I have one of the best jobs at The Alaska Club – I get paid to play games, be silly, and have fun with kids, while also teaching them life skills like, concentration, focus, balance, physical fitness, breathing techniques and stress relief. If you haven’t guessed it already, I am a Youth Yoga instructor for kids ages 6 – 12.
Yoga classes for kids are definitely not like yoga classes for adults (and I do teach both). While adult yoga classes tend to be more serious, inwardly focused, use Sanskrit names for poses and hold poses a long time, Youth Yoga is all about playing yoga games, moving to yoga songs, and doing fun yoga poses. The kids have such a good time; they will beg to come back every week for more.
What kids may not realize is that they are also learning how to breathe, deeply and fully (Pranayama). They are learning how to relax when we lie on our backs and be “Dead Men”. They can visit their “Secret Garden” whenever they are feeling stressed or anxious. They can use their fingers to meditate “Peace Begins With Me”. They can increase their flexibility in the yoga poses – which will help them in playing sports and everyday living (twisting, reaching, bending, etc.). They practice kindness and awareness of others through Namaste, which means the light in me, honors the light in you.
One of their favorite yoga games is “Froggy”. Yoga mats are the lily pads and the kids are “frogs” in the pond. We roll a large fitness ball and the kids try to hop away, but if they get touched – they go to a yoga mat and hold a yoga pose for 10 yoga breaths (one yoga, two yoga, etc.). Then they can rejoin the game. Or we play elimination, where they stay on their lily pad and help roll the ball until only one “frog” is left.
Remember, the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”? The yoga version is “Head, Shoulders, Yoga Pose, Yoga Pose.” The kids enjoy warming up to “Sergeant Salutations” and “Every Little Cell in My Body is Happy.” They also enjoy dancing to the “Yoga Hop” and the “Yoga Slide”. We don’t use the Sanskrit names for yoga poses. Instead we use animal names like Monkey, Cobra, Shark, and Flamingo. And who doesn’t like to do the Lion (breathe in and as you exhale, stick out your tongue, roll your eyes up and roar)? When we do the Boat, we sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and do the motions – a great workout for the abs!
Kids are excited to show what they can do in yoga poses. They are also very creative and like to invent their own yoga poses and games. We laugh, we play, and we learn yoga.
Why not bring your kids to Youth Yoga and see for yourself the benefits they will gain through increased concentration, focus, flexibility, and strength? And your kids will think you’re the best parent ever for letting them have so much fun! It’s our little secret….