Yoga has become the new buzz word of the wellness industry as millions have started rolling out their mats in studios across the world.If you have ever taken a yoga class yourself, you can easily understand it’s popularity, as a practice that has the potential to benefit not only physical health but also mental and emotional wellbeing.
No longer destined only for senior centre’s or Indian Ashrams, this ancient practice has found its way into popular Western Culture ,and shows no signs of slowing down.
This practice has been shown to have many physical and mental health benefits, improving overall flexibility and strength, enhancing health and reducing the symptoms of anxiety and stress. It helps the practitioner to live in a more mindful way and has also been shown to positively influence sleeping patterns.
With the growth and increase in popularity of yoga over the past few years, the interest in becoming a yoga teacher as a profession or vocation has also been on the rise-,seeing many students flock to yoga schools all over the world to train as teachers in this ancient practice.
Although this is certainly a great thing for many people out there in the world who will benefit from all these amazing new teachers, it can make it more difficult to grow your own career and following as a new yoga teacher on this path. You may have found yourself getting lost in a sea of yoga teachers out there, and it may be difficult to find your niche or a way to make yourself and your teachings stand out.
With this growing interest in yoga and the benefits being scientifically researched and backed up, many adults and parents are also starting to notice the importance of yoga and mindfulness as a tool for the health and wellbeing of their kids, with a growing amount of schools starting to implement yoga and mindfulness programmes into their school days.
If you have a calling to make a real difference while teaching yoga, love being silly and having fun and looking for a specialised field to branch into, then teaching kids yoga might be the path for you.
There has never been a better time to begin this journey than now when interest is starting to grow and expand. Teaching kids yoga is a rich and rewarding experience in and of itself, with bright and eager students who are filled with joy and light, the opportunity to share your love of yoga in new and exciting ways and the privilege of being a positive role model of peace and calm to so many kids.
Being a yoga teacher for kids is a meaningful way to share your knowledge and passion for wellbeing with the future generation, impacting them in a very real sense and playing a part in sculpting and shaping the new generation. In this age of technology where life can seem so fast
paced and stressful, yoga is a perfect antidote. It teaches kids how to manage their emotions and their energy in an effective manner, to be more aware of their inner selves and their breath as a tool to bring them back to their centre.These are all valuable tools learnt through the practice of yoga and mindfulness, and it will equip them to better navigate the stressors of modern living.
Teaching kids means you will have a loyal following and full classes. Adults will often opt to stay on the couch in the evenings and skip their yoga classes on the days when they are running late or they don’t make it in time. This can mean that you have erratic class attendance, with some weeks being full and others only seeing a few students in a class. Whereas with kids, parents encourage them to go to their scheduled classes and after school activities as a way to keep them active and to limit the amount of time spent on online mediums and games.
One of the other advantages to teaching kids classes is working regular hours. As a yoga teacher you may find that you are mostly working nights and weekends when most people have their down time and are free from work. Nearly all classes for kids take place during the school day or early on a weekend morning, leaving your evenings free to spend time with your family or friends, your favorite hobbies and your own practice.
Oh and of course – the greatest joy of teaching kids yoga is that it is fun. Teaching kids bring you back into your heart, it connects you to your own inner child, ignites your imagination and creative self, and gives you a different lens through which to view the teachings of yoga.
Now that you have started thinking about this an option or for those who have already embarked on this magical path, here are 11 ways to ensure that you have full classes of happy and inspired little yogis and yoginis.
1. Stand out from the crowd!
Ensure that what you are offering is unique and fun. With the popularity of yoga growing each day, there are now many different yoga schools and classes to compete with, and it’s important to find something that will make you stand out from the crowd.
2. Aerial Yoga for kids – because regular yoga for kids can be boring.
Regular yoga for kids is largely based around stories and yoga adventures and is more suited to kids between 3-6 years old, while Aerial yoga is fun and challenging for a much wider range of ages, reaching kids between 6 – 16 years old. This diverse age range will give you a competitive edge, assisting in reaching a much wider group of potential students and also giving you a practice that can entice and capture the attention of teens and tweens – a market that could otherwise be quite difficult to tap into, as this age group in notoriously difficult to infiltrate..
