Unwrapping Joy and Mindfulness with YogaBeez this Christmas.
Are you wondering how to handle the Festive Frenzy this season? Discover the art of unwrapping joy and mindfulness with YogaBeez this Christmas.
The holidays are a whirlwind of excitement, sugar overload, and chaotic gatherings with friends and family. While it’s a time for joy and connection – it can also be overwhelming, especially for our little ones. Overstimulation, meltdowns, and sensory overload can lurk around every sparkly corner.
But fear not, fellow teachers, parents and babysitters! We can navigate the festive frenzy with grace and giggles by incorporating yoga and mindfulness practices. These tools help children (and ourselves!) stay grounded, manage emotions, and appreciate the simple magic of the season.
A great place to start is always with some breath work to bring everyone back to centre… Help them to “Breathe It In, Breathe It Out”:
Calming Snowman Breaths:
Sit cross-legged or kneel with your children. Imagine a tiny snowman on their tummy. As they inhale, their snowman grows bigger, filling their belly with air. Exhale, and the snowman shrinks, melting away worries. Repeat, adding silly snowman noises for extra fun!
Have your child pretend to hold a jar of glitter. Breathe in deeply, imagining the glitter rising in their chest. Breathe out slowly, letting the glitter gently settle. This visualization helps lengthen and deepen breaths.
Next – help them to “Shake it Off”:
Channel your inner Rudolph! Stand with feet hip-width apart. Pretend your antlers are heavy, shaking your head to release the tension. Then, jump with joy, prancing like reindeer around the room.
Stand tall with arms outstretched. Imagine you’re a snowflake gently falling. Sway slowly from side to side, letting your body move with the rhythm of your breath. This gentle movement releases tension and calms the mind.
It is so important to provide some quiet spaces and peaceful activities for children during this sometimes manic holiday season… help them to stay present, as they wait for their presents!
Mindful Gift Wrapping:
Instead of rushing, turn gift wrapping into a mindfulness ritual. Fold the paper slowly, feeling the texture. Notice the colors and patterns. Breathe deeply as you tie the ribbon. This mindful approach fosters appreciation and reduces stress.
Fill a water bottle with glitter, beads, and small toys. As your kids start to shake it, encourage them to observe the swirling colors and calming movement. This visual and tactile exercise promotes focus and relaxation.
Remember, the holidays are about connection and joy, not perfection!
Embrace the wobbly reindeer poses, the glitter-covered faces, and the moments of quiet wonder. Let yoga and mindfulness be your playful guides, helping you and your little ones navigate the festive season with hearts full of peace and love.
Bonus Tip: Create a cozy “calming corner” with blankets, pillows, and calming sensory objects. This becomes a safe haven for children to practice their yoga poses, read a mindful story, or simply take a quiet breath.
So next time the holiday craziness threatens to sweep you off your feet, remember: you’ve got superhero strength in your breath, a wiggle in your tail for happy dances, and a whole toolbox of yoga poses to save the day! Now go forth, little yogis, and spread holiday cheer like glitter on a gingerbread house!
Halloween Children’s Yoga Class Ideas – Celebrate The Holiday with Some Fun!
Halloween children’s yoga class ideas are plentiful! It is a time for silly fun, spookiness, and sweet delights! Here are some fun ideas for Halloween Children’s Yoga Classes.
Halloween yoga poses:
Once the children are warmed up, you can start teaching them some Halloween-themed yoga poses. Here are a few ideas:
Witch On A Broom:
Creep up to dark house, climb up the stairs quietly… Find your broom and fly around the room. Practice your witch’s cackles and cauldron stirring. Start in L sitting position – reach up and fold forward into wide legged forward bend, as you add and mix ingredients into your cauldron. As you stir the pot, bring rotation into your pelvis… ooh what spell do you want to make? “Bubble bubble, toil and trouble”
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your arms at your sides. Bend your knees and bring your feet up to the floor, so that your knees are bent and your feet are flat on the ground. Place your hands on the floor behind you, fingers spread wide. Lean back slightly and lift your hips off the ground, forming a triangle shape with your body. Gently breath in and out, then slowly lower yourself back to the floor.
Start on your hands and knees, with your back flat and your core engaged. Tuck your chin to your chest and round your back, as if you are a cat hissing. Gently breath in and out, then slowly arch your back and look up. Repeat 3 times. Practice your hisses and meows.
Scary-up your wide-legged squats with a few lion’s —ahem, we mean “monster”— roars. Start in a five-pointed-star pose (legs wide, feet turned out, arms extended out to a “V” with fingers spread wide). Inhale here, gazing up toward the sky. Then, as you exhale through your mouth, stick out your tongue and make as frightening a face as you can muster, while bending your knees into the squat and drawing your elbows in toward your sides. Inhale, return to five-pointed star, and repeat several times.
Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Slowly raise your arms above your head and bring your palms together. Bend your knees slightly and lean forward, keeping your back straight. Reach your arms out in front of you, palms down. Gently breath in and out, then slowly return to the starting position. Who can make the scariest ghostly noises?
Halloween yoga story:
You can also tell the children a Halloween-themed yoga story during their yoga class. This is a great way to keep them engaged and entertained, whilst also teaching them some new yoga poses. For example, you could tell them the story of a witch who is flying through the forest on her broomstick. The children can then pretend to be witches and fly through the forest, using the yoga poses you taught them. A song also gets everyone involved:
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate,
The first one said, “Oh, my it’s getting late!”
The second one said, “There are witches in the air!”
The third one said, “Well, I don’t care!”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run!”
