What happens when you are used to teaching one age group, then get a class with a whole new demographic?

I got a letter about this from Jeri Cresson, a Graduate of our 95 Hour Training. In it, she shares what happened when she taught her first group of boys.

Dear Young Yoga Masters,

Over the past few years, since my training at Young Yoga Masters, I have been working exclusively with the preschool age group. I’ve used your methods, frog yoga cards, themes, and games to develop an effective and engaging program at our Dojo.

We’ve created structure and focus to the practice of our littlest ones, helping them become quiet and still. They learned to alternate, at will, between wild playful abandon to quiet stillness, cooperation, focus, and attention. They began recognizing cues for when each was most appropriate.

It is sacred, glorious PLAY!

Learning to Teach Kids Yoga to a New Age Demographic

the cover of the inclusive yoga module of the kids yoga teacher training shows a superhero male yogi on a rocketship doing the cobra ygoa pose

The Inclusive Yoga manual cover.

However, I found myself with the opportunity to use my training with a new group of boys, in the 7-9 age group. I was afraid that I might not be able to transition from the younger age group to this one. I didn’t need to worry, as it turned out.

I cracked open the Inclusive Yoga manual and tried the Yoga Man vs. The Stressor activities. The Universal truths contained within them just flowed naturally – and suddenly, the sun salutation that started as rote memorization turned into a meaningful sequence.

The “why” dawned on me, as I was (with trepidation and anxiety) pouring over the what and how.

It was triggered when I reviewed how to introduce the breath – breathing in the Big Me, breathing out the Little Me. And I mentally added to help me realize: Breathing out the little ol’ me.

Deepening My Understanding of the Breath

I realized these 4 parts of breath:

  1. Observing Stillness, in intentional solitude and contemplation, is a normal, still, but a conscious breath,
  2. The Breathing in of Prana -the secret power of everything – that which is infinite and Universal,
  3. The breathing out of the little me – is what I can personally choose to do to take action with the energy and power that I have been given,
  4. and finally, a silent contemplative suspension of breath, feeling, experiencing gratitude, and taking inventory during rest before beginning the entire cycle over again.
a kids yoga teacher uses her whole body to demonstrate yoga breathing, with her fingers beside her nose to give kids a visual cue to breathe through the nose

Breathe in the Big Me, Breathe out the Little Me: Use your fingers beside your nose to help the visual learners remember to breathe through the nose.

From an Ordinary Person to a Hero!

“I realized that Yoga Man was once, just an ordinary person, just like me. But he learned how to harness the power of breath…”

I realized that Yoga Man was once, just an ordinary person, just like me. But he learned how to harness the power of breath, intention, focus, action, rest and reflection to outwit and outmaneuver The Stressor at every turn!

Each day he trained with this secret weapon so his powers grew. He became so strong he could leap over obstacles, dodge danger, and even rescue others – almost effortlessly.

In class we reviewed the yoga sequence, practiced with breath, and used the Yoga Man stories about the secret powers he can use when confronted with problems and challenges. Then we played a game of throwing stars.

Taking an Intentional Breath for Focus

a yoga superhero doing yoga cobra pose to help boys like yoga using images they enjoy

Yoga Man – the Yoga Super Hero doing cobra pose

Without any cues or prompting I noticed students stopping to take aim, taking an intentional breath, and then exhaling automatically with the exertion of their throw. When they did this, they were more accurate and more powerful.

Then they realized how much the breath helped.

It was magical. They were genuinely filled with glee, realizing that they, like Yoga Man, could harness the secret weapon of Breath.

Class ended with an age-appropriate, short savasana, then they joked around, touselling each other, as boys will do, each talking excitedly about how they were going to try out some “Breath Power” on something or another.

And their moms, clad in their own yoga clothing smiled, knowingly, checking that one task, “Get my boy to settle down and breathe” off the list.

Best,

Jeri Creson

Program Director – The Dojo Covington
Covington, LA, USA

New Orleans Kids Yoga Teacher Graduating Class of 2017

Jerri (2nd from right) graduated from the 95 Hour Training in 2017

Try the Sun Salutation for Boys

Yoga Man uses breath to stay calm when facing The Stressor.  I created The Yoga Man Training download  and added it to the Inclusive Yoga Module because too many boys, including my three nephews, thought yoga was something their mom’s do.

Getting boys involved took some thought to get boys to participate. I even got two of my nephews to be my models in this video. The other nephew did the original drawings that eventually got digitized in Yoga Man!

Yoga Man does the Sun Salutation.

We are at Kilbear Provincial Park, in Ontario, Canada.

 

Check your volume and press play to bring yoga to your children!

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