By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
How can you mentally engage children when teaching kids Yoga postures? When you teach a kids Yoga class, you must put your creative thinking to work. Children become engaged when the class is interactive, fun, silly, or intriguing. In order to make it intriguing to kids, you might have to think like a kid again. Children love stories of all kinds. They like true stories that teach about the world around them, as well as fantastic stories that take their imaginations on beautiful journeys. When you incorporate stories with Yoga postures, you are providing a fun and interesting way of learning the poses and philosophies of Yoga.
Use a Yoga Story Book
Young children will especially appreciate an illustrated look at the Yoga poses you are teaching. As you work on simple animal or nature poses, read a story, one page at a time. Children’s author, Eric Carle, has a wonderful selection of animal-themed books with bright, simple illustrations. You could also use flash cards with pictures of children performing the poses or pictures of the actual animals. Tell a piece of the story as you show each page or picture – then let the children try the Yoga pose.
Children also thrive on repetition. You might consider using the same story several times, until the children know it well. Then, you can have fun re-telling the story in your own words as you do the movements, or tell the story with movement only. Let the kids participate by asking for volunteers to tell the story, or by letting each child tell one part of the story.
Use Props for Kids Yoga Stories
Provide children with feathery boas or headbands, furry wraps, animal ears, tree branches, flowers, or any number of other props. Use the props to tell a story, by giving each child one prop and letting them come to the front, as you reach that part in the story. You can make up a story, or you can use a simple children’s book that includes ideas that can be related to Yoga poses.
Depending on the age of your Yoga students, they will most likely be ready and willing to make up a story or two. To help, you can set the scene, and identify a problem the characters will face, before beginning to tell the story. You can let each child tell a part of the story, breaking it up into the beginning, middle, and end; or you can let the story flow in different directions. Remember that the importance of the story lies in the Yoga postures – not whether the story makes perfect sense.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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