Teaching Yoga to Kids
2011 has been so magical, so far. I’ve become more serious about my personal yoga practice, waking up at 4 am for Sadhana is now part of my life. I get to experience the joy of teaching yoga to children at my daughter’s school. My experience is renewed and deepened through teaching, and I feel grateful for the gift of sharing the yoga with the children.
Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem and body awareness in a setting that’s noncompetitive. Children thrive with yoga, and as we get deeper into our classes, I am seeing these benefits come to life. Yoga enhances their flexibility, strength, coordination, and body awareness while increasing their concentration and sense of calmness.
Our daily relaxation improves, as well as their confidence. Doing yoga, children exercise, play, connect more deeply with their inner self, and develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them. Yoga brings that marvelous inner light that all children have to the surface.
When yogis developed the asanas many thousands of years ago, they still lived close to the natural world and used animals and plants for inspiration—the sting of a scorpion, the grace of a swan, the grounded stature of a tree. When children imitate the movements and sounds of nature, they have a chance to get inside another being and imagine taking on its qualities. When they assume the pose of the lion (Simhasana) for example, they experience not only the power and behavior of the lion, but also their own sense of power. The physical movements introduce kids to yoga’s true meaning: union, expression, and honor for oneself and one’s part in the web of life.
I hope our shared yoga lays the foundation for a lifelong practice that will continue to deepen. The greatest challenge with children is to hold their attention long enough to teach them the benefits of yoga: stillness, balance, flexibility, focus, peace, grace, connection, health, and well-being. The children love playing the roles animals, trees, flowers, warriors. When they’re snakes (Bhujangasana), we imagine that they’re just a long spine with no arms and legs. In Tree Pose (Vrksasana), we imagine being a giant oak, with roots growing out of the bottoms of their feet. Could you stay in the same position for 100 years?
When they stretch like a dog, balance like a flamingo, breathe like a bunny, or stand strong and tall like a tree, they are making a connection between the macrocosm of their environment and the microcosm of their bodies. The importance of reverence for all life and the principle of interdependence becomes apparent. Children begin to understand that we are all made of the same “stuff.” We’re just in different forms.
Thank you to Mountain Sun Community School and the glorious children who are sharing this experience with me! I look forward to the many more to come!
For more information about yoga classes, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Mountain Sun Community School, check out their facebook page or go their website,