I started teaching yoga for kids this year and I thought it was going to be fairly easy since I already teach adults yoga. How much harder could it be right? Well, I was in for a shock, as it was a lot more challenging than I first thought. I had to let go of how I thought I was going to teach the kids and adapt my teaching methods to the needs of the kids.
The greatest challenge I have found when working with kids is maintaining their attention span for long enough to teach them yoga. This is where my yoga for kids cards have really helped in the teaching process, the cards are a great teaching tool to bring in the fun and game side to teaching yoga. When teaching yoga I get the children to play the role of animals, trees and warriors, sometimes it’s fun to bring in the noises of these characters too, this always brings out laughter, a chance for the kids to create, express themselves and grow which is vital for their health and wellbeing.
Benefits of yoga for kids
Yoga is wonderful for kids as they get to learn techniques to relax, it encourages body awareness at a young age which is great for the posture, improves flexibility and strength in their bodies. Their concentration increases and they learn to be more patient. I think its great for kids to be doing a non-competitive sport at an early age because it teaches the child to slow down, start to get to know themselves better and have compassion for themselves, others and the natural world around them.
I walk out of the classrooms most days thinking how much the kids have taught me rather than me teaching them. It’s a proud moment and a beautiful thing to watch the kids doing sun salutations with their eyes closed, yoga comes so much more natural to kids, they don’t over think the poses and so it’s like watching a dance of breath and the physical weaving together as one. It just flows and this is where I learn as a teacher how some poses should look naturally without all the cueing.
I think it’s important to create a supportive, loving and creative environment to learn in where kids feel safe. Yoga for kids helps to lay a foundation for a lifelong practice of yoga that will only to continue to deepen over time.
Teaching kids with music, games/role playing, breath, physical and spiritual aspects and combining them all together create’s a whole experience for the child. It helps them feel whole and complete as a person, this is what we are all striving for in our lives so starting yoga at an early age is very beneficial.
At the new wellness centre, we will be providing family aerial yoga for kids to come and try with their parents.
About the Author
Pierre Gagnon practised concentration and insight meditation intensively from 2010 to 2012, then went on to study meditation at Wat Suan Mokkh with the venerable Ajahn Po from 2013 to 2015. As well as his own practice, he has coordinated meditation retreats in the south of Thailand which were attended by more than 1,000 people.
Having a great passion in the field of neuroscience, he likes to integrate these concepts into meditation practice. He believes that much of our life is lived resisting and defending against internal and external experiences that people perceive as threats. Through the development of concentration and meditation, we can insightfully see that all experiences are harmless and there is no need to defend of contract around them. Pierre has experience coordinating concentration and insight meditation retreats, teaching the relationship that exists between Buddhism and neuroscience.