet, or other friend do yoga is sure to entice them into trying this healthy hobby.
If you personally do not do yogaI cant imagine!or perhaps are unable to do so, reach out for other resources, people, or characters who can help.
The benefits of yoga are many for adults, and its no surprise that even children ages three to six can also see positive effects from the increased mindfulness and positive body movements. I hope these tips for teaching children yoga virtually help you both educate more children and help them develop wonderful habits that will serve them well throughout their lives!
But How Do You Explain Yoga To Children
This depends partly on how old they are, but here are some general tips or guidelines your explanations can revolve around.
1. In yoga, there is a pose for everything in the world, whether it is an animal, a tree, or an airplane, and we can do it with our body.
2. Thousands of years ago, the ancient yogis lived in the forest, the mountains, and the caves of India. They observed their environment, and saw how the animals and nature moved in perfect harmony. They imitated the movements of the animals, the trees, the mountains, and even the movements of the stars, and created a wonderful technique that is called yoga.
3. Yoga is a way to exercise our bodies, our breath, and our minds all at the same time. Yoga makes us feel great!
4. Yoga is a very ancient science that helps us to develop flexibility and strength in our bodies, and happiness and peace in our mind.
5. Yoga is a practice and philosophy that teaches that happiness is our natural state. When the body and the mind are out of balance, we do not feel this happiness.
With the help of yoga poses, breathing exercises, and focusing within, we bring back this harmony to our body and mind, and come back to this natural state of happiness.
Be Playful And Patient
As a teacher, you need to have a playful approach. Young kids will want to bond with their teacher, but they will not do that if they feel that you are a dictator demanding poses and stances that have no real logical value to them.
Experts say that children learn the most when playing. Of course, this leaves a lot of opportunities for kids to get distracted and go a little off course when learning and practicing. Be patient if kids lose track of what they are meant to be doing. Rather gently regain their attention or try to use their playfulness as a teaching opportunity.
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Where Can I Teach Kids Yoga
Yoga for children has countless benefits it Improves strength and flexibility, increases self-confidence and builds a positive self-image, increases emotional resilience, nourishes creativity, teaches self-acceptance and self-love, builds coordination and balance, expands self-awareness and awareness of others, develops self-discipline and self-control, builds concentration, increases awareness of breathing and deepens the breath, teaches how to relax and reduce stress and teaches how to find inner peace.
So where can you teach kids yoga?
Here are some of the best places where you can teach yoga for children:
Teaching Kids Yoga in Daycare Centers
It is super fun to teach yoga to toddlers! It is yoga playtime!
Sing and laugh a lot and dont take anything too seriously. With lots of animal poses and some simple games, a 30-45 minutes class is enough when you see that they are losing focus, start winding things down.
Teaching Kids Yoga in Kindergartens & Preschools
Using their wild imagination, take these children on a magical yoga journey with transportation poses , nature poses , animal poses of all kinds and even food poses and playground poses.
Slow it all down at the end with some guided imagery so that they leave the class all peaceful and calm for their teachers and parents to be impressed by.
Teaching Kids Yoga in Primary Schools & High Schools
Teaching Kids Yoga in Community Centers
Teaching Kids Yoga in Yoga Centers
Teaching Kids Yoga in Gyms
Make Space For Reluctant Yogis
Not every child in your class is going to be as enthusiastic about yoga as you would like them to be. If a child chooses not to participate, give them the option of sitting quietly and observing, joining when they feel comfortable. They may never join, or it may just take a few moments for them to switch gears and mentally join the class.
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Avoid Giving Physical Adjustments
Yoga asanas that adults can do easily will not look the same when children do them. Do not give them physical adjustments, as their bodies are still developing. Let them know they dont have to do the asanas perfectly.
Furthermore, let them adjust the asanas by themselves based on their comfort and skill level. Preschoolers will appreciate this as they are now more independent.
Playtime Yoga: Teaching Yoga To Toddlers
As a teacher of Toddler and Me Yoga, a class designed for children aged 12 to 36 months, Im often asked, How can you possibly expect to teach yoga for that age range?
The questions usually continue with, Arent they full of energy? Yes! Dont they have short attention spans? Yes! Isnt it chaotic? Not usually.
Children of this age are naturally curious and sponge-like. They want to play and learn. Its an important developmental time socially, physically and emotionally.