The fifth one said, “I’m ready for some fun!”
OOH went the wind, and out went the lights,
and the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight!
Halloween yoga games:
There are many fun Halloween yoga games that you can play with the children. For example, you could play ‘Boo Breath’
Everyone gets ¼ piece of tissue (little ghost)
Place on their finger and blow it off with a boo!
Also a game of “Simon Says” with Halloween-themed yoga poses. Or, you could play a game of “Freeze Dance” with Halloween music. Depending on the size of your class, blindfolded “Trick or Treat” is always a hit!
End the class with a cool-down to help the children relax and wind down. You could do some deep breathing exercises, or lead the children in a guided meditation. Savasana or Corpse pose is perfect – “Thunder and lightning, north winds blow, sleepy heads to bed you go!”
Keep it fun and engaging: Children have short attention spans, so it’s important to keep your yoga classes fun and engaging. Use lots of music, games, and stories to keep them interested.
Make it appropriate for all ages and abilities: Be sure to modify the yoga poses as needed, so that all of the children in your class can participate. You may also want to offer different options for each pose, so that the children can choose the one that is most challenging for them.
Be creative: There are endless possibilities when it comes to Halloween children’s yoga. Use your imagination and come up with your own fun and unique yoga poses, games, and stories.
With a little planning, you can easily create a fun and educational Halloween children’s yoga class that the children will love!
An Enlightened YogaBeez Success Story – Meet Leanne Lucas!
Leanne Lucas is a true YogaBeez Success Story
How did you first begin working with children?
I started off my career with a diploma in Early Years and a degree in Primary Education. I taught for 8 years at a local primary school teaching 8 wonderful classes and leading the PE curriculum. My heart always rested with the wellbeing of each and every pupil who walked through the school door. Teaching is tough – it can be stressful and you can feel like you are never doing enough.
This led me to accept a once in a life time opportunity to move to Shanghai, China to support the opening of a bilingual kindergarten school, where I worked as a Year 1 teacher. It was here that my eyes were opened to more holistic methods of looking after my mental health and wellbeing. After my China adventure, I returned home and decided to train in counselling, which I am still pursuing now.
What led you down the path towards becoming a Children’s Yoga Teacher?
During this journey of discovery, I invested in practicing yoga for myself more and more. This led me to think about how I could bring the benefits of yoga and mindfulness into the lives of children within my local area.
How did you discover the YogaBeez Children’s Yoga Teacher Training platform?
I searched for Children’s Yoga Teacher Training Courses and like magic – I saw that YogaBeez was bringing an in-person training to Leeds! As this was only an hour and a half away from me – I signed up immediately and I have never looked back!
Bryony really inspired me and supported me to feel like I could truly achieve this dream. My passion was ignited and I started teaching 2 children’s yoga classes at the weekends.
Describe your journey from Training to Teaching?
My business grew and grew from these initial classes and I now teach children’s yoga, family yoga, yoga with puppy cuddle therapy, themed yoga (Barbie is my next workshop), family bedtime yoga, SEN yoga, holiday camps and a weekly Home Ed yoga afternoon. I enjoy it because I am passionate about it and I am passionate about it because I enjoy it!
It is wonderful that I have recently been employed by a nursery, primary school and high school to provide yoga workshops within the school day. I absolutely adore seeing the children grow in self-belief and confidence and I am grateful for the moments of support I can provide families in my community. It really feels like I am making a positive impact and that is such a fulfilling feeling. I feel like I am my true, authentic self through teaching yoga and therefore I feel great happiness.
What was the biggest benefit of doing the YogaBeez Course?
Starting up your own business can be hard and lonely… It is for this reason that I am forever grateful to the amazing friends I made on the YogaBeez course. We keep in contact regularly – sharing lesson plans, top tips and moral support. There is a real sense of community and comraderie where we can lean on each other for ideas and encouragement.
SOUTH AFRICAN YOGABEEZ SUCCESS STORY – A JOURNEY FROM TRAINING TO TEACHING
Meet Melissa Bland!
This is a true South African YogaBeez success story which we are very excited to share. Melissa Bland is a proud South African and was born and bred in Cape Town. She has a finance background, but has always had a deep longing to work with children. One of the things which drew her to this calling is the simplicity and raw honesty which children possess and she connected with this authenticity.
What led you down the path towards becoming a Children’s Yoga Teacher?
Melissa now has a beautiful 6-year-old boy of her own called Liam. In 2018 her family moved to Malaysia due to her husband’s business. For the first time, she was faced with being a stay-at-home mom and not active in the workforce. When the pandemic hit, she began taking some yoga classes online for fitness, but also because she has always been interested in the mind, body and soul connection.
After 3 years in Malaysia, and after going through the pandemic, Melissa’s family decided to return home and they settled in Noordhoek. Here she joined an amazing studio and she started to truly immerse herself in the yoga practice. Out of this, she discovered that she possessed a great ‘toolbox’ filled with amazing and powerful techniques, which she wanted to share with others. The epiphany struck that teaching yoga to children would be a truly powerful way to combine her two loves. From here she started to think how to integrate children’s yoga into their everyday life – on and off the mat…
How did you discover the YogaBeez Children’s Yoga Teacher Training platform?
And so the journey to find a suitable children’s yoga teacher training began! Through a word of mouth recommendation, she was directed to the YogaBeez platform, and she was pleasantly surprised by the educational Montessori tone which underlies the YogaBeez philosophy. Feeling that this was possibly the road she wanted to take, she called Bryony personally and after a lengthy conversation, she felt that this was most definitely the perfect course for her to take. In her own words, “Bryony just got it. Her values and motivation for starting YogaBeez in the first place was so aligned with mine, that it just resonated with me. I just knew this was the right course for me.”
