A Teacher is Like a Forklift
One of my favorite pieces of spiritual advice came from Yogi Bhajan who said, “Be the forklift.” A forklift is a machine found at many warehouses and construction sites used to stack things. The forks go under the skid and then lift it up to stack it.
That is what a good teacher does, they go to where the student is at, and only then can they elevate them. But if the connection is not made, to meet the student where they are at, then a teacher cannot elevate anyone.
This is especially true with kids yoga.
The Challenge of Teaching Kids – Solved by the Forklift
Some yoga for children ends up going over the head of the children because the teacher did not meet the children where they are at.
On the other hand some kids yoga does a great job of meeting children where they are at, but they stay there playing games all the time, they never go the next step of lifting up.
It is a gift to be a teacher who uses their happiness, knowledge, and power to uplift others. There is no greater honour in life than to help others feel better, to help others feel happier, and to help others recognize the power within themselves. That is why a great teacher is like a forklift.
How to Be the Forklift? Incorporate it Into Your Lesson Plans
I’ve already written about the importance of using teaching moments in Yoga for children. Its not always easy to know how to incorporate them, or even what they are. That is the specialty of the Young Yoga Masters teacher training, especially the Six Week Curriculum included, which could also be called Six Forklift Classes. Here is another example of a kids yoga lesson plan with real fun and real yoga that elevates.
Use the Forklift to Be the Forklift
When Yogi Bhajan said to “Be the Forklift” he was not only talking about teachers he was talking about everyone. Being the forklift, elevating others, and being of service is one of the keys to happiness.
Construction Site Yoga
Try having a Forklift Yoga class theme with your kids. Use books like A Year at a Construction Site(G.K-3), Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, or any other books that have pictures of forklift type machines. Or print pictures from the internet for this yoga class.
Do yoga poses for all the machines, especially the things that “lift up.”
- Examples are forklifts, diggers, elevators, hoists, ladders, concrete trucks that roll, and so on.
- Examples of yoga poses: leg lifts, arm lifts, squats, twists, knee lifts (like climbing a ladder), downward dog with leg lifts, bundle rolls or …. add your ideas in the comments.
Then take the class a step further by explaining the quote and then ask the kids:
- what does “Be the Forklift” mean to you?
- who is a forklift in your life?
- have you ever been a forklift for someone else?
- can you think of three ways to be the forklift?
Every time your children are faced with the opportunity to tear someone down or lift someone up, this forklift message will help them with their choice.
Three Words for Classroom Management
If there are problems in the class with kids criticizing each other, quickly redirect with three words: “be the forklift.” You will reinforce the idea, even if you have to re-tell what “be the forklift” means. Better still, invite the children to explain it.
Soon you will all understand a powerful phrase that now has special meaning in your class.
You will also uplift your students too.
Kids Yoga Teacher Training
I invite you to discover more ways to be the forklift at the Young Yoga Masters Kids Yoga Teacher Training Weekend.
Make a difference in the life of a child.