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First Steps in Teaching Yoga to Kids

First Steps in Teaching Yoga to Kids

First Steps in How to Teach Yoga to Kids:

Discover how to teach a child yoga class with these simple steps.

How can I get started teaching yoga to children?

What are the best ways to teach yoga to different ages of kids?

Help! I need some mindfulness games that I can try at home with my child.

how to teach yoga to kids
photo cutesy of Sara J. Weis

Are you curious about how to handle the controversy of practicing yoga in schools? What about using the word Namaste?  My friend Catharine, over at Mindfulness Teachers, got to the bottom of these questions and many more in her interview. Find out the answers to these questions and much more on her First Steps to Teaching Yoga to Kids Series.

kids yoga books
Brand New! Go Go Yoga for Kids E-Store: Find all of your favorite Kids Yoga Lesson Plans and Resources. Receive your purchase immediately.

Kids yoga is a non-competitive activity that allows them to have fun and exist outside of the daily stresses of life. It helps children learn about themselves by being present and mindful in their bodies.

When I teach kids yoga, the emphasis is on creativity and having fun as they pretend to be a cat, tree, superhero, or wherever the poses and their imaginations lead them. While learning the yoga basics they are also discovering how the poses make them feel.

Through yoga, children will experience body awareness, empowerment, and ways to slow down and be in the moment, all in a safe and fun environment. Each new year and stage of development brings with it a unique excitement and challenge.

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The Best Ways to Teach Yoga to Different Ages of Kids

The Best Ways to Teach Yoga to Different Ages of Kids

Kids yoga is a non-competitive activity that allows them to have fun and exist outside of the daily stresses of life. It helps children learn about themselves by being present and mindful in their bodies. It’s important to change the lessons based on how best to teach yoga to different ages of kids.

When I teach kids yoga, the emphasis is on creativity and having fun as they pretend to be a cat, tree, superhero, or wherever the poses and their imaginations lead them. While learning the yoga basics they are also discovering how the poses make them feel.

kids yoga class
We are having fun pretending to be a shark swimming in the ocean by practicing Shark Pose.

Through yoga, children will experience body awareness, empowerment, and ways to slow down and be in the moment, all in a safe and fun environment. Each new year and stage of development brings with it a unique excitement and challenge.

The following general guidelines, found from my interview with Catharine Hannay of Mindful Teachers, will help you decide what types of yoga games and activities are most appropriate for your students or your own children.

Read my full interview and Important Kids Yoga Age Grouping Ideas here.

yoga kids books
NOW OPEN: Go Go Yoga for Kids E-Store

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Best Practices in Teaching Yoga to Kids

Best Practices in Teaching Yoga to Kids

“Yoga makes you feel good inside and out and it is also fun! It is form of active movement and exercise that really works with kids.” Sara J. Weis of Go Go Yoga for Kids

What are the best practices in teaching yoga to children? How has teaching yoga to children changed over the years? These are just a few questions and more that are answered. I was honored to be interviewed by Catharine Hannay of Mindful Teachers.

In this Mindful Teachers Q+A, Sara discusses what she’s learned from the coronavirus crisis, as well as from her 20+ years teaching kids.

stillness and savasana
Surprisingly, Stillness & Savasana often becomes a favorite part of their kids yoga class. Learn more about how to plan engaging, fun, and memorable kids yoga classes in our free Kids Yoga Lesson Planning 101 Training.

In an earlier post, you shared The Top Three Breathing Exercises for Anxious Kids. What are some additional ways parents and teachers can help kids handle uncertainty and anxiety?

We are in time of such uncertainty and change. It is important for kids and parents to recognize their feelings and understand that it is ok to not always be ok. Take a moment and recognize those undesirable feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, and depression and then move on.

Here are some easy ways to do that with your family:

  • Establish and build a new routines and schedules as quickly as possible. Our schedules are so now different now and even though the days feel the same, they are not. This can cause additional anxiety. 
    • Have children go to bed and wake up at the same time.
    • Create established learning/school time; and
    • Build in time for physical activity. Include simple mindfulness times, for example through a mindfulness game. 
  • Finally, practice and express gratitude daily. 
    • My family does this every night at dinner. We share what we are thankful for and why. This is simple, but effective, and takes the focus off our ourselves and our uncertainties.

Find out more here about my thoughts on some controversy of using the word Namaste and practicing yoga in schools as well as easy to make adaptations for children with mental and physical disabilities.

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We Need Yoga for Anxiety Now More Than Ever

We Need Yoga for Anxiety Now More Than Ever

We are currently living in a time of high uncertainty with news of the Coronavirus Pandemic and required social distancing. This is leaving us increasingly anxious about the unknown, the future, and these unprecedented times. As parents and caregivers, we need to be taking into account the children in our lives and how they are being affected as well with yoga for anxiety. 