What appealled to you about the YogaBeez Online Platform?
The most appealling aspect about the YogaBeez online platform is that it was self-paced and part time. Even though she lives in Cape Town, the online option made the dream possible. She was able to tailor-make the study sessions and course times to fit her lifestyle and commitments. The freedom of this was liberating and lifted any barrier which she could have foreseen.
What makes YogaBeez Children’s Yoga different from other available courses?
Melissa is passionate about transferring what she has learnt to young minds. As she says, “Having been empowered with all these amazing tools, I would like to share it with children. It is easier to learn new, healthy habits from a young age than to unlearn unhealthy habits down the line. YogaBeez was amazing compared to some of the other available courses, in that it was so well rounded, because of the Montessori philosophy that they have. It was also just really relatable. The course itself was amazing, and both Sophie and Bryony have continued to be so responsive and supportive. After finishing the course, I felt truly empowered to go out and teach.”
What was the biggest benefit of doing the YogaBeez Online Course?
It is wonderful that there was always someone to reach out to when there were questions or fears about real-life teaching. That interaction proved to be invaluable during the learning curve of feeling confident enough to go out and teach professionally.
Describe your journey from Training to Teaching?
After graduating from YogaBeez, Melissa has started her own business called Floga Kids Yoga. She is working on laying the foundations for her budding business, and she is looking forward to her vision blooming into the reality she is already building upon. Now that she has opened her own children’s yoga business, she says that one of the benefits is that it is forcing her to practice what she preaches. One cannot teach children all these amazing life skills if you are unable to practice them yourself. So important lessons like sitting with discomfort, perseverance and working hard without having a guaranteed outcome are becoming a lived lifestyle.
How is business now?
She is focusing on getting into schools in her area in order to integrate children’s yoga into the South African School system. Children have become so overscheduled, stressed and overwhelmed, so this provides a balm for their minds and souls. Logistically it is also difficult for working parents to take time off to transport their children to extra-mural activities. Having the schools offer the programme in-house solves a lot of these issues.
Tell us more about your community service work?
As somebody who believes in the power of giving back to the community, Melissa has partnered with a charitable organization, called Bongulethu. This primary school for underprivileged children, which is located next to an informal settlement, is now happily receiving the benefits of children’s yoga. They would definitely not have been exposed to was it not for Melissa’s generosity of spirit. She teaches yoga to these kids, which is extremely fulfilling, and also enables her to gain greater experience and confidence. She also offers yoga playdates and parties – anything which can bring the philosophy and benefits of yoga to children.
What is your ultimate goal in achieving success?
Her goal to change one child’s perception of where they are in any given moment. This is a wonderful way of making a tangible contribution to the world – one child at a time… This is just the beginning of a true South African YogaBeez Success Story.
Have you Considered the Benefits of Online Children’s Yoga Teacher Training?
How many of you have dreamt about a meaningful career, where you can combine your love of children with your love of yoga and mindfulness? Are you stuck in a rut and feel your dream vocation slipping away because of circumstances beyond your control? It is amazing how many of us self-sabotage our visions, instead of looking for workable solutions… It is sometimes difficult to devote a large chunk of time to learning something new when we have busy lives and personal commitments, or we live far away from the trainings which we want to partake in. This is where the benefits of Online Children’s Yoga Teacher Training comes in to play.
Due to the technological age that we are currently living in, we are blessed to have the option of online teacher training. There are so many benefits of online platforms – providing you have done your research to ensure that the programmes have the required accreditations, qualifications and most importantly interaction with a responsive mentor.
Some of the Benefits of Online Children’s Yoga Teacher Training are:
FLEXIBILITY AND CONVENIENCE:
Students can study at their own pace, and the training platform can be accessed from anywhere in the world. All you require is a viable internet connection and computer, with no geographical constraints! This is a great option for people who travel a lot, have a full-time job, are students, parents or who live in remote areas.
In-person trainings can also be fast-paced and intense, and students are quite often left feeling saturated and overwhelmed – with not enough time to process the avalanche of information. Online options allow for students to go through the work at their own pace, personalise their speed and re-read/repeat some of the more difficult part of the course material if necessary. This allows for complete customisation of the learning experience.
Online teacher trainings are generally more affordable than traditional in-person training programmes, as it cuts down on the costs of accommodation, travel and other related expenses.
SUPPORT OF ONLINE COMMUNITY:
People are often under the misguided impression that the online experience will be a solitary and lonely road… This could not be further from the truth. With this option, you can tap into a global community! Guest teachers from around the world can be available to teach and support. Students can ask questions, get feedback, share their experiences and connect with other students. The sessions can be very interactive and friendships from around the world can be fostered through these connections. This provides diverse networking opportunities and collaborations with people from different backgrounds and cultures.
Online courses require a certain level of self-discipline and motivation. This can help people to develop valuable and life-long skills in time management, self-motivation and independent learning.
Online teacher training is just as high quality as traditional in-person training programmes. By booking your course through an accredited school like YogaBeez means that the support you will receive will be constant and in-depth.
A great way to set your mind at ease is to read graduate testimonials. This ensures you are getting quality information from the source – from people who have experienced the courses. The wonderful feedback that we get for our interactive online course has been incredible. A great online training course should encourage you to practice your own hands-on teaching throughout your learning journey. Hopefully you will leave confident to step out of the box and onto your mat to deepen your own yoga practice , and to begin your process of becoming an accredited, qualified, well- equipped, knowledgeable and adaptable teacher yourself….
