–George Bernard Shaw
A Kids Yoga class is very different from a yoga class for adults. In Kids yoga, children have a non-competitive and fun way to practice yoga and mindfulness through the use of songs, games and stories.
I started to teach kids yoga at a local school about 8 years ago. I felt the need to introduce yoga to children after experiencing the great benefits of my own practice - and yoga is something I would definitely have benefitted from when I was young.
Yoga's benefits are seen in children quite directly, more so than in adults. It is always so rewarding when the children immediately mention what they feel after an exercise!
In my Kids Yoga classes, I make use of different themes that fit in with a child’s perception of the world. A lot of asanas (yoga postures) are inspired by nature and animals. When children imitate the movements and sounds of animals and nature, they have a chance to imagine themselves as another living thing and imagine taking on its qualities. When they practice lion’s pose (Simhasana) for example, they can experience not only the power and behaviour of a lion, but they can also experience this strength in themselves.
The physical movements in Kids Yoga introduce children to yoga's true meaning: union, expression, and honour for oneself and one's part in the delicate web of life.
When they stretch like a dog, balance like a flamingo, breathe like a bee, or stand strong and tall like a tree, the importance of respecting all of life and the principle of interdependence becomes apparent.
As well as using themes based on nature and animals, I also theme classes around virtues with the older children. For example:
Caring for others and the environment
They already hold these morals inside of themselves, they just need a little encouragement to realize and appreciate them.
These themes also connect to the Yamas & Niyamas which are explained in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Through working with these ethical guidelines, children can learn about yoga philosophy in a fun way.
Kids yoga is not only beneficial and healthy for children of all ages, but most importantly, it is a lot of fun!
Marije teaches weekly Kids Yoga classes at Delight - see our schedule to join the fun!