Aerial yoga has become a very popular way of practicing. This style of yoga is a fusion of yoga, dance, martial arts and pilates and is done with a silk hammock which is suspended off the
ground. The class is filled with new and exciting ways to practice classical yoga poses and inversions with the assistance of the aerial swing or hammock.
This style of yoga is great for kids who may otherwise lead quite a sedentary lifestyle or those kids who are not naturally inclined towards sports or outdoor activity. It improves core-strength, flexibility and also enables kids to have a better sense of their own bodies. The relaxation and restorative poses that are done in the swing are also helpful for soothing kids who are overstimulated and may find it difficult to come to a space of rest and calm naturally. The sense of being held and supported by the fabric of the swing can be very soothing.
Because Aerial Yoga for children is challenging, fun and hugely empowering for kids they will come back every week, and bring their friends! And it’s an easy sell for the parents as the benefits of swing yoga for children are so vast, comprising all the benefits you would gain from a regular yoga practice and also adding a few more-such as engaging fine and gross motor skills and engaging tactile input through the contact of the hammock on the skin which is the bodies biggest sense organ. This then sends signals to the brain which can be soothing or alerting depending on the input and the intention of the pose being practiced. There are lot of reasons for any yoga teacher to teach Aerial Yoga for Kids.
3. Make your classes a safe and non-competitive space
In modern life there is so much pressure to perform and we often forget that kids are not free from this. Life is busy, parents are busy and kids often find themselves wrapped up in this world of busyness as well. They have school, homework, tests and sports and may feel a lot of pressure to excel, which distances them from their innate joy and ability to just be free and live in the moment.
For this reason it is important to create a safe space in your yoga class, where the values of individuality, respect for differences and an attitude of peace and calm are encouraged. Foster co-operation and compassion in your classes and reinforce the idea that we are all unique and different.
Let your classes be a space where kids can come to just be themselves, to breathe and to connect with themselves and with others. Let them know that they are part of the class and they are free to express themselves and also to contribute to the class if and when the class flows that way.
It’s a wonderful experience for kids to be able to lead a pose or make a suggestion in class and to know that they are heard and their opinions and thoughts are valued in the space. There is no better testimonial to you as a teacher than kids who leave your class feeling happy and confident.
4. Home for the holidays
Another great way to expand your reach and to get more interest in your yoga classes for kids is by creating holiday workshops and yoga programmes for children. Parents are always looking
for things to do with their kiddo’s during the holiday times that are engaging and creative, and that gets them outdoors and socialising.
Depending on your time and resources, these programmes can be anywhere from a 2 hour workshop to a full summer holiday yoga programme that spans a few days (make sure you have assistants for these)
Although it does take some planning and coordination these workshops are usually a hit, and you will often attract new students who may not be able to make it to more regular set class times.
The fun is in the planning with these and you could include elements of art, creating nature mandalas or painting with straws and breath, mindful walking or games like yoga statues or yogi says, which are great for exploring listening skills. Foster co-working and co-operation by working together through group projects or partner yoga.
Set up outdoors if the weather allows, or take a mindful walk through the forest or on the beach, igniting their natural sense of adventure and creating a connection with the natural world around them.
5. Empower your kids
Kids yoga has been shown to be a great tool for improving self-esteem and self-confidence, through learning how to get to know themselves and instilling confidence, they are able to shine their unique light out into the world. Yoga empowers kids to be themselves and to find their voice.
The yoga class is the perfect space to teach kids the value of challenging themselves within their own parameters to reach the goals they set for themselves. Be their cheerleader and coach in this, and watch them shine as they realise that they can achieve their goals and improve on their own practice by consistent effort and perseverance.
This is another area where teaching fly yoga for kids is so great – working with the help of a supported hammock kids are able safely do inversions and childrens yoga poses that may be more difficult for them to get into on the mat. Get them in the swing and watch them fly!
