We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.Albert Einstein
Teaching yoga to children has been the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life. One aspect of it that's so inspiring and nourishing to my soul is watching children light up with a new understanding of themselves and their world.It happens all the time. It's a natural part of child development and I feel so honored to bear witness to it.When I started teaching yoga to children I didn't know how they would respond. I was excited about it and clearly understood the profound life-long benefits. But I didn't know if kids would like it or if I could find a way to engage them. I remember feeling very nervous before a new session, wondering what the kids would be like or how I could connect with them.What I discovered over all these years is that children love yoga, just because it's yoga! At first I felt like a performer trying to entertain the kids with games and stories, hula hoops and balloons. But soon I realized that what the children really loved was the yoga postures, the guided relaxation and even meditation!I was delightfully surprised to discover that a favorite tool from yoga was mudras. Very few yoga teachers (of adults or children) incorporate these hand gestures into their classes. Mudras are relegated to this mystical corner of yoga that most ignore. But understanding their value, I decided to be brave and introduce them in my classes.I know they work because when children come back to class and excitedly run in to tell me what they did during the week between classes, it was often these hand gestures! They loved to place their hands in a shape and get an immediate benefit. What they loved most was feeling empowered to choose an action, take that action and get the result – all by themselves.Now mudras are a central part of all classes. If you've ever taken a workshop or training with us, you've learned how to use mudras. They are so quick and easy.And they're effective. They tune us into the subtle energies of the body. They help to shape and direct this energy by touching or pressing specific points on the fingers and the thumb. Many wellness modalities from the East use knowledge of the body's energy channels to facilitate health and healing.These hand gestures can facilitate self-regulation skills and awareness. Mudras may help children quickly feel calm, centered and assured. They can also help cultivate a strong, clear and balanced mind. Each mudra has its own effect and its own healing capacity. They are like mini yoga poses for your hands.Even if you're not familiar with the term "mudras", you have probably seen…or maybe even practiced…one yourself. Jnana mudra is the one that comes to mind when most people picture someone meditating in lotus pose – with their first fingers touching thumbs.
aruna yoga masters
When I first started teaching kids yoga I was not very good at it. I knew the yoga part, but not how to make it interesting and gain cooperation. I cried after my first class. The kids flat out told me yoga was boring and they didn't want to be there.
I quickly realized if I was going to keep teaching yoga to children, I would need to know both parts of that equation. Engagement + Yoga = A Great Kids Yoga Class.
I became a supply staff in a daycare centre and learned from some really wonderful teachers who could quiet a room with a whisper or a song or a game. They even made cleaning up delightful!