Some great YogaBeez testimonials from past graduates:
“If you can not make the in-person training truly consider the online version as you feel immediately involved and immersed, but not overwhelmed. If anything, the online training allows processes and procedures to slot into place at your own pace and provides you with tools of reference to go back to when you need to access those bits of information again for clarification. Well worth it!”
“The material was very well presented and organized. I was surprised at how engaging the online activity was, as it felt very interactive even though it was pre-recorded.”
“The course suited my needs perfectly. As mum of a toddler, running my own business and starting a new job the self-paced was necessary. It was one of the selling points when I first booked on.”
YogaBeez is a leading provider of children’s yoga and mindfulness, offering accredited teacher training courses, classes and workshops. Since 2005, our unique method has incorporated the core values and teachings of traditional Yoga and Mindfulness coupled with the Montessori philosophy to educate, empower and exercise children from all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. Our inclusive classes are designed to stimulate and nourish physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual well-being.
The YogaBeez ONLINE Children’s Yoga Teacher Training is available in both the Foundation and Advanced Level Courses. It is suitable for yoga teachers, school teachers and parents. These online courses will provide you with all the tools you will need to share yoga and mindfulness with children
Are you considering becoming a children’s yoga teacher? Then the YogaBeez Children’s Yoga Teacher Training Course is the answer for you!
Deciding to become a children’s yoga teacher is such rewarding and deeply fulfilling career path for several different reasons:
REASONS TO CONSIDER BECOMING A CHILDREN’S YOGA TEACHER:
Becoming a yoga teacher is more than just a career choice – it becomes a way of life.
You have the ability to have an incredibly positive impact on children’s lives. As a children’s yoga teacher, you can make a significant impact on the lives of young learners. Through this training – you will have the unique opportunity to empower, exercise and educate children holistically. This is achieved by using using yoga, mindfulness and Montessori principles.
By nurturing a love for exercise and movement in a child at a young age through yoga, you can help them to develop positive attitudes about self-image and exercise. The benefits of these healthy habits are infinite.
Teaching children to be mindful and relaxed can be incredibly beneficial to their overall mental health. Yoga provides them with great tools for coping with stress and anxiety.
Being a children’s yoga teacher can create wonderful opportunities to interact with parents and caregivers. This fosters a positive relationship with your community.
There is a growing demand for children’s yoga programmes. The interest in yoga classes for children has been growing steadily over the years. As more schools, daycare centres, and community organizations recognize the benefits of yoga for children -there is an increasing demand for qualified children’s yoga teachers.
Teaching children can be incredibly rewarding. Witnessing their growth and development can bring a profound sense of fulfillment and purpose to your life.
ARE YOU READY TO TAKE THE LEAP AND BECOME A CHILDREN’S YOGA TEACHER?
Ultimately, becoming a children’s yoga teacher allows you to combine your passion for yoga, with your desire to make a positive impact on the lives of children. This can create your new path which can be both personally and professionally rewarding. The next time someone asks you if you are considering becoming a children’s yoga teacher, you can confidently answer, “Yes!”
This could be the perfect career for you, so begin your journey today, and consider becoming a Children’s Yoga Teacher!
How to deal with emotions when on a Yoga Teacher Training Course:
Have you ever entered a yoga class feeling on top of the world until half way through? Whilst holding a pose, the flood gates suddenly open and you find tears streaming down your cheeks? Or found yourself lying in savasana, deep in a peaceful meditative state when a single tear trickles down the side of your face? A meditation releases an expected memory and your smooth, controlled breath soon turns to sobs… Well, if a yoga class can unleash all these emotions, can you imagine what could unfold whilst delving deeply inwards on a Yoga Teacher Training Course? Preparing to deal with these emerging emotions in a safe and supported space is very important. These tips are specifically crafted to help you to figure out how to deal with emotions when on a Yoga Teacher Training Course
What are the possible solutions?
Having led and attended many teacher trainings over the years, I have come to accept that no matter how hard we may try to hold it back – our personal emotional baggage is bound to show up at some point over these days of self-discovery. And as a practitioner, a student and a teacher, I welcome these releases. I believe they are a vital part of becoming an empathic and compassionate teacher.
Advice for managing emotions on a yoga course:
Such a big part of being a teacher is being able to hold a space for your students to explore, enquire and ultimately let go. Not just in their physical asana, but also in observing the memory of their cells and past experiences. The only way to release these is to allow them to surface. Then observe them and lovingly (and often painfully) begin to heal and set them free.
What can we do to assist our students?
To allow our students to do this, we need to provide a safe and supportive environment. It is important that we remain grounded and present. For this to be possible, we need to have visited and reviewed our own emotional issues and baggage. I believe we are all made up of an assortment of these special ingredients … remnants of all the experiences we have had during our journey from birth.
I don’t love the word baggage, but yes, as this metaphor suggests, the experiences that have affected us are often lugged around. They can be physically held like heavy weights or tight knots in our shoulders, jaws, lower backs, hips, calves etc. So, its not surprising that when we come into certain poses or sit in contemplative silence, we start a process of physical and emotional release.
These are ways that we sort out how to deal with emotions when on a Yoga Teacher Training Course
Examine your early emotions:
During the yoga teacher trainings I lead, specializing in children and teen yoga, one of the first meditations we do is one of returning to our early years. Many of the trainee teachers haven’t visited these years for a long time and of course not all of these will be happy, bouncy, joyous years. If any of us think back to our teens we are bound to remember some incredibly challenging times.