They are experiencing life through their eyes, ears, and sense of touch. They are learning and expressing through language. Toddler yoga provides an introduction to yoga with the freedom for the children to explore in a supervised setting along with their parent or caregiver.
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The Definitive Guide On How To Teach Preschoolers Yoga
I was about to lose my cool. My phone rang at 11 PM as I was about to turn off the lights and go to bed for my much-needed nightcap. My friend Lina was frantically calling me after her sons preschool teacher asked her if she can teach yoga for the preschool kids. I didnt understand why she was panicking because I love teaching kids yoga.
Its kids! I dont know how to teach them yoga! You know I also dont like kids much, she exclaimed.
For a yoga teacher, she wasnt calm. I know you all expect us to be calm and composed. But there are times when we arent, and its normal .
As a kids yoga teacher, Ive dealt with kids of all ages and many types of childrenfrom neurotypicals to children with autism and children with ADHD. If you are in the same situation as Lina, dont fret.
By the end of this post, Im going to make sure you will learn how to teach preschoolers yoga. Im also going to include breathing exercises, yoga games, and relaxation guides that are preschooler-friendly.
Skillful Sequencing Is Key
When yoga teachers create lesson plans specifically for children, they need to consider more than just appropriate poses taught in a sensible order. Opening with a seated centering may work well for adult practitioners, but kids often need a warm-up game to get their wiggles out first. And while grown-ups expect at least an hour-long asana sequence, 60 minutes of nonstop direction-following is a lot to ask of little yogis. To keep kids engaged, break up pose sequences with relevant games, stories, and songs. Yogi Says is a fun way for kids to review poses theyve learned and gives them each a chance to shine as the teacher. For story time, choose an engaging myth from the yoga tradition that you can tie into your class theme and asana instructions
Partner poses offer another great way to mix things up. Not only does working with a friend keep class interesting, it encourages cooperation and builds problem-solving skills. You dont have to get too fancya side-to-side tree pose or back-to-back easy seated pose is usually enough to keep things interesting. I recommend explaining and demonstrating partner poses prior to asking the kids to pair up this cuts down the chitchat and keeps the focus on the practice.
Learn To Teach How Children Learn
Yoga with children offers many possibilities to exchange wisdom, share good times, and lay the foundation for a lifelong practice that will continue to deepen. All thats needed is a little flexibility on the adults part because, as I quickly found out when I first started teaching the practice to preschoolers, yoga for children is quite different than yoga for adults.
Six years ago, I had my first experience teaching yoga to kids at a local Montessori school. I looked forward to the opportunity with confidenceafter all, Id been teaching yoga to adults for quite a while, had two young children of my own, and had taught creative writing for several years in various Los Angeles schools. But after two classes with a group of 3 to 6-year-olds, I had to seriously reevaluate my approach. I needed to learn to let go of my agenda and my expectations of what yoga is and is not.
When I began to honor the childrens innate intelligence and tune in to how they were instructing me to instruct them, we began to co-create our classes. We used the yoga asanas as a springboard for exploration of many other areasanimal adaptations and behavior, music and playing instruments, storytelling, drawingand our time together became a truly interdisciplinary approach to learning. Together we wove stories with our bodies and minds in a flow that could only happen in childs play.
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Loosely Follow The Structure Of A Traditional Yoga Sequence
By this I mean structure your class with a hill format in terms of energy use. Start slow, build up to a peak, then come back down to calmer levels.
I do this for my kinder, 1st, and 3rd-grade classes because they come to me before lunch. After lunch, the 4th graders are too tired and need more activity right at the beginning to get them going. And 2nd graders are super wound up after the long day of sitting so they also need to move right away.
Here is the exact yoga sequence I use with my kiddos called a Yoga Flow. Check out the teaching tips and flow images here!!
In general, this is how I structure a class:
How To Become A Childrens Yoga Teacher
You dont need to be a yoga teacher to take up Childrens Yoga Teacher Training. If you are a parent, school teacher, teachers assistant, occupational therapist or work with children in another field for minimum three years, you can sign up for our Childrens Yoga Teacher Training.
Our professional teacher training is comprised of four weekends and designed by an expert in the field, Melissa Curtis. Upon completion of training and passing the final exam trainees will feel confident to teach children ages 3 13 years, in age appropriate class types.
