Yoga is a science of health. it is a combination of postures, relaxation, breath awareness and practices, meditation, mind and emotional management and a study of knowledge that provides support, structure and rhythm for the whole body.
Yoga is also a discipline. it is an experiential science, in that it works through the practice. The word Yoga means union and so it is a process of developing skills that allows the practitioner to be in union with body and mind, mind and emotion, inner and outer worlds and internal and external expectations. It works initially to provide an external rhythm through fun and discipline that over time helps people manage themselves and their personality in a positive and creative way.
Kids and Yoga
Every child wants to be happy and at peace or comfortable with themselves. They want to achieve, to be competent and successful. They want to be loved and be able to love and be successful in their relationships. Children want to be free and need to learn that freedom is the freedom to be yourself without hindering or harming anyone else’s freedom.
Teaching yoga in a creative and fun way and in a safe place will allow the yoga to do the job. Yoga helps with developing an internal sense of achievement.
Classes are kept small and are age specific and classes are designed to meet kids’ needs. Yoga is fantastic for concentration and relaxation, self-confidence, coordination, flexibility and strength, posture and establishing excellent physical, emotional and mental health.
The agreements that I make with the children who attend yoga, or with the school classes I teach are:
- There are no mistakes It is an experience and a practice of continual improvement.
- We are going to have fun Laughing is allowed. We all learn better when we are having fun because that is the genetic reward for learning.
- We can ask questions During the class we discuss the different effects of the yoga we are practicing. Over time, the children are developing processes they create for learning. For example, in term 1 2012, one group created a circle time at the beginning of each session.
- If we fall over, we fall over on the outgoing breath and then get up and do the practice again It is easy to give in and not try or succeed by failure. By encouraging children to try again, to have another go in a safe, non-judgemental environment, it helps build their resilience and self-belief.
- We may not wreck anyone else’s class If kids are unable to concentrate, if they vague out or get confused, it is their job to let other kids continue to do the yoga and to stay out of their way.
- We stay in the room Sometimes kids are tired, or having difficulty. as long as they remain in the room they cannot refuse to hear or see what is happening and so their learning continues.
- We don’t touch anyone else unless instructed Sometimes we do partner activities in the class. This is harder for kids than for adults because it is easy to get distracted when working with someone else. The partner activities are chosen to assist kids to learn to work together and to listen to themselves simultaneously. Limiting touch means it is easier for kids to stay focussed on and in themselves.
Over each term, I focus on age appropriate yoga that will assist with physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. I introduce language that allows kids to develop more self-awareness of their own needs and behaviours, and that assists them to assess and self-evaluate themselves and their behaviour. They are learning to imagine themselves as little cars and they are learning to be the driver of themselves.
Feedback from the kids
“I just love yoga, I’m not sure why.” (Participant in 10-12 year old class, 2012)
“Thankyou for teaching us to relax.” (Participant in a Year 7 class, 2011)
“Go yoga. I love it.” (Participant in 7-9 year old class, 2012)
“We learned how to be calm when we are upset.” (Participant in a Year 7 class, 2011)
Feedback from parents and carers
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