Question from Reader:
Thank you for a very inspiring webpage and your newsletters.
I teach Kundalini Yoga in Denmark (Northern Denmark) and in 2009 I took a teacher training in Children’s Yoga. I feel very privileged and honoured to be able to share the teachings with the children in Denmark and until now I have taught the 5 – 10 year olds.
Yesterday I received a call from a school asking me if I would like to teach their Football-classes yoga. They have 70 pupils, where 50 are boys and 20 girls from the ages between 13 – 15 years.
What a great challenge, I thought… I trust that I can teach them, however, I thought of you and if you could give me some good advice in relation to teaching boys at this age?
A class would contain 12 children and run over 7 weeks.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Love from Denmark
Pernille Angad Kaur
Internationalt Certificeret Kundaliniyogainstruktør
– KUNDALINI YOGA FOR BØRN & VOKSNE –
Answer: Yoga for Teenage Boys
Sat Nam Pernille Angad Kaur,
From Denmark to Canada, its an amazing world! I’m glad you like the Young Yoga Masters blog.
You asked: “if you could give me some good advice in relation to teaching boys at this age (13 – 15)?”
This age is much like an adult class, I find teens are like very sensitive adults. They are probably concerned about how they will look in front of their friends, who’s wearing what kind of clothes, what is popular. Here are some ideas you could try:
- Yoga Role Models: find examples of those who are their role models who do yoga, dropping these names will help to get them interested (I’m not sure who’s popular in Denmark – if they follow US culture then many basketball teams and movie stars and singers do yoga like Lady Ga Ga, Russell Brand). It’s amazing what a Google search can turn up for any sport, like this article about a professional footballer who uses yoga.
- Introduction to the Benefits of Yoga: Tell the kids what they need to know to get excited about yoga. Give a little intro at the beginning of your class about those who do yoga and why they do it. How yoga helps people stay healthy, strong, flexible for sports, but also focused and relaxed so they can play well.
- Choose a Challenging Set with Strength but Not Too Much Flexibility Expected: If you are doing a Kundalini Yoga set (i do a lot of KY sets with my older kids), choose a challenging set. If they are on the football team, they will probably be strong but not very flexible. They probably do a lot of running and may be tight in the legs.Make sure you choose a set that lets them do a little stretching but also makes them feel good about their strength. If there’s too much flexibility they may feel defeated at the beginning. Maybe a set with plank pose (font or back) or one of the sets with a punching movement in it or the Sun Salutation.
- Give them a good, long relaxation – teens need a lot more sleep than adults (some say as much sleep as a baby, but don’t tell them that or you might insult them : ) But they may keep coming back to yoga for the relaxation time. It may be the best rest they have all week.
- Build the Mental Muscle: I’d also connect the dots on how much of sports is a mental game. Getting your nerves under control or seeing yourself as a winner (i.e. Tiger Woods is a good example of the mental game affecting a player). So talk about how yoga helps with the mental game, visioning the outcome, getting rid of thoughts you don’t like. I’d also introduce simple meditation. Nothing too religious if you think the school will protest.
- Use Uplifting Music: Kundalini Yoga uses music a lot, I sometimes pick uplifting pop songs to play in the background for teens – music that they like. If you don’t know any songs then you could ask them for some suggestions and bring them for later in the series. If they listen to American music, I like the Katie Perry song Fireworks.
I hope these ideas help. I’d love to hear how it goes or if you have any other questions, let me know.
Also, I’d love to come to Denmark to do my Kids Yoga Teacher Training, if you are interested let me know.
P.S. Young Yoga Masters readers: feel free to add comments with suggestions. Especially if you’ve found any new uplifting songs or if you’ve ever taught a European Football (Soccer) team of teenage boys or something similar. Any ideas for themes for the class series for teen boys on a sports team?
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