I have worked with kids off and on for the last six years through reading tutoring and coaching gymnastics and cheerleading. Kids have a way of making you look at things a little differently. Seeing the world through their eyes is refreshing. They are also usually pretty blunt, which I appreciate. I was lucky enough to be asked to lead the kids at my hometown’s preschool and daycare through yoga a couple of weeks ago.
What Our Classes Looked Like:
- We started with a little dance party to Lion King’s, “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” allowing them to get some of their energy and excitement out. Also, sometimes kids just need to know it’s okay to move freely and express themselves.
- Next, we brought the energy down by laying on our backs. We put bean bags on our tummies and watched them move with our breath.
- Once our breath calmed us down, we moved through some seated and standing yoga poses. We did silly poses like meowing and mooing in our cat/cows and we worked on our balance.
- We ended with some quiet time and stillness in savasana. Even though it was a warm, sunny day, the kids did a great job with this!
- After the class they each got to take a sniff of some “smelly stuff” (doTERRA essential oils) before they continued on with the rest of their day.
What I Took Away From This Experience:
I really miss working with kids. Although they can be exhausting, it is amazing to just sit back and watch them. They honestly did so much better than I expected. I went into the day expecting it to be a giant circus. They listened really well for the most part and seemed to have fun with everything we did. I also have a better understanding for how to format a kids class now. I’d like to do more with kids in the future!
Benefits of Yoga for Kids:
- Learning to control their breath: I noticed a lot of kids had no idea how to deep belly breathe. Simply saying “take deep breaths,” or “watch the bean bag move up and down as you breathe,” was not enough. I had to say things like, “breathe in as much air as you can,” or “breathe in and make your tummy get big like a balloon,” for them to only kind of understand. Deep breathing is such a great way to calm yourself (kids and adults alike). Knowing how and when to do this can help ease anxiety, lessen anger or frustration and is also great to do before any rest or quiet period like nap time.
- Learning how to move their tiny bodies: Adults tend to think of doing yoga poses to help with flexibility, an issue that kids don’t deal with as much. For kids (and adults), the poses in yoga benefit them by teaching them to control their bodies and make a mind/body connection.
- Practicing balance: I noticed balancing is very difficult for most of the kids. Their muscles and bodies in general are still growing and developing. Balance is needed in almost all physical activity (walking, running, jumping, etc.). Increased balance can help kids be more physically stable and help with motor skills. Not only is balance important for their physical lives, but it is also great for their minds as balancing requires focus.
I am so grateful for this experience and what it taught me. Every class, blog post, self practice and reflection continues to shape me and drive me forward.
If you are interested in having me lead you or a group of people, I am open to whatever your interests are! Yoga is for everybody! A little louder for those in the back: YOGA IS FOR EVERYBODY! In addition to leading classes at the preschool and daycare, I have lead middle and high school PE/weightlifting classes, high school sports teams, private sessions for beginners as well as advanced practitioners, a workshop for school staff and fun events such as a bachelorette party and yoga at the brewery. I would love to connect and hear your ideas! Any chance to share my love of yoga is exciting and fun for me.