This week at one of the daycares where I teach a new teacher got to experience kids’ yoga for the first time.
It was her first week as a teacher at the daycare and her first time seeing kids do yoga. Plus she does yoga herself. She was very excited and joined us in the circle with the kids (about 18 children aged 18 months to 4 years) for the yoga class.
It kind of surprised me when she exclaimed five minutes into the class “Isn’t yoga supposed to be quiet?”
Welcome to Kids’ Yoga!
One of the hardest things to get across in Teacher Training with adults is what kids are actually like in a class. No matter how much I encourage and cajole the teacher trainers to pretend they are kids, they are still quite mellow compared to a real kids class.
It can take a new teacher by surprise when they experience the actual noise level in a classroom.
You Mean the DVD’s are Not What Really Happens?
Every kid’s yoga video I’ve ever seen, including the one I made with a senior school age group has all the kids politely and peacefully following along, just smiling away with joy. Six or eight well chosen kids who love doing yoga demonstrate each pose.
In a daycare class of 18 kids it’s a whole different encounter. One day I want to bring a recorder into class so you can hear it for yourself. It’s nothing like what you see in videos – especially if it’s your first class.
The way I’ll describe it is Spirited Expression. Kids’ yoga appears as bedlam, a state of wild uproar and confusion, when compared to an adult yoga class!
It’s no wonder this new teacher asked the question, “Isn’t yoga supposed to be quiet?”
Do We Want Kids to Be Like Adults or Adults to be More Like Kids?
We know we sometimes want kids to be more like adults, to sit quietly, not to interrupt, not to ask lots of questions, and just do as they’re told! How else would we manage all these big souls in their little seats?
“You are the spark of the blaze
and the spark has all the power of the blaze to create the same blaze.
You are the drop of the Ocean
and all the Ocean is in the drop of the Ocean.”
Ancient Secrets of Success for Today’s World by Tulshi Sen, p. 122
We also know it’s impossible to extinguish that spark within, and would we want to be the ones to put it out anyway? The drive for expression of the soul still lives behind the eyes.
I’ll give you an example from the adult yoga classes I teach. When we do a hard pose (like stretch pose), those eyes emit laser glares and angry faces cry out in protest telling me how they feel.
If those adults actually said what they were thinking out loud, you’d have a kids’ yoga class.
What It’s Like To Start a Kids Yoga Class
If you want to get a feeling for a kids yoga class when you’re first starting up the class, here’s a suggestions:
Take a notepad to the next yoga class you take. As the teacher gives each pose jot down your first response, your feelings as you do the pose, and your opinion of the pose.
Now imagine a class of twenty people with at least five people saying these thoughts out loud almost all of the time.
Now that’s what a kids yoga class sounds like!
The truth is a kids yoga class is much like an adult yoga class, only for the adults the bedlam is going on inside rather than outside. What do you think helps overcome these feelings faster – expressing them out loud or keeping them bottled inside?
Is yoga supposed to be quiet? Is the Ocean always supposed to be calm?
P.S. It does get better as we become skilled at how to manage the outbursts and direct the kids energy and enthusiasm. Come out and get the tools you’ll need at my next Kids Yoga Teacher Training in Toronto . Details are here. Registration is open – reserve you spot now and find out how teach a kids class effectively.