Teaching yoga to kids can be so much fun. When kids join you on the yoga mat, it’s easy for them to just plop down and dive into the movement. They curiously watch how you move your body and do their best to mimic the movement in theirs – monkey see, monkey do. You don’t see their minds spinning with responsibilities and to-do lists. Rightfully so, they are there in the present moment. You don’t hear lengthy explanations of why they can or cannot try a pose, they just go for it. There’s also a lot of laughter and sound effects.
Animals – Sound effects and movement in the poses are a must here. Sit in butterfly (Baddha Konasana) and flap your “wings”. Bark in down dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) and howl at the moon in up dog (Urhdva Mukha Svanasana). Wriggle and hiss on the floor in cobra (Bhujangasana).
Alphabet – Pick foods, animals or really anything and have the kids move their bodies to mimic the shape or action. A is for alligator (lay on their belly and snap their arms like jaws), B is for banana (find a standing crescent or locust posture), C is for cat (on all fours, arch the back and hiss), etc. The movement doesn’t have to be an “official” yoga pose. Just let your creativity take over and have fun.
Follow the Leader – Many kids love to be the center of attention, so let them lead. Go around the room and let them pick their favorite pose or link a couple of poses together for the group.
There are lots of great books out there with kid yoga themes. My favorite is “My Daddy is a Pretzel” by Baron Baptiste.
So get out there and find some play either with kids or in your own practice. You may just find something refreshing and fun in your practice.
(This blog was originally posted on yoginiinprogress.blogspot.com.)