Respect the students’ emotional journey:
I always provide a space for these teachers to share their experiences, but this is never an obligation. It is imperative to remember that whilst some students may find sharing very cathartic – for others these are deeply personal, intimate details that they may not feel comfortable talking about. As the trainer holding a space, it’s important to respect this privacy but also to let your student know that a one-on-one with you is available should they wish to chat to you personally.
The reason I lead this meditation is that I want trainee teachers to revisit their own childhood years and experiences before working with the bodies and minds of their own vulnerable students. A children’s yoga teacher does not only have to learn how to lead and observe a class, they must also truly examine their own qualities, through a process of self-awareness and continuous self-assessment.
We know children can push buttons, exploring their boundaries with each new adult that enters their lives and often our immediate reaction comes from a place of our own unresolved issues. If a teacher is feeling frustrated with a student, it is good for us to figure out where this irritation is stemming from and discover the true essence of the problem. When a teacher can examine their own qualities internally, we can see that it is often their own anxiety, pride or insecurity that stands between them and the student.
The important qualities of a Children’s Yoga Teacher:
Because the teacher’s disposition and manner determines the atmosphere of the classroom, there are a few essential qualities that a teacher must examine before holding a space. Of course, there is the learning and practising of poses, the yoga philosophy to read, study and practice but there is also the imperative process of personal spiritual preparation. This inner exploration is essential to building relationships with students.
If a teacher is lacking in self-awareness, she may misinterpret or misunderstand a student’s behaviour and this often creates barriers between them. Controlling her own reaction to a student’s actions and understanding where this reaction comes from is an important place for a teacher to begin her spiritual quest.
Practice the art of patience:
Above and beyond demonstrating a perfect pose I believe that equanimity, patience and humility are some of the most essential qualities of a good yoga teacher. And this is where “living our yoga” becomes all-important. We need to be sure that the yoga philosophy we weave into our classes is what we are practicing when we step off the mat and out of the studio.
As we explore and reflect upon the Yamas and Niyamas – the roots and trunk of the 8-fold path that are at the very core of our yoga practice – it is vital that we start unpacking and reflecting on our own make up, those ingredients that make us who we are, the baggage, the unresolved issues. It’s all the gritty stuff that we need to revisit, because in doing so we are not only freeing ourselves, learning to forgive, learning self-love and self-care but we are giving our students permission to do the same. And this is where the true yoga begins … the yoking, the merging, the connecting.
Embrace you emotions:
So, the next time you feel an emotional release sneaking its way into your practice, welcome it, observe it, learn from it and lovingly set it free. And when one of your students experiences one of these moments – hold the space for them to do this and be grateful that they have felt safe enough in your hands to do so.
We hope you enjoyed reading our article on dealing with emotions on a Yoga Teacher Training Course.
Teaching a children’s yoga class? Are you grappling with effective classroom management within your children’s yoga classes?
Teaching a children’s yoga class? Done the training, learnt the poses, perfected your lesson planning, ready to go … and then the children arrive. They are chatty, unable to focus at the end of the school day, running around the space, not listening and getting their attention seems near impossible. Please know that you are not alone, and that some days are going to be more challenging than others. It is completely normal to have times where things go a little awry and the carefully-crafted lesson plan flies out the window! Effective classroom management can greatly assist you when things feel a little pressured.
When children are seeking attention, whether positive or negative, a mantra I always come back to is, “All behaviour is communication!”
Then breathe deeply, come back to centre, reassess the situation and find ways to engage the children in order to manage the challenging behaviour.
It can often be that by implementing some subtle changes into the space, a huge difference is made to the experience of your students, as well as your own confidence as a teacher.
Here are some valuable techniques, which could prove effective in the management your children’s yoga classes:
Firstly, to enter your classroom/space in a mindful way. Try to be aware of any of your own personal challenges or anxieties BEFORE greeting the children. Leave these at the door and be fully present to hold space for your students. They are little empaths who will often feed off the energy you are carrying.
Remember that consistency is KEY! Remind the children of the Golden Guidelines gently at the beginning of the class, or have them illustrated in a visual manner. Co-creating these guidelines for acceptable behaviour will go a long way in gaining their ‘buy-in’. Always follow through, and avoid empty promises. Truth creates trust. Consequences are important and sometimes we need to be firm to be kind. Children feel safer and more secure when there are clear boundaries.
Create engaging and fun lesson plans but remember to be flexible in order to harness the energy of the children in the room. It is important to meet the children where they are, and work towards the goal in unison. Being too rigid will lead to frustrations across the board.
There are many different teaching techniques and we need to be aware which ones we operate from in order to be able to see what works and what doesn’t within each group. When a class starts to become chatty or rowdy, level out your speaking voice to a low and soft place. The louder they become – the quieter you become… Try not to be reactive, as this simply
escalates any situation. Sound can be a wonderful way to engage with the children, so be prepared for opportunities to sing a song or hum a tune in order to subtly and positively adjust the energy at hand.
Bringing breathwork into the class at regular intervals is paramount. Either energise or calm the space, depending on what is needed.
Try to return to your yogic principles at all times, whilst acknowledging the positives in all situations, avoiding negative patterns of speech. Always try to model peace, love and a compassionate attitude, and hopefully they will follow. And when all else fails … just breathe and smile … and know that the next class will be better! Here is a great quote to get you through the wobbly moments:
“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, first you gotta put up with the rain.” – Dolly Parton
Always be prepared to be unprepared! This is an organic and symbiotic relationship which will move in many different directions, depending on the ever-changing aspects at play on any particular day.
