One of the many things Chakra 5’s Yoga Team specializes in is working with kids. Anyone who has spent some time with young children, especially toddlers, knows that it can be challenging to get them to stop and focus on anything. It’s no easier for yoga teachers! That’s why the approach to Kids’ Yoga is specific and unique. To learn more, we talked to our resident Kids’ Yoga experts, Nina Snow and Keirin Brown.
Where have you taught kids yoga?
Nina: In schools for 8 years and at USC’s Fisher museum
Keirin: I’ve been teaching pre-school kids yoga for four years.
How does a kids’ yoga class work?
Nina: Depending on the age of the child it ranges from games to applying the practice and breath work to emotional challenges.
Keirin: I’ve developed my own program that is fun, direct and educational. It’s important to have rituals that are reliable that are done every class. Usually I start with an opening song, followed by breath, affirmations. The middle of class is a series of games, songs with choreographed yoga moves, animal poses, adventures, etc. At the end we finish with a small meditation, song and a savasana where they all get aromatherapy oils on their wrists.
What are some of the challenges with teaching kids yoga?
Nina: Children are living in a world that has constant distraction of screens and this can make their already challenged attention span even shorter.
Keirin: It’s necessary that the teachers participate or are there to help keep order. Classes for preschoolers are short, only 20 minutes. So it’s imperative for the teachers to be actively involved and helping students who are having a hard time focusing. With young ones you have to be extremely prepared with a lesson plan and keep it theatrical and entertaining.
What are the benefits you’ve seen in the kids or parents/teachers have told you about?
Nina: The younger children usually have fun with making up games and poses that can lead to a life long practice. The older ones learn deal with stress and feelings with breath become less reactive and to make healthy choices.
Keirin: The teachers all enjoy yoga and the kids are both enthusiastic and grateful. Parents have told me how their kids will use my technique of “loving their own hearts” in difficult moments. Parents share stories of kids doing yoga poses in before bed or even in the bathtub. The kids integrate the use of breath and affirmations into their daily lives. It helps them problem solve and be with their emotions. The teachers often remind the students to breathe when they get upset as well. Also they are learning to use their bodies through coordination and balance.
Do you think recognition for the need for kids yoga has been increasing?
Nina: Definitely! they need tools to help them focus.
Keirin: Yes. More and more teachers are looking integrate yoga techniques into their approach.