Reach the Growing Children’s Yoga Market

kid-yoga

Source: The Daily Practice

There’s a saying that if you want to know what your future is going to be like, look to your children. By nurturing our children with yoga from the cradle, we can assure that our future will be brighter and filled with healthier, more peaceful adults. Every studio and teacher should find a way to include yoga classes in the schedule for our youngest members of society.

The following are ideas for classes to help encourage children from the womb through high school.

Prenatal–Nurture the mother-to-be and assist her as she transitions to the mother-baby class.
Mother-baby class–This class can be any style you wish, however, it should address the mother’s need for community and support the baby’s needs. You could offer a stronger asana practice involving some interaction with baby or a solely baby-interactive class.
Parent-toddler class–Lead the parent in a stronger yet still playful yoga class, while letting the child toddle around in a prepared child-centered environment or allow the child to participate with the parent. Incorporate some songs or finger rhymes with animal poses to engage the toddler. But don’t expect anything of the child other than voluntary activity. Alternatively, hold a 20- to 30-minute class just for the toddlers during which you teach basic poses of animals along with games, music and storytelling that includes plenty of tactile and visuals, such as puppets and pictures.
Preschool class–Children aged 3 to 5 and even kindergartners can join this class. Make this 30- to 45-minute class playful and teach children yoga asana and breathing through music, storytelling, games and more. Relaxation and meditation should be very simple.
Lower elementary–This would be similar to the preschool class, but should up to an hour long and a bit more serious, yet still playful. Kids are still just growing into their bodies. Relaxation and guided meditation can be a little longer and filled with rich imagery and positive self-image.
Upper elementary–Girls up to fifth grade typically are still into the playfulness of youth yoga previously described. Boys by fifth grade, however, are ready for more asana and structure, discipline and strengthening. Use storytelling to set themes for self-reflection and acting out yoga postures. Add journaling and discussions about life themes and teach from the point of a pep talk, seeking to inspire and guide the youth in the practice and as a metaphor for life.
Middle school and high school–At this age, use stories to set the theme of a class and a full range of asana. The themes should address issues that teens have in their own lives, like self-confidence, stress and peer issues. Tell personal stories about your own teen years, so that children can connect and find guidance and security. Encourage journaling and self-reflection, as well as discussion.

Consider offering separate classes for boys and girls during the early teen years as a rite of passage, inspiring youth in a nurturing and safe environment. Find heroic stories of the Greeks and Hindus or King Arthur for boys, and fairy tales, feminine folklore, and Greek and Hindu myths for girls. Encourage healthy body image, nutrition, regular practice and mediation to assist in seeing life clearly during the confusing high school times.

Most of all, enjoy your classes with children and teens. Remember to be yourself and have fun.

Sydney Solis is the creator of Storytime Yoga and the author of Storytime Yoga: Teaching Yoga to Children Through Story, among other books.

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