The children will ultimately determine the current and direction, and it is our role to facilitate and not dominate.
At the end of the day, remember to enjoy the dance of the class interaction. Flow in and out of their different energy levels, with a clear image of your own engagement style.
Have fun, be kind, be firm and be mindful. Managing a children’s yoga class can be a breeze!
We’ve all heard a child utter the dreaded words, “I’m bored!” They say that the greatest gift you can give a child is moments of boredom. It’s a time for children to dig deep into the treasure chest of their own imaginations. These days children are so often pacified with electronic devices and television which potentially stunts much of their natural inner creativity. So how can you use yoga to support a child’s inner creativity and stave off those moments of boredom?
In this blog I have shared 10 ways you can use yoga to support a child’s inner creativity. These simple yoga practices can be used at home and in the classroom, so perfect for parents and teachers to use at any time.
Yoga can nurture creativity during the Early Years, whilst simultaneously stimulating other areas of development such as: personal, social and emotional, physical, intellectual, communication and language, mathematics and understanding the world.
In children’s yoga classes we explore themes and storytelling. We do this to blend exercise, relaxation, mindfulness and education. All the while, encouraging health, well-being and supporting creative expression. It is well known that the ancient art of yoga promotes health, but it can also help to unlock creativity – an essential component of learning.
‘’When I practice, I am a philosopher, When I teach, I am a scientist, When I demonstrate, I am an artist.” B.K.S Iyengar
As we move our bodies into interesting shapes, our brains and sense of self-awareness are influenced. Without competition or judgement, we allow children to explore poses in their own time. We are not trying to attain perfect yoga but are creatively finding fun ways to imitate animals, birds, insects and man-made objects with our bodies and our breath.
In these 10 simple yoga practices we start to explore learning areas and awaken our creativity. We also exercise our bodies, notice our feelings and learn about the world around us.
1. Begin with child’s pose
For this starting pose I have included a suggested script you can learn and use with your child.
Practising tree pose
Grow from a resting seed into a beautiful tree
Roll yourself into a tiny ball, feeling your belly on your thighs (this child’s pose position is wonderfully calming and is also a great massage for the digestive system). Then be still as we lay dormant through the winter. As spring arrives we slowly start to unfurl, stretching and breathing into our back body. Wiggle your toes (these little toe bones are called phalanges) as your roots drink in some water. Now bring your hands together and as we slowly stand up, imagine your shoot pushing up through the soil, stretching your arms up high as your stem looks for light. Then grow your branches out wide, let your fingers pop out like leaves.
Eventually some flowers may form and even some fruit. See if you can lift one leg now in the tree pose – finding a focal point to keep your attention and help you balance. Feel steady and calm or try and gently sway from side to side, on tip toes, root down. Do what feels right for your body, don’t worry about anyone else’s tree – see what happens if we close our eyes, notice your emotions and thoughts. Now connect branches with the person next to you. Become a forest together – notice if the balancing becomes easier when we are connected. If you were a tree – what kind of tree would you be?
As we come into these physical postures we are starting to become more mindful. The practice of mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, improve wellbeing and promote the innovative thinking that supports a child’s inner creativity.
According to Julia Cameron who wrote The Artist’s Way, a wonderful book exploring creativity, the most common hindrance to creative expression is fear. “This thief of joy can stop us in our tracks before we’ve even attempted to express ourselves.” Yoga offers a great platform to have conversations about emotions and feelings and any issues that may be occurring at home or in school.
2. Just breathe, breathe, breathe.
Teaching a child to be aware of their breath can allow them to acknowledge and take control of their emotions. Proper breathing affects mental and physical wellbeing, concentration, energy levels, memory and sleep patterns. Through breathing exercises, we learn to recognise our emotions – breathing out stress, breathing in peace and tranquillity, exhaling anger and inhaling joy.
Hand breath is a wonderful mindful breathing exercise that can instantly calm the heart rate, deepening the breath and quietening the mind. Hold one hand in front of you and with the other trace the fingers – breath in as you trace up the outside of the finger and breath out as you trace down the inside of the finger – repeat with all fingers. One hand equals five deep, slow, even breaths – two hands are even better.
3 Developing confidence and independence to support inner creativity
Encouraging children to do simple, independent tasks like rolling up their own mats, pouring their own water, choosing which pose they would like to practice – will positively affect self-confidence and self-worth. When a child’s confidence grows, creativity flows and so does the ability to express freely.
Enjoy the outdoors and yoga
4. Let the volcano erupt.
The Volcano Pose.
This is a useful exercise to reflect on our feelings. Talk to a child about anger or fear – what colour do they think it might be? Where do they feel it in the body? When they are feeling this way what are some of the reactions they might have? Embrace what you are feeling, come into Mountain Pose, bring your hands together down in front of the pit of your belly – imagine here lies a burning hot angry magma … breathe in as we lift this angry/anxious feeling up through the body and let it explode out of the top like an erupting volcano. Now feel the lava start to cool … think about something that makes you feel peaceful, content, safe, happy … and breathe this feeling through the body. Remember to ask them to notice how different they feel afterwards.
Benefits of the Volcano Pose:
Giving children tools to recognise their breath and emotions, unwind and lower stress levels can ultimately help children tap into their creative minds and support a child’s inner creativity. We explore the breath in many creative ways: riding beanie babies on our bellies as we fill our lungs with fresh air; blowing feathers and cotton wool balls as we explore long exhalations; playing pretend trumpets which empty our lungs completely.
