The hustle, bustle, stress, and strain of life are not exclusive to the adult population. Children are also exposed to hectic lifestyles, and now, more than ever before, children need a way to let go, unwind, and find a balanced center.
What better way to do that than with yoga? But just how easy is it to explain and teach yoga to kids? Some find it quite tricky.
There are many effective ways you can explain what yoga is all about to your kids, and I would love to share that with you.
10 useful ways to explain yoga to your kids:
- Use language that kids can understand,
- Make it fun,
- Be playful and patient,
- Use storytelling and drawing as teaching tools,
- Teach that there is a pose for most things in this world,
- Explain the physical fitness and health benefits,
- Demonstrate how yoga can be used to feel calmer, less frustrated,
- Create games to demonstrate poses and techniques,
- Use yoga-inspired children’s books,
- Use printable posters.
It all sounds quite easy enough, doesn’t it? Explaining yoga to kids is all about hands-on interaction. The best way to explain it to kids is to put it into action and to make the experience as fun as possible. If the kids are looking forward to the next lesson; you are doing something right.
If you are thinking about becoming a kid’s yoga teacher or want to teach your own kids about yoga, find some helpful advice on putting the above tips into action below.
How to Explain & Teach Yoga to Your Kids
Are you ready to learn how to get your kids to understand yoga and what it is all about? Below are some helpful tips to get started. Let’s jump right in.
1. Use language that kids can understand.
If you want to explain yoga to your kids, you should probably avoid the difficult to pronounce terms for the poses. Kids need to learn in a language that they can relate to and actually understand.
Think about it in terms of yourself… If you pick up an article and it’s filled with jargon and complex terms, how much of it will you really end up reading? It’s much the same with kids. If it seems complicated or confusing, you are going to lose their interest.
When teaching breathing, think about “breath like a bunny” and when it comes to balance and holding poses, perhaps think of terms likes “balance like a giraffe”. Anything that is simple and easily understood, and of course, kid-friendly will really help you to better explain what to do when practicing yoga.
2. Make it fun.
Making yoga introductions fun is absolutely essential. Kids are all about fun. If an activity seems like it is “work” or a chore, chances are that kids will shy away from it. Incorporate fun phrases, use rewards for achievements, and get kids to interact.
Remember that kids are not adults and think very differently. If you can get them interested in having fun a few times a week instead of “attending a lesson”, you will find teaching kids about yoga a lot easier.
3. Be playful and patient.
As a teacher, you need to have a playful approach. Young kids will want to bond with their teacher, but they will not do that if they feel that you are a dictator demanding poses and stances that have no real logical value to them.
Experts say that children learn the most when playing. Of course, this leaves a lot of opportunities for kids to get distracted and go a little off course when learning and practicing. Be patient if kids lose track of what they are meant to be doing. Rather gently regain their attention or try to use their playfulness as a teaching opportunity.
4. Use storytelling and drawing as teaching tools.
Kids love a good story, and just because they are kids, you cannot forego trying to explain the actual concept of yoga and how it came about to them.
Explain the story of yoga in simple kid-friendly terms. A good way to do this is to gather the kids together and prepare to tell them a story about the yogis.
Many, many years ago, ancient yogis living in India’s caves and mountains paid special attention to the world around them. They expressed themselves by replicating the movements of their surroundings, including the stars, animals, and trees. The movements that they came up with to demonstrate the world they live in became known as yoga …
Being demonstrative and acting out some of the story can be most helpful. You can even draw some pictures and encourage the kids to draw their own pictures to explain the story.
5. Teach that there is a pose for most things in this world.
Once you have taught the kids the story of the yogis and yoga, it becomes easier to explain that there is a pose for almost everything in the world and that is why yoga has poses with obvious sounding names.
You will need to expose the kids to some of these names but simplify them, so that they become child-friendly. The funnier the names are, the easier it will be for most kids to get on board. Of course, as the kids get older, you can start teaching them the “other” more grown-up names for the poses.
6. Explain the physical fitness and health benefits.
Most kids of school-going age are already learning that it is good to be healthy and active. You can explain to children that yoga is just like other games that are great for fitness, such as soccer, basketball, baseball, and so on.
When kids start to see yoga as a game or “kiddies workout”, they will usually show some interest in learning more. The fact that it seems to be a “team sport” for small kids as it is practiced in a group is also good. Children want to belong and will be keen to get involved in what other children are doing.
7. Demonstrate how yoga can be used to feel calmer, less frustrated.
A great way to teach children about yoga is to do so when they feel frustrated and need an “out”.
When a child has excess energy or is angry, show them how practicing yoga can make those feelings go away. It is more complex to get small children to consider this, but with a bit of effort, you can teach children to practice yoga when they feel angry, sad, frustrated, left out and so on.
Learning emotional coping mechanisms is quite crucial for children growing up in today’s stressful society.
8. Create games to demonstrate poses and techniques.
Yoga is about being able to seamlessly transition from one position to the next. It takes concentration and practice. Kids will not initially be keen to do something that they conceive to be difficult.
The best way to teach children about transitioning, holding poses, and getting the techniques right is to make a game out of it. A good way to do this is to choreograph a series of poses that kids can carry out that follows a particular storyline.
You will need to think up some fun and interesting stories that kids will enjoy. If the story and the poses are enjoyable and fun, you will find that the kids will want to show off the story and moves to others, and this means extra practice and more progress along the way.
9. Use yoga-inspired children’s books.
As mentioned before, children love storytime. If you are not great at coming up with your own stories to tell, you may need a little help from the professionals. Luckily there are a few great yoga-inspired storybooks that you can buy to help your cause and inspire interest in your kids.
One particular book is called “I am Yoga” by Susan Verde. You can check the book out on Amazon here. Another great option is Yoga Pretzels, which provides a variety of fun activities for kids and adults to do. Kids simply love these books, and if you do a bit of browsing around on Amazon and other book stores, you can find a variety of other affordable options to choose from.
10. Use printable posters.
When first explaining yoga to children, it will be difficult for them to visualize and remember the poses immediately. Repetition and consistent exposure are imperative to a child learning something new.
Make printed posters in attractive colors and with compelling pictures for the kids to view. The more they see the images, the more they will think about the poses and want to try to do them. Try to make the posters as big and as eye-catching as possible.
Explaining yoga to your kids can be a fun experience and will be highly beneficial to you and the kids. The sooner your kids learn the art of yoga, the more flexible they will be, and the easier the practice will become over the years. If you really want to get the kids interested and involved, try to make it a group activity that is fun for all involved.