This question came to the Teaching Kids Yoga blog from a yoga teacher in Singapore who is new to teaching kids yoga . In this post I answer her question with advice for a “newbie to teaching kids yoga.” In the next post you’ll hear Ling’s account of her first yoga class.
Thanks to Ling for her honesty and courage in her desire to be a powerful teacher of yoga for kids.
Just thought of asking you whether you had a kids yoga teaching certification when you first started teaching yoga to kids at your friend’s kid’s school? Do you have any advice for a newbie who is teaching kids yoga?
Answer – Advice for a Newbie:
This is a great question. The short answer to the question is that I began as a certified yoga teacher but had no certification in children’s yoga. This was around 1998 – so the truth is there weren’t very many kids yoga training courses available.
Get a Lot of Training if You Have Access to It
So when I started teaching, I just started figuring it out for myself. I read all the books I could find and also took as many workshops as I could find whenever I could.
One of the pioneers in kids yoga that I had the privilege of learning from was Shakta Kaur Khalsa. Her book “Fly Like a Butterfly” is a classic I would recommend it for any teacher. I still use The Yoga Mountain Story from this book. Shakta Kaur and I are both trained in Kundalini Yoga so we have that connection. She gave workshops at the 3HO Solstice Celebrations every year and I always took them. Eventually, I helped bring Shakta to my city, Toronto, for a training and it was a very helpful training.
Toronto is a pretty big city so there were often shorter workshops being held by other teachers who were venturing out into the Kids Yoga world.
If you aren’t sure what to do, take live training if possible. Otherwise look on-line for blogs and teaching resources. A couple of my favorite kids yoga blogs are:
Chris Biffle’s You Tube Videos of Whole Brain Teaching. (Watch this video for one of the techniques I use in my kid’s Yoga classes – I’ll tell you more about that later or this post will get too long!)
Getting the Skills to Manage a Classroom
I thought my experience babysitting kids would help me, but I found it wasn’t enough.
For me, the hardest part about teaching kids yoga was the classroom management, caring for three kids was not the same as teaching twenty kids.
To get skilled, I worked part-time in a daycare and observed how my favorite teachers interacted with children. The tone in their voice that made things sound interesting. I saw how they drew the kids into their topic and it was an invaluable training.
I also like to read articles, books, and research studies about yoga, health, and child development. Here are some of the books I own. For me it is a passion I love to learn about. I also still get books, music, and DVD’s on kids yoga for new ideas and techniques. I consider them the tools of my trade.
Get Inspired by the World We Live In
When I met my meditation teacher, Tulshi Sen, I began to learn about how to create the life I want using meditation as a foundation. This really excited me, and the thought of being able to teach children about this was equally exciting.
Kids are bombarded with so much negativity. They are worried about what their friends and parents think, they are afraid they will destroy the planet, fail in school, or catch swine flu …. it’s overwhelming!
I want to inspire kids to see the other side as well. The possibilities, the imagination, and the inventiveness that is our world.
If we focus on what we can do and not get sucked into all the doom and gloom we have a chance to be truly happy. It is through creativity and innovation that problems get solved, but if kids are scared, they can’t be creative. This was the inspiration for my Kids Yoga Teacher Training based on the concepts of yoga and meditation and also found in the teachings of Tulshi Sen.
Become a Great Teacher
My advice for a newbie is to start by taking as many courses, trainings, and read as many books as you can. Find experienced teachers of any subject, teachers whose style you like and respect and study their technique.
But at some point you must begin to think of what kind of teacher you want to be. Vision yourself as a Great Teacher! Don’t be average or you will have an average class. Imagine being a teacher that truly touches lives. Hold this vision dearly and you will find you are what you imagine. When you add your own style, using what excites you as a foundation, your authenticity will be contagious to others. Kids’ will love to learn from you.
Thanks for writing Ling.
P.S. Next post – Ling’s writes back about her first kids yoga class!