All this breath play, helps children to explore the differences they feel after slow, deep breath or fast, shallow breathing. When we are stressed our breathing speeds up. It becomes short and shallow which activiates the amygdala in the limbic system of the brain. Therefore our fight, fright, flight or freeze responses are evoked. Strong emotions like anger, fear and anxiety come out to play and abstract thinking and creativity can be stunted. Sometimes just stopping and taking a deep breath can bring us back into the moment and shift the gears of the brain and its responses.
5.Uplift with name games and affirmations in poses.
As we introduce ourselves we share what we are feeling grateful for or think about what part of our body we love the most. Sometimes whilst holding a pose we incorporate affirmations. These are positive self-statements that promote constructive behaviour such as compassion, self-esteem, peace and honesty.
Here’s how it could work:
When holding the warrior poses… Warrior 1 – I am smart, Warrior 2 – I am strong, Warrior 3 – I am balanced … I am beautiful, I am brave etc. The mind is a powerful thing and repeating positive affirmations helps us believe them, feel them and become them.
6. Express yourself through questions
Asking questions after poses encourages curiosity and nurtures creativity in the yoga class and in everyday situations. How do you feel after a relaxation? What did you notice during this balancing pose? What did you feel in your body and mind during this strong pose? Did you feel calm or energised?
Through specific themes we discover the anatomy of our bodies and learn the scientific names for bones and muscles. A question like, ‘if you were a butterfly where would you fly right now’ develops curiosity about the world and travel. Some will choose Jamaica: others may choose the local supermarket. It’s important to honour and welcome all answers as they are all creative and exploratory in there own way.
Enjoying yoga together
7. Be stronger together.
We encourage intrapersonal development through meditation, mindfulness and poses practiced independently. We also want to nurture a child’s interpersonal side. Whilst competition in yoga is discouraged we do encourage group and partner poses and games. These can dramatically improve connection, awaken creativity, cultivate trust and encourage social interaction with peers. Nurturing and honouring good friendships and relationships is very important for a fulfilled life. If you have siblings or a group of child in a classroom, let them join together to create a forest of trees, or a giant beautiful flower with everyone becoming a petal!
8.Explore the world.
Through the reading and sharing of books we can explore rainforests, oceans, jungles, space and countries around the globe. Nearly all yoga poses are nature and of course there are the man-made objects. We plant seeds in learning areas so that the children are constantly learning new facts through the poses – ecology, science, biology and even some maths. We explore different cultures, languages, foods, instruments and music from different continents, developing an awareness and appreciation for sound and rhythm. In addition we can use mandalas for drawing meditations. Or create pictures with items we collect on walks such as leaves, acorns, flowers and little sticks.
9. Move the body.
Children become more aware of their bodies as they move into poses. They use their imaginations to explore the world around them. This reminds them to listen to their body and observe how it feels. The body is strengthened and senses are awakened and educated. Each pose has a profound effect on aligning the body and balancing all its intricate systems. Try asking your child or children how they feel? What do they notice in their body after trying a yoga pose? They could share this out loud or just think it to themselves.
For example, brain balance poses such as the eagle, help to connect the left and right hemisphere of the brain by crossing the body’s midline. The left side of the brain governs logic while the right hemisphere coordinates tasks that involve creativity and the arts.
Children in meditation
10. Relaxation is key for supporting a child’s inner creativity.
True physical and mental relaxation is an important benefit of yoga. Deep relaxation balances the entire nervous system, putting us into the calm state of rest and digest. This is an optimal state to allow our creative juices to flow. The perfect practice for this is lying down in savasana. You could read a story or ask them to concentrate on their breathing and thinking about each part of their body becoming soft.
It’s clear that yoga and mindfulness provide a wonderful platform to explore and support a child’s inner creativity. These simple practices can be used at anytime to help develop your child’s inner creativity – turning boredom into exploration!
Did you know that you don’t have to be a yoga teacher to train in children’s yoga teacher training? Parents and teachers make brilliant children’s yoga teachers. If you’d like to learn how you can support a child’s inner creativity maybe you should consider training to teach. Have a look at our range of courses.
Teaching yoga to children is not just about physical poses or story telling.
Have you ever heard the saying; yoga is not about touching your toes but rather what you learn on the way down? Scrolling through Instagram, you might perceive yoga as an activity for super flexible bodies, dressed in funky clothing and contorting into impossible poses. I’m sure anyone of any shape or age who has attended a yoga class knows in actuality it is so much more. The poses are merely one part of this ancient practice and for children there are many other important aspects to consider. In this blog we look at Patanjali’s Eightfold Path and specifically how we include yoga philosophy in children’s classes.
Dharana – we use mudras to help us focus and concentrate
Without philosophy, yoga would be gymnastics.
Yoga is not just about the physical poses but is made up of 8 different parts called the eight limbs of yoga. The Eightfold Path is the heart of yoga philosophy and offers a way to develop a healthy, peaceful life. This ancient code consists of universal principles, personal disciplines, postures, breathing, focus, concentration, meditation and the opportunity to experience joy in every moment.
