How to do Yoga with Kids, That Is Different Than Yoga for Adults

The Beauty of Contrasts

Young Yoga Masters has been focusing on Teacher Training lately.  With each Module, new teachers express their gratitude for the opportunity to train with real kids present. Seeing kids do yoga illuminates the difference between yoga with kids and yoga with adults.

For instance, here we are practicing a back rub technique in the adult part of the training, before the kids arrive.

Adults line up nicely and wait for their turn.

Now here’s what the same exercise looks like with the kids present:

Children offer a back rub to the adults.

Kids hover over the activity, they do not quietly wait for their turn. They’ve got to see what’s happening! Especially the little ones.

Expect Enthusiasm with Kids Yoga, Encourage it with Adults

When adults do yoga they may ask a question now or then. Rarely do adults jump up to ask a question or make a comment with this kind of enthusiasm:

Kids carry their zest for life into yoga class.

Mind you, I’ve had many adults shoot me the “stink eye” when I give a hard yoga pose. Kids will shoot you the stink eye if they don’t like a pose, but they will also protest with words too. You’ve got to be ready for it by giving kids a challenge to keep going. Like saying, “Can you do 20 seconds of that pose? Let’s time it.”

But the biggest difference is the reward you feel when a child exudes joy during your yoga class.

When a child is having a good time, you usually know it!

Yoga Alliance Requires Teacher Training be with Real Children

Yoga with real children, like the kids in these Training Camp pictures, has to be experienced not talked about.  Experience goes right to the heart.

If you are considering a Teacher Training I highly recommend one with time observing an experienced teacher teaching real children. It should also have time for practice teaching with real children with your mentor present. Yoga Alliance requires 18/95 hours be Practicum hours observing and teaching with real children present.

Here are a few of the things new teachers have discovered through this process:

  • You march, stretch, play and unwind with kids yoga.  You don’t expect to stay in one place.
  • Teachers don’t get upset when kids squeal with delight, they expect it, and sometimes encourage it.
  • And when kids protest when a game ends too early, teachers rejoice. The protests mean kids will want to come back for more. If you end a game too late, kids lose interest in the game and in yoga class too. You learn to not be afraid of a protest.

Salute the Kids When You Salute the Sun

One of the biggest realizations for new teachers is to let kids be kids. Honour kids, don’t try to make them mini adults.  Here is something to learn from kids:

"I am Authentic" - the affirmation chosen by one student.

I think teaching yoga to kids helps adults be more authentic.  When you do yoga with kids, let them be kids, let them be authentic.  You may be surprised how a good dose of authenticity from kids enhances your own curiosity, enthusiasm, and joy.

What would you call the biggest difference between teaching yoga to adults and children?

I invite you to share your experience in the comments.

Announcing: Upcoming Teacher Training Specials

Become a Certified Children’s Yoga Teacher

Yoga Alliance, the major regulating body of yoga, has set the standard of 95 Hours of Training in Children’s Yoga.  Young Yoga Masters is a Registered Children’s Yoga School with Yoga Alliance.  You can take the full 95 hour Certificate with us or try a part of the training by taking one of the weekend Certificate that make up the full training.

Not only will you get to experience yoga with children, you’ll leave with the confidence to teach your own yoga classes for children.

Check out our upcoming schedule here. 

Register now and see the difference in your life when you include yoga and kids.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

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