In these times of stress and turmoil, we understandably cannot eliminate the anxiety, but we can help manage it in some positive ways. This includes modeling and helping the kids we love and care about.

We all need the physical and mental benefits that yoga for anxiety can bring. It doesn’t need to be an in-depth long practice, but just by some conscious breathing or calming poses can help make a positive difference in how you feel.

Simple Tips on Managing Stress & Anxiety With Kids

  1. Be intentional about slowing your breath. You can do this with children in fun kid-friendly ways. Here are our Top 3 Breathing Exercises for Anxious Kids.
  2. Practice a few grounding and centering yoga poses together as a family. Try these relaxing and centering ideas.
  3. Teach kids what they CAN control. They can control good hygiene, handwashing, and getting fresh air and exercise. This helps get those positive endorphins pumping through their bodies. It also helps them feel a little more in control. We love these Active Movement ideas; guaranteed to get hearts pumping and smiles on faces.
  4. Think outside yourself. Taking action and helping others is always a good anxiety decreaser and mood booster. Grab some extra groceries for someone who may be shut-in. Smile at others when you are out and about. Be kind. Be patient. Be thankful for all of the nurses, doctors and professionals who are doing all they can in this time of need.

It is okay to worry! Allow yourself time to acknowledge those feelings, but don’t let it consume you and steal your time and joy. Let’s all do our best to stay healthy, positive and unified in these unprecedented times.

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The Best of Kids Yoga

The Best of Kids Yoga

Happy New Year! It has been a wonderful year for Go Go Yoga for Kids. We have loved bringing the joy and fun of yoga to thousands of others through our Kids Yoga Lesson Plan Books, Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards, App, and most importantly our online Kids Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Training. We have now certified over 3500 people from all over the world and are sharing the love and joy of kids yoga with others.

I have always loved reflecting on the year and thinking about how we can help even more others in the next year. I am also such a fan of “Year-End Reviews” and “Best of” Lists. So without much further ado…

Here are your Top Kids Yoga Favorite Posts from this year:

5. Kids Need Yoga! Don’t Miss These 7 Super Benefits of Yoga for Children

4. Simple Ways to Get Children to Listen (that you haven’t tried)

3. Mini Yoga Brain Breaks for Kids

kids yoga class
“The Light in Me Sees the Light in You. Namaste” at a recent kids yoga class

2. How to Create an Epic Kids Yoga Obstacle Course

1.The Top 5 Secrets to Teaching Yoga to Kids

yoga game
Children Love Practicing Their Poses with Yoga Games

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Mini Yoga Brain Breaks for Kids

Mini Yoga Brain Breaks for Kids

As a teacher and a parent myself, I understand that more than anything that we want to help set our children up for success. We want our children to be prepared and confident at school, sports, activities, and at home.

We desire for our children to be in a collaborative, creative, calm and supported classroom environment. That is the kind of classroom I strive to provide for my students and you can be sure that is the kind of environment I want my own children in.

The good news is that we can help our own children and students be successful in their experiences. By incorporating easy breathing exercises, mindfulness, and simple stress-reducing yoga poses into brain breaks, kids will become more focused and attentive. That will then help our children to develop greater empathy toward one another and feel more confident and successful themselves.

Kids Need Brain Breaks

Yoga for kids is becoming more common throughout schools, clubs,and activities. With only a few moments each day, you can help kids achieve the benefits that yoga provides. These can be done at home, school, camps, or clubs.

I am a firm believer that children need active brain breaks throughout the day to learn best. Research has shown that students learn best by taking a break or moving their bodies every 15 minutes. Sadly, recess and physical education times are already being reduced in schools, which takes away the active movement that children need.

When using yoga with children, it does not need to be in a structured class with objectives and benchmarks. You are simply allowing the children to move their bodies in good and healthy ways. It doesn’t need to take long and can subtly be incorporated into what you are already doing.

Favorite Kids Yoga Brain Breaks:

Pick a Card Any Card:

When children are waiting for the next activity or standing in line, fan out the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards and select one child to pick a card. Everyone then practices the pose. This is perfect to use during a transition time when you only have a few moments.

Let it Go:

Practice fun breathing exercises. These techniques reduce stress and improve focus before tests, transition times, or during an activity that you know will require concentration and focus.

Find our Favorite Breathing Exercises for Anxious Kids here. You will also like these fun Breathing Exercises that REALLY work with Kids.

Balance Made Fun:

Waiting quietly in line for the next activity can definitely be a challenge for children. Make the time pass quickly by selecting a balance pose from the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards. The children will then hold that balance pose while counting by 5’s or 10’s. I also like to have them count to 10 in another language.

Tree Pose

Grab a Buddy:

Children love working in small groups. It helps them feel a sense of companionship and trust. You can find many partner ideas and illustrations here. The Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards also includes partner poses.

partner pose
Raindrop Partner Pose

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