Pondering, Yoga for non-yoga people, Yoga off the mat

Kids need yoga, but not like you think

This past week, I had the opportunity to teach a fourth-grade Girl Scouts troop about yoga. I received training in teaching children, but it’s not exactly my area. A lot of what I came across in researching “kid’s yoga” was for little kids, not pre-teens. Some websites recommended simple games with little to no asanas. Some books had lists of poses renamed into playful but rather silly names. I was beginning to doubt whether I’d done the right thing by agreeing to teach tweens, even as a one-time gig. I kept hearing my YTT teacher’s voice, “teach what you know.”

I know yoga, and I know tweens. I have a nine year-old daughter myself. It’s a tender period of adolescence. It finally dawned on me that kids need the concepts of yoga as much of not more than the physical activity. Honoring our bodies, honoring differences, breathing and visualization techniques to calm ourselves when stressed, “down time” when we are unplugged and not “working,” be it schoolwork or chores… sharing this with all people (all ages) is why I wanted to teach yoga in the first place!

So I let go of “planning” a sequence for the class and brought my yoga toolkit with me. I had three IKEA bags full of mats (mine and borrowed), blocks, and blankets. I brought my 3D printed moonlamp, as I knew the sun would be setting during the class. And I brought my knowledge of yoga, the yamas and niyamas, the sutras, and my general practice in my head.

When we arrived at our reserved room at the library, Dove helped me arrange the mats and blocks in a circle. As the rest of the girls arrived, I made it a point to connect with each of them. I let their energy and spirits lead me. I answered the question, “Is this a yoga pose?” with “It might be!” at least seven times. I also dispelled the rumor that the moon lamp was a “fortune-telling ball.” Nope. Just a lamp!

We had fun with a few partner poses. I led them through asanas with breath, like cat and cow. We did puppy pose with our tails in the air, then stretched and grew into downward facing dogs. I led them through a short guided meditation (“like a story”) in savasana. They LOVED it. The first thing out of one girl’s mouth after “Namaste” was “Can we do this again?” That particular student used her own money to buy two yoga mats the following day, so she could “teach her mom yoga.”

My goal = achieved.

Now my yoga teacher friends are asking, “Did you like teaching that age group?” YES. I did! “Will you be doing it again?” Yes. I’m not sure who, when, or where, but yes. If you have any leads, let me know!


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