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Use Engaging Yet Simple Language
Its important to talk to them in an engaging and energetic voice. Change your tone up and down, and show them that you are excited to do yoga by using a storytelling voice.
An energetic tone grabs their attention and helps keep it.
Also, make sure to use simple phrases. Tell them you will do yoga poses together and pretend to be animals.
Let them know they should copy the moves that you do, and be safe, but thats about it. They dont really need to know WHY since they will hear it in your voice how much fun it is.
Create Games To Demonstrate Poses And Techniques
Yoga is about being able to seamlessly transition from one position to the next. It takes concentration and practice. Kids will not initially be keen to do something that they conceive to be difficult.
The best way to teach children about transitioning, holding poses, and getting the techniques right is to make a game out of it. A good way to do this is to choreograph a series of poses that kids can carry out that follows a particular storyline.
You will need to think up some fun and interesting stories that kids will enjoy. If the story and the poses are enjoyable and fun, you will find that the kids will want to show off the story and moves to others, and this means extra practice and more progress along the way.
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Use Visuals Like Yoga Pose Cards
I definitely couldnt teach yoga to kids without visual representations of the poses in the form of cards. Partly because it keeps kids engaged, partly because sometimes Im too tired to do all the poses with them for the whole day.
Also, kids are super excited to play with the yoga cards on their own and having them as a resource gives kiddos autonomy, which they need!
I also create my own visual posters of the expectations in my classroom, written in nice bold letters and with little pictures to show the rules.
I work at a school where 90% of my students are English Language Learners, so visuals are imperative. Its super helpful to refer back to in times of a bit more chaos.
I also have a digital set of 30 beautiful kids yoga cards in the Kids Yoga Flow. Check it out here:
Set Up A Few Yoga Pose Cards And Tell A Short Story Then Repeat
Another great lesson idea is to tape up 5 or 10 yoga pose cards to the wall or an easel. Tell as silly story with each pose, or in continuum.
You can move through them quickly or hold each pose as you count to three
Here is a post with some of my favorite kids yoga cards from Amazon:
I also have a set of digital Yoga Cards for the Perfect Yoga Flow that would work great for this as well, here.
I hope these tips and ideas helped you if you are a teacher of toddler yoga or a parent of a little one. Little ones are so much fun and definitely worth the trouble
Learn about how to teach yoga to kids of all ages in this comprehensive post on Yoga and child development:
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How To Handle Discipline
Teaching a class with disruptive kids is tough! The biggest challenge is often disciplining children with behavioral problems. Every situation is a little different, depending on where youre teaching the class. If you’re teaching in an actual preschool, it’s likely that the students’ regular teachers will stay in the room . Especially if you’re teaching a class of more than 10 children, its helpful to have a classroom teacher there as the disciplinarian . This allows you to teach the class without interruption while the teacher handles any children that are disruptive.
Every child and situation is different, and its a matter of seeing what works for them.
Tip #: Make Your Lesson Plan Age Appropriate
Now all of this advice Im slinging around here should also be taken with age appropriate achievement levels in mind. As we know, different ages have different developmental milestones that theyre working on, so not every asana or flow is great for every student.
I may have my two and three year old students working on balance with poses like Tree Pose, while my six to seven year old students are working on balance with Dancer or Half Moon. Keep safety in mind and keep an eye to the vocabulary of try so they learn to appreciate the process rather than the result.
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Teaching Yoga Poses To Toddlers And Little Kids Can Be A Real Challenge But Is Fun And Rewarding
Imagine doing animal poses and making animals noises and reading books and chasing 12 toddlers to get them to do yoga in a big classroom.
The biggest issue is usually a diaper blow out or getting bitten.
Ok, so maybe that doesnt thrill, you, but thats ok. You still might want some advice on teaching yoga to this age group!
Ive recently been asked for tips on how to teach yoga to 2 and 3 year olds, the littlest yogis who have lots of energy but not a lot of personal space boundaries.
Turns out, I happen to love teaching yoga to toddlers since I used to work at a preschool and daycare center. The toddler room was one of the first places that I started teaching yoga to kids.
Maybe its hearing them say new words as we read and play together, or the excitement when we learn that they know the word twist. I love it though!
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