How to Speak to Children in Yoga
When teaching children yoga one of the best tools you can use is to speak to the soul of the student. I found this out in a class of older children, around 9 – 12 years old, the senior group in the daycare. Many of them were just a few months from being able to be on their own at home.
It was a challenge to engage this age group in yoga. They were going through changes physically. The idea of “lifting up your chest” or “bending backwards” just wasn’t, well…cool. They found it embarrassing. They often giggled uncontrollably and had to consult each other, verbally or with glances on every new move.
Plus I had just started with this group, so we didn’t have a relationship built from when they were younger. It took a lot of thought to figure out how to engage them.
Our common interest at that moment was computers. I had just gotten a new laptop computer. We talked about what was happening in these times. Everything was available at the press of a button. The hard part was not going to be getting on a computer, the hard part would be getting off it!
Let them Make their Own Choices
I spoke to them directly and listened so I wouldn’t speak down to them. My goal was to give them guidelines and values but leave the decision making up to them. They will be the leaders of the future, so they must have the ability to make their own decisions and choices. When it comes to computers they could use the computers or the computers could use them.
When we discussed this in class we came up with the idea to use my new laptop to do a yoga video with it – they would use the computer to do things they could enjoy and we could share these tips with the world.
Let the Children Teach You Yoga: Our Video
The outcome was a short video with 10 kids teaching 10 parts of a yoga class. It is beautiful, simple, and inspiring. When there was a good reason, the kids chose to do yoga and then became leaders by teaching each other. We’re using it as a fundraiser for the daycare, so now the children will develop another set of skills.
Whenever I show it in my other classes everyone follows along. It is inspiring for children to learn from other children. Yoga is great way to build leadership skills especially when we truly see that children are the leaders of the future.
© K. Humphrys