So you have decided to do your children’s yoga teacher training. That’s amazing! Doing your kids’ yoga teacher training will surely be a highly informative and transformative experience, both for your practice and teaching and also for yourself on a personal level. Because teaching yoga to kids is so much different than teaching adults, doing your kids yoga teachers training is a sure fire way to reignite your creativity, fill your heart with yoga love and find your passion for sharing the wonderful tools and skills that yoga has to share with a younger generation. In this article we will explore just what makes teaching kids yoga such a great choice and also how to become a children’s yoga teacher. With so many options out there to choose from in terms of training, it can sometimes be quite daunting to know how to go about choosing the right one for you.
For most yoga teachers the desire to teach is born from the call of service, knowing inside that we are here to make a difference and having experienced the benefits of yoga in your own capacity many feel the call to share these practices with others. I find with teaching children’s yoga that this is even more of a motivating factor as you are essentially helping to build and shape the future generation of yogi’s.
If your yoga teaching has hit a plateau and you find yourself lacking inspiration and drive, or if you are looking to find again the true heart of yoga practice or simply wishing to branch out into a new area of yoga then teaching children’s yoga may be just the thing for you. There are so many great things about teaching kids yoga it’s almost hard to list them all, read on for my top reasons on what makes this such a special path.
- Being a children’s yoga teacher truly is the work of the heart and the place to find your Ananda or heart felt bliss. Kids are naturally spontaneous and filled with joy, and teaching them yoga will often reignite your own inner child and creative spirit, especially when being a yoga teacher becomes a job and you forget the passionate reasons you have for wanting to be a yoga teacher. I have found that teaching kids has made me lighter and also filled my own practice with more joy and ease.
- Being a yoga for kids teacher means that you will be doing meaningful and genuine work. The tools and practices that these kids learn while they are still young will be something that they can come back to and rely on for the rest of their lives. They will always remember the teacher who taught them how to breathe to calm their anxieties before a big test, or how to get rid of their frustrations by taking a big lion’s breath or exploding like a volcano! Teaching yoga for children is the gift that keeps giving, both to you as the teacher who will find that kids are a wellspring of inspiration and energy to keep you motivated and inspired in your role as a yoga teacher and to the kids who will take your teachings with them both on and off their mats.
- Kids Yoga is a niche market, with fewer yoga teachers teaching kids there is less competition and it may be easier to build up your student base and fill your teaching schedule. Being a children’s yoga teacher also opens many different teaching opportunities, from teaching studio classes to hosting kids yoga-themed birthday parties or even having yoga workshops and camps when schools are out, this path of teaching offers so many magical teaching opportunities and easy ways to market and promote yourself.
- If you are anything like me the greatest benefit to being a kids yoga teacher is that you get to work more regular hours, I found that with teaching regular adult classes I was spending every night in the studio teaching with little time for myself or my own practice. This is a sure fire way to lose your spark as a yoga teacher as personal practice is the cornerstone of being a great yoga teacher. Most kids yoga classes will take place in the early afternoons after school, or in the mornings if you are hosting workshops or special events, leaving your evenings free for yourself or to teach your adult classes if you want the best of both worlds.
- Your imagination is the limit! If you are a teacher who likes to think outside of the box and colour outside the lines you will find your greatest joy and freedom of expression in being a children’s yoga teacher. Teaching yoga for children frees up your creativity as you can plan lessons and themes around just about anything – you can sing, dance, play instruments and use your artistic abilities to inspire and to create classes that are informative, playful and fun. Or perhaps you can even add some aerial yoga for kids and watch them fly to new heights!
- Volunteer and community opportunities. Creating and being a part of a community or a tribe is something that modern day living doesn’t always teach. I have found the kids yoga teachers community to be highly co-operative and supportive (may this be your experience too), and there are so many opportunities to share yoga with disadvantaged youth or to volunteer teach in poorer schools and communities. The kids you teach will also quickly find their way into your heart and the class space becomes like a family gathering where we learn to respect each other and our differences and to foster a spirit of cooperation.
Now that you have read how great it is to work as a kids yoga teacher, you may start wondering about how to become a children’s yoga instructor. Having done my kids’ yoga teacher training many years ago, I found that after the training some gaps were missing in what I knew and what it took for me to create a successful business around teaching yoga for children. I had to put a lot of hard work and effort into finding new and creative ways to grow my classes, and my wish for you is that you may find an easier and smoother way to reach your goals.
It is important to check out your options and to make an informed decision based on your goals for your business, how and what you want to teach and also to look at what happens once the bliss from the training tapers out and you are left with the realities of turning your dream into a viable career choice.
In my experience there are several mistakes that students are likely to make when considering which children’s yoga teacher training to choose. Here are my top considerations that are often overlooked or missed in the decision making process
1. Thinking that all kids yoga teacher training programs are the same.
There is a common misconception that all kids’ yoga programs are the same. Teaching Kids yoga is not something generic or a skill one can simply pick up from watching some youtube videos or tutorials. Teaching yoga for kids is completely different from teaching adult yoga classes, and there is a very particular set of skills and teachings one should know to become a great kids yoga teacher and to teach fun and memorable classes that will make your students want to come back week after week.