One of the best things about being a kids yoga teacher is definitely the freedom it gives you to be playful and to connect to your own inner child through play, song, movement and imagination.
Be sure to always bring an element of playfulness into your yoga class to ensure that they are engaging and entertaining. Apart from the usual games and songs that we all know and love, there are many other avenues to explore to make your classes come alive.
Have dress up days for Halloween, Peace day, Easter or just any old Monday yoga class. Bring your art supplies and make dream catchers, glitter jars or feeling journals.
Pack a picnic and lay out a picnic blanket as you let kids engage their five senses through mindful eating exercises. Be sure to pack healthy foods in varying shades of colour and texture, grab some blindfolds and forget the old saying of “not playing with your food!”
Enact your favorite kids story books or movies, assign everyone with different characters from the story, make masks or costumes, sing, dance, and watch your class come alive
With kids anything is possible and the more fun and engaging lessons are the more likely you are to have full classes. Let your imagination and sense of adventure lead the way.
7. Involve parents, grandparents and care-givers
Apart from fetching and dropping off, adults often don’t know what fun is to be had in the kids yoga class. Invite them into the space by hosting parent and child workshops, or even mini-retreats where they can spend a morning or an afternoon practicing yoga, breathing, making art and connecting.
These activities help to shape a sense of community- which is one of the cornerstones of yoga- and gives parents an opportunity to share meaningful family time, experiencing yoga, a healthy way of living and possibly even learning new yoga skills like Aerial Yoga, orways to mindfully interact with their kids.
8. Keep learning
In the words of Pattabhi Jois – Practice, Practice, Practice.
It is vitally important to keep up your own practice and to keep the joy and love for yoga alive within yourself. When we allow our own practice to slip and are always only on the teachers side of the class, yoga can easily just become another job or way to make a living and the joy and passion for teaching can start to fade.
Try and make it to a regular class with teachers that inspire you, ask around to sit in or assist with other kids yoga classes in your area and most importantly attend continuing education workshops, read children’s books and keep expanding and learning new skills to ensure that you are creating classes that have your kids coming back for more. Keep up with the trends in the industry to ensure that you your classes stay relevant and you keep attracting new business.
9. Create year-round programs
Ensure that you have a steady stream of business all year round by creating programmes that kids can attend all the time, instead of focusing on one time efforts.
Let classes build on each other, creating a flow of new and exciting goal poses, so that kids are challenged throughout the year. This will allow them to map their progress and to feel a sense of accomplishment in their practice as the year progresses.
When kids feel that they are constantly learning new things and being challenged to achieve their goals, it will act as an incentive for them to continue coming to class as they learn and grow.
10. Invest in a magic box of tricks
One of the most useful and helpful things for teaching yoga for kids classes is to have a handy box (suitcase, basket, bag or whatever shape or form it may come in for you) full of tricks from which to draw whenever the moment arises and you may need some inspiration or assistance.
Like a magic hat from which the magician pulls all manners of delights and surprises, fill this vestibule with propbs, songs, art supplies, musical instruments, balls, costumes, breathing exercises and anything else that may add flavour and excitement to your class.
Kids classes often move quickly and sometimes even take on a life of their own and having this toolkit handy ensures that you have a safety net to fill in time or to draw on when inspiration and a touch of mystery is needed.
Being a yoga teacher is a role that requires quite a lot of teachers in terms of planning, energy expenditure and holding space for others. This is even more true in the case of teaching kids as these classes require energy, passion, enthusiasm.
Yoga teachers are often very good at taking care of others and can sometimes forget that taking care of themselves is equally, if not more important.
Invest in your own self-care, give your body nutritious food, get enough sleep and spend time in the company of people who nurture and value you.
Do things that feed your heart and your soul, whether that means a regular walk in nature, a massage or a day spent reading a good book.
Fill your own cup first to ensure that you are able to share your love and enthusiasm with your students. Happy teaching!
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