By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Children are often immersed in music from birth. Parents use it to calm fussy babies, to entertain in the car, and to express love to their precious bundles. As children grow, music becomes an even bigger part of life. They hear, and learn songs and rhymes from television programs, designed to teach important literacy concepts. Once they get to school, children continue to use singing as a learning tool. Songs are a fun and are an interactive way to help children learn and remember important concepts. Songs are a natural way to engage children in Yoga, as well – making class more interesting.
Songs can help children in Kids Yoga classes learn and remember important poses and breathing exercises. Yoga teachers can incorporate movement and visual aids with singing to engage more of the senses. Children delight in singing silly, made-up songs, and rarely judge others’ voices, allowing Yoga instructors to let go of any ideas that they themselves “can’t sing.”
Singing can put skeptical kids at ease from the beginning. Children, who have never attended a Yoga class, might feel intimidated or scared of the unknown. When the Yoga teacher immediately engages the class in a song, it will most likely put kids at ease. Songs can spice up the middle of class, adding some energy and pizazz. At the end of Yoga class, songs are a great way to wind down and relax.
The types of songs used for class will vary on the Yoga instructor. Some instructors prefer to use a pre-made soundtrack, leading them through a series of warm-ups, active songs, and cool-down songs. Other Yoga teachers might make up a few silly songs on their own, to welcome students each time, to teach specific poses, or to dismiss class each time.
Children thrive on familiarity and structure. When the same songs are incorporated on a regular basis, they will quickly learn the class routine. Some Yoga instructors like to begin class with a welcome song. Depending on the age of the students, the song might incorporate each student’s name or allow for each student to sing out a brief solo. Songs can also incorporate familiar movements. A warm-up song could accompany a Sun Salutation to get the students moving and singing right off the bat. Songs can also be used to signal the end of a Yoga class. A soothing, quiet song can get children ready for relaxation time. When songs are repeated, class after class, kids will know what to expect.
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