Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Kids yoga...diving right in!

A few months ago, my chiropractor asked me if I would come teach yoga to kids in his summer wellness camp, Camp Rhythmo. I had no experience in teaching kids yoga, but I was immediately on board- what a great opportunity!
I started doing my own research to try to figure out how to effectively teach yoga to kids.  I googled stuff, bought some flash cards, read some Yoga Journal articles and reached out to people in my yoga community through Shambhala to get some advice.  One thing lead to another and I was able to participate in one day of a teacher-training workshop through Asana Alphabet.  I credit this workshop with much of my success thus far...I went from being completely ignorant of where to start, to actually being these kids' yoga teacher... at least for a few weeks!

Fast forward to my first day at camp.  I'm not a teacher and haven't been around that many kids at once in years!  I was petrified!  I didn't have too much of a lesson plan worked out- more of just a list of ideas- because I really didn't know what to expect at all.  A friend told me the trick is to pretend I've been teaching kids yoga forever, so I did that.  They had no idea.

I was hoping to make it through about 35minutes of class, and to my delight, I made it all the way through to almost an hour without having a freak-out.
The first 40 minutes of class we learned asanas and breath and had a lot of fun with it.  I didn't worry about alignment or very much beyond just getting them interested.  I encouraged them to move around in the space and make noise, I kept it light and playful.   We made cat meowing sounds and mooed like cows.  We hissed as cobras and stood tall like mountains then grew into trees. They were rowdy but it didn't bother me, there was excitement in the room and I loved it!  I was overwhelmed with the adorableness that was surrounding me...those tiny little fingers and toes...their sweet little voices and laughter...a few of them wanted to be right next to me and hold my was too sweet! 
 Some of the kids were trying to impress me by showing me that they meditate- or at least they sit in a meditation pose complete with a hand mudra and OM.  sooo cute! I was impressed.

After introductions to asanas (poses) we spent some time being creative and made some collages/flash cards/art.  I brought in some pictures of poses from magazines plus some glue and crayons and construction paper and let them go to town.  I didn't give much instruction but was pleased when some of the kids asked how to spell certain poses, or wrote things like "yoga is fun" and "I love yoga".  I was hooked on their enthusiasm.

Overall, my first class (my very first experience teaching real live children in the art of yoga) went pretty well!  I felt good and nobody cried, so I considered it a success.  I had a short check in with Dr. Grant and Michael and we agreed that it was a good class, but might be more manageable for me if we split the kids into two groups and just do 2 smaller back to back classes. That way, the class size would be closer to about 10 kids, resulting in more personal attention and less distractions from other kids...good idea!
I left the school with a huge smile on my face and a lightness in my heart, already planning my next class. What a wonderful way to start a morning!

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