These 8 limbs of yoga are:
Yama: social restraints or ethical values similar to universal commandments
Niyama: our personal disciplines
Asanas: physical exercises
Pranayama: breath control or regulation
Pratyahara: sense withdrawal in preparation for meditation
Incorporating yoga philosophy in children’s classes using the Yoga Tree of Life
To introduce the Eightfold Path and yoga philosophy in children’s classes we use the concept of the yoga Tree of Life. Looking at an image of this tree we share examples as we explore yoga theory. We ultimately want to encourage children to “live” their yoga off the mat too. The best way as teachers to impart this philosophy is to truly practice what we teach for children to observe and absorb. By understanding and following the Eightfold Path children can achieve a healthy body, wise mind and the ability to feel compassion, whilst ultimately finding true inner peace and reflecting this outwardly too.
1. Yama – The Roots
Ahimsa – Non-violence
Violence is not only physical but can manifest in the words we speak. In our children’s yoga classes we encourage children to speak with kindness to others and to themselves whilst developing positive affirmations together.
Asteya – Non-covetousness / stealing
Encourage children to come up with their own creative ideas and if they are to copy someone or something to give credit. Do not take anything that does not belong to you, just take a moment to think about how you would feel if something was taken from you. This is important with time keeping too as being late is also stealing another person’s time.
Satya – Truth
Always speak your truth and act in a way that is true to your inner self and integrity. Only make promises that you can keep as honesty creates trust and more self-confidence.
Brahmacharya – Self-control
This yama is about greed and desire, which is a big problem in today’s society as we always want more! This can refer to food, sweets, toys, clothes, new technology etc. Teach children not to take more than they need and to be grateful for what they have. A great story that we use whilst teaching this yoga philosophy in children’s classes, is the story of Ubuntu. The direct translation of this is word and philosophy is, “I am because we are.”
Aparigraha – Non-accumulation of needless wealth and materials, non-possessiveness.
For many children the amount of possessions they have is very important (media and advertising have a lot to answer for here). Ultimately we are trying to detach from too many possessions, so encourage your children to give some of their unused items to charity.
2. Niyama – The Trunk
Saucha – Cleanliness and purity
This refers to our bodies, thoughts and words. As adults we can set the example by living a clean, balanced life with exercise and healthy food, caring for the environment and not speaking negatively in front of children.
Santosha – Satisfaction and contentment
To be satisfied with all that we have and all that we are may be one of the most important Niyamas. To accept what is and remain unaffected by what may be taken away.
Tapas – Self-discipline and the the ability to try and work hard
Encourage children to practice yoga at a certain time each day or week as this will develop positive habits. Perhaps they could try a few sun salutations each morning or 5 minutes of quiet sitting each evening. We know that hard work pays off so let’s teach this to our children too.
Svadhyaya – Introspection and self-study
Children have many questions about life so let us encourage them to think about these and enjoy such discussions. Introduce meditation and contemplation exercises to get to know one’s self and try to be the best person you can be.
Ishvara – Pranidhana – Faith in a higher Power/source
A belief or understanding in something bigger than ourselves and our egos. Something that is not driven by our individual wishes and desires.
All Yoga Poses/Asana can be practiced solo or with friends
3. Asana/Poses – The Branches
By practicing physical asanas we improve our circulation, respiration and digestion. Our body becomes stronger and supple and our memory, concentration and willpower improve. Asanas help us to be calm and are also very important for a healthy body and mind. In children’s yoga we explore traditional poses in fun accessible ways whilst teaching all the benefits that yoga has to offer. Some represent living things like cobra, lizard, eagle and trees. Some poses mimic natural forms like our standing mountain pose. Others represent man-made objects such as boat, bridge, chair and some are inspired by geometric shapes like triangle pose. We also give the children opportunities to make up their own poses.
4. Pranayama/Control of Breath – The Leaves
Practice breathing exercises to teach about inhalation and exhalation and the importance of our breath. There are many fun ways to introduce children to recognising in controlling their breath for example: blowing feathers and bubbles, breathing with the Hoberman Sphere, breathing deeply with hands on the belly etc. Until a child is 12 years old and their lungs have fully developed it is important not to encourage retention of breath.
5. Pratyahara/Control of Senses – The Bark
Here we use poses and activities to stimulate and educate the senses. Eyes around the clock wakes up our visual sense, listening to different sounds with the eyes closed, mindful tasting, smelling different scents and exploring feely bags to encourage the tactile sense.
6. Dharana/Concentration – The Sap
Balancing poses such as Tree, Warrior 1, 2 and 3 are wonderful for increasing focus and concentration. Present warriors in the context of determination, perseverance, focus, concentration, strength and personal power. Try to incorporate affirmations such as “I am brave. I am balanced. I have the strength and focus to realise my dreams.”
We also like to include mudras into our children’s yoga classes to encourage focus. If you would like to find out more about incorporating these into your children’s yoga classes, you would be welcome to join one of our upcoming Mythology, Mantra and Mudra workshops.
Dhyana – Relaxation and Meditation
7. Dhyana/Meditation – The Flowers
Relaxation and guided imagery are ways to introduce meditation to young children. Encourage drawing mandala meditation, sitting meditation and mindful exercises. Dhyana should be uninterrupted, deep concentration for a prolonged period.
8. Samadhi/Enlightenment – The Fruit
We cannot show this full realization to a child, but the feeling just after you have eased yourself up from your relaxation – that blissed out and happy sensation might be just a tiny glimpse of Samadhi.
Yoga is a way of life.
Children’s yoga is not just about story telling or clowning around. When practicing yoga poses with children, it is important to introduce them to yoga theory and philosophy too. To give them an understanding of yoga in its entirety so that they are not blindly following what you are doing. They can then internalise a greater knowledge of yoga’s benefits, where it originated and all aspects that will take their practice to a deeper level.