For this reason, it is good to really compare different trainings and schools, to really look at the program and scheduled activities and to make an informed decision based around these facts.
Look at what style of yoga is being taught, get a feel for what the teacher of the training is about. Is her style of teaching more playful and fun, is it based around mindfulness or a therapeutic approach, where did she learn and what are her qualifications to teach? What tools will you be equipped with and what will you take away with you in the form of knowledge and experience when you leave.
2. Not considering what ages of kids they will be able to teach after kids yoga teacher training course.
A lot of kids yoga is based around the story theme and while this is great for 3-6-year-olds who love to imitate animals and get engrossed in the yoga stories and songs, this style of teaching can become a bit boring and one dimensional for older kids and may limit your ability to teach a wider range of age groups.
It is helpful to look for trainings and courses that cover an extensive range of age groups and that will equip you with skills and tools to teach across all ages from a little ones to teens and everyone in between.
3. What skills and tools will you take away with you after the training
You have just spent an amazing few days learning new skills, sharing laughs with your new-found yoga-friends and igniting your creative spirit. At the end of your course, you will assimilate all that you have learned and will most likely be asked to teach a kids yoga class to your peers.
While this is great and a necessary part of many children’s yoga training and certainly sets you up with the base skills needed for teaching a successful kids yoga class, after a while you may find yourself running out of ideas or inspiration, leaving you scouring the internet for ideas and spending hours on class planning. Teaching yoga to kids is very different from teaching a group of well-behaved adults who want to ‘get it right’ and so will offer very little in the way of distractions or regular kid like behavior.
Do make sure that you check what you are receiving in the way of inspiring ideas, curriculum and tools to take home with you that will keep your teaching going after graduation, and that there is an opportunity for teaching with some children or at least viewing the teacher teaching real live kids.
4. Not thinking about where you will be teaching after the course
Something worth considering is your business plan for after you have completed your course and your practice hours, consider where you will be teaching and how you will be marketing yourself as a kids yoga teacher. Will you be targeting schools where you will have to set up appointments to speak to principles or sports directors, having to lug around your equipment and mats or will you have a more niche market in mind where you can teach from studio’s and your students will come to you? The second way is a good way to set up a business that is less time-consuming and will leave you with more energy to teach a great class.
Consider whether what you are learning at your children’s yoga teacher training will give you the skills and the tools to enable you to market yourself and whether you are learning skills that will make you stand out from other kids yoga teachers? Will you leave the training equipped with a clear vision of the business and marketing side of teaching, and have you been equipped with the tools to turn this vision into reality?
5. Not taking into account what your earning potential could be
Let’s face it, for most yoga teachers and especially those who are deeply called to the work of service, financial gain is not the first thought or consideration when making choices regarding training or teaching. We all live in a material world though and we charge for our services the same way other movement or exercise professionals would.
Look at what you are taking away from your training in terms of how it will relate to your income ability. What services will you be able to offer, will what you offer to stand out from the other kids’ yoga classes in your area and how can you relate those specialist classes into charging what you are worth.
6. Not looking into whether there is after course support or community
I am sure most of you have had the experience at some point that being a yoga teacher can be a lonely road and it’s easy to get unmotivated and uninspired when yoga becomes a job with classes to fulfill and lessons to be planned.
In these times it is great to have a circle of yoga friends, people who share your ideas and views and who you can draw inspiration from or even a mentor, someone who has walked this road and can offer you sage advice and tips on your journey.
Choose a course where there is some level of community or aftercare support in the framework of a social media group, newsletters or open invitation to reach out with questions or simply to connect with the teacher or your peers. This community support goes a long way in keeping you inspired and inspiring.
7. Not feeling into whether the course work resonates with you as a person
Make a list of what skills you are looking to acquire and what is important to you in terms of training, philosophy and teaching style. Although most trainings will probably not tick all of your boxes, you must ensure that you are getting value in terms of what you are learning and paying for.
Think about things like whether the course offers lesson plans to use once you start teaching? What will you take away with you in terms of skills as a teacher? How marketable will you be once you have completed the training? These are all useful questions to ask yourself before committing to training or if you are stuck on which training will be best suited to you.
8. Not looking at time and money requirements
Be sure to check what the time and commitment requirements are of your teachers’ training. Apart from the actual live class times and lectures you are often expected to do the reading assignments, hand in lesson plans and plan and teach different classes. Make sure that you are clear on what you are signing up for and that you can commit fully to what is being asked of you in terms of time and energy.
Similarly, ensure that you are aware of all the costs involved in your training, as these may include book fees, travel costs, and equipment that you may not be aware of at first glance.
This way you leave yourself worry-free and able to be fully present and committed to learning and growing.
Now that you know what to look for in a training, we hope that this will make your search more fruitful and that your children’s yoga teacher training will be a transformative and inspiring experience that supports you and your growth as a children’s yoga teacher.
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