Congratulations! You've completed your kids' yoga teacher training and are on your way to teach your first kids yoga class. So other than your lesson plan and an open heart, what should you have in your yoga kit?
1. Bell or singing bowl: Having a singing bowl or bell is essential in my yoga kit. I use the sound as a transition from one activity to another. If things get a bit loud, I'll quietly play the singing bowl and see who can hear it first (this is a guaranteed classroom-quieter). Since I'm all about the collective classroom, if I allow a child to teach his or her favorite pose, I'll give him/her the mic in the form of the teacher's bell. Kids love to learn to sing the singing bowl, too, which can be another yoga reward, praising effort!
2. Feathers: Feathers make breath visible. And when practicing pranayama (breathing exercises) sometimes seeing the breath can add another level of learning to the experience of feeling the breath in the body, and the effects of slowing or speeding up or alternating breath. You can then keep the feathers nearby when practicing bird poses, such as crow or pigeon.
3. Pictures: I like to plan my lessons to address as many learning styles, and senses, as possible. I use music, counting, rhyme, partner and teamwork, introspection and, visuals. Having pictures of yoga poses can help visual learners a lot. Don't have a lot of extra cash for fancy yoga posters? Use old yoga magazines to create collages, or better yet, make it an asana art project, and create collages in class with young yogis.
4. Stickers: Praise praise praise! It's way more fun and effective to acknowledge all the successes in kids’ yoga class than to redirect the challenges. I like to have stickers or other tangible treats (I found a sanskrit OM stamp at a local shop that made my day) to congratulate young yogis on work well done. Who doesn't want a sticker? Even I could go for one.
5. Love: Bring your love. Love for your practice. Love for the kids. Love for yourself. Kids learn through example, and if you teach from a place of joy and love for yoga, kids will pick this up and run with it. If you come to the class with compassion and caring for them, they'll feel it. If you show up as a teacher who respects herself and cares for herself, they'll see that and emulate that, too.
Just don't bring your preconceived notions. Because in a kids' yoga class they'll get kicked out the door.
And if you're interested in teaching kids yoga, find out about my next teacher training starting December 9th here.