Yoga changes lives! It’s an inroad into self discovery – helping us discover new pathways in our bodies and find moments of stillness and calm. It also makes us stronger, more flexible and ultimately, more embodied.
For kids, yoga can transform their lives for the better too. With the right instruction, the practice creates opportunities for them to explore their bodies and breath in a safe, non-threatening environment, and equips them with emotional intelligence, strength and flexibility to assist their personal growth in becoming confident, resilient and compassionate adults.
Beth Borowsky has taught yoga for kids for over thirteen years. She says just some of the benefits include:
1. Body awareness
Yoga develops a connection between the body and the mind in a calm and relaxing environment. Yoga improves children’s strength and flexibility but also highlights the importance of strong muscles and bones, and how sitting up straight allows their internal organs to work effectively. With so much hunching over handheld devices, to collapsed in front of the TV, these are important lessons to prevent long term spinal defects.
2. Experience the magic of their breath
A simple technique Beth teaches in a class is the ‘magic breathing ball’. The children follow the movement of the sphere in tandem with the movement of their breath. The exercise encourages them to control their breathing, filling their lungs and taking deeper breaths. Children can use this whenever they are feeling sad or angry, by visualising a sphere and sitting quietly to breathe magic into their body so that they feel calmer.
3. Yoga sparks creativity
Kids yoga classes combine traditional yoga poses with breathing exercises, stories, music, visualisation, meditation and mindfulness to create a unique experience that makes children feel good both inside and out. This sparks imagination and creativity, while keeping them interested and focused.
4. Builds confidence in a non-competitive environment
There is no such thing as ‘I can’t’ in a yoga class for kids! Children are encouraged to be curious and try everything. The best thing about yoga is that it’s not competitive – a rare feature in children’s lives these days. In an environment that nurtures acceptance and kindness, children are able to build their confidence and self esteem and learn to honour their strengths and their weaknesses.
So, how do you teach yoga to the children in your life? Yoga designed for kids is completely different to adult classes. It’s important to learn the techniques but Beth says the key ingredient is YOU and finding the skills and confidence to create and hold space for unexpected mood swings, chaotic moments, noise and perhaps the odd tantrum!
Interested? Next month in the Surry Hills studio, Beth is set to host a special yoga teacher training intensive that will teach anyone interested in teaching the practice to kids. This fun and practical course will combine stories, music and games with traditional yoga methods, so you can create a unique movement experience for children aged three to eight years – with older ages covered too.
Not just for yoga teachers, this training is ideal for yoga students, childcare workers, teachers, therapists, parents, babysitters, siblings – everyone who wants to share the gift of yoga with children.
What will be covered?
- Kids yoga – what is it?
- Understanding the ages and stages of development
- Planning fun and creative yoga classes for children
- Imagination, visualisation, meditation and mindfulness
- Ideas for keeping children engaged, interested and focused
- Stories, music and games
- Observing a kids yoga class
- Sharing resources and lesson plans
- Opportunities for teaching kids
This course includes 12 hours of teacher training which can also be accrued towards BodyMindLife’s 350/500 hour training, recognised by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Australia.