Part 4 of your Kids Yoga Lesson Plan: Active Movement
There is a reason that Active Movement is near the beginning of a kids yoga class. The children are so excited to be there from The Welcome then after theirBreathing Exercisesand Sun Salutations, they are good and ready to move their bodies around the room and use their large muscle groups.
Why Active Movement is Important
Active Movement provides the chance to put all of their well-intentioned energy to good use and let the kids have some fun while moving their bodies and making them strong.
The main benefits of Active Movement are to get students’ hearts pumping, build strength, and get their wiggles out (especially in the younger ages)! They will then be good and ready for the Themed Yoga Poses that will follow.
Yoga is more than breath, it is also about strengthening your whole body as well as your mind!
Follow the Leader
Do Not Overthink
Just move your body in good and healthy ways! That’s it! Turn on some music and for sure join in the fun! The kids love it! After a few moments, turn the music off, settle the children back into a circle. Have the children place a hand on their heart and feel it pumping energetically.
Make Your Heart Happy
I like to explain to the children how they made their hearts so happy. I tell them that sometimes their hearts get very bored when they are sitting for such a long time in front of the TV or video games. I ask them to put their hand on their heart and feel how happy they made their hearts now! Look around the room after you do this. Light bulbs are going off! The children have definitely made a connection with how to make their hearts happy!
Now, grab your Kids Yoga Lesson Planning 101 Guide and jump right in!
Part 3: Sun Salutations for Kids & Connect With Breath
After you and your students have focused on their Breathing Exercises, you can begin Part 3 of your Kids Yoga class with Sun Salutations.
The Sun Salutation portion of a yoga class and is wonderful for warming up the whole body. It is also exciting because your kids yoga students are now ready to connect their breath with this movement.
Keep it Familiar
I like to keep
the Sun Salutations relatively similar for each class. Familiarity builds
confidence. Similar to adults, kids like to feel as if they are in control and
can really pay attention to their breath and movement during the Sun
Salutations if they are comfortable and familiar with the flow.
Sunrise to Sunset
I like to use the analogy of sunrise to sunset with I introduce Sun Salutations to kids. They breathe in and raise their hands above their heads for the sunrise and the dive forward on the exhale over their toes for the Sunset.
At the end of our Sun Salutations, we talk about how we feel stronger, lighter and more focused. This simple exercise is a wonderful way to get their bodies warm and ready for the next Active Movement portion of the class.
After the first part of your Kids Yoga Class which is The Welcome, the next portion involves helping your students slow down and become aware of their breath and how their bodies feel. This is not as easy as it sounds!
When I first started practicing yoga, I used to believe yoga was only about the movement and holding poses. I quickly learned that your breath is actually more important than the poses. If you can hold the pose, but aren’t taking the long deep breaths, then you are actually not doing yoga. It is the breathing that makes it yoga. On the other hand, you could lie in Child’s Pose and breathing for an entire yoga class and that would be yoga.
Breathing with purpose during yoga lets you hold the pose longer and feel stronger while holding it. In addition to this, breathing deeply and consciously helps to strengthen the nervous system, calm anxiety as well as settle into the class and be in the moment.
Kids, however, do not care about any of the above! Therefore it can be difficult to teach children to become aware of their breath. Kids are busy and wiggly, so it is important that you bring these breathing exercises to their level and interest.
Do not worry, we have you covered! There are several ways to practice mindful breathing in a yoga class, but the main goal is to make the children aware while slowing down their bodies and their breath. This is done through child-friendly breathing exercises.
Congratulations on taking the time to truly gain an understanding of why each part of a kids yoga class is important. By following our Kids Yoga Lesson Planning 101 Free Training, everything will easily fall into place for you and your students. A well thought out and organized lesson plan will also create more lasting memories and help with explaining yoga to a child.
The Welcome is the very first part of your kids yoga class and it is the first real class interaction you will have together. The Welcome helps set the tone for how your class will go and helps explain to your students what they will be doing and learning as well as what you expect of them.
When you establish and make a connection
with your students right from the start, it makes such a difference throughout
your class as you introduce and teach breathing exercises, yoga
poses, games, challenges, relaxation, and more.
I think about this in my school classroom as well. Children need to know that they are safe and cared for. When you have a connection and a trust established, then you can truly teach the content, relax, and have fun teaching.
In the beginning of my kids yoga class, I
like to gather the students in a circle and welcome them warmly while having
them introduce themselves. This will help you get an overall sense of their
mood and abilities from the start. It is also the ideal time to reinforce their
names with their faces which comes in handy with the management of the class.
I like to have my students share their name
and answer a question.
Sharing something that they are good at
What do you already know about yoga?
Share why yoga is good for you
Demonstrate any yoga poses that they already know
Ask a theme related question (in relation to the yoga theme of class) such as “Which superhero would you be and why?”
I also like to briefly go over my 3 No-Fail Rules at this time. You only need these three rules to keep your class running seamlessly which is a big deal for the success and involvement of your classes. These 3 No-Fail Rules and many classroom teaching videos are all included in our online Kids Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Training course. Enroll now and work through at your own pace and time with our support throughout.
Remember, you only get one chance to make that first impression. The Welcome does not need to be long, but it is the best opportunity to let kids know how excited you are that they are there and to introduce them to the theme and format for the class.
Creating kids yoga lesson plans is one of my favorite things to do. I love putting all of the varying pieces together to create an engaging, memorable, and fun kids yoga class. One that will make them want to come back again or practice yoga on their own!
Have a Plan in Place
It is very important to have a lesson plan in place before teaching a kids yoga class. Kids thrive on structure and having a plan helps you be intentional and build on previous skills. Children have the desire to learn and try new things. Being organized and prepared helps you take advantage of your limited time with them.
Having a lesson plan or guide ready to go will help you be prepared for teaching yoga to children. This does not mean that you cannot be in the moment and be flexible, but it does mean that you will be prepared for any unexpected event that comes your way.
The attention span of children is short, much shorter than adults. It is important to have a variety of props and activities to help your class run smoothly and accomplish what you want with the time that you have.
Have a Flow and a Purpose
The Go Go Yoga for Kids Lesson Plan format is a no-fail proven formula for teaching yoga to children. This format has been used successfully with thousands of children that gives them the opportunity to grow and learn and for you to teach.
The Go Go Yoga for Kids Lesson Plan format includes each important component of how to successfully teach a quality and engaging kids yoga class. One that they remember and want to come back to yoga again and again!
Our lesson plan format is based on a 45-60 minute kids yoga class. That doesn’t mean that you have to use every part or component and be tied rigorously to it. I want the plan to work for you! However, as you will find, each part of the lesson plan does serve an important and different purpose in creating a satisfying and memorable experience.
Ready to Go
For those of you that want to dive in deeper, our bestselling book; Go Go Yoga for Kids: A Complete Guide to Yoga with Kids covers in full detail each component of teaching a kids yoga class and why each part is important It also includes numerous examples and activities to do with each component of class.
After years of research, lesson planning, and teaching thousands of children yoga, I have completely cracked the code on teaching yoga to kids.
Please understand, I am not trying to be braggy or show off. Believe me it too time to get to this place. Lots and lots of time. In the beginning, I would spend hours and hours planning my kids yoga classes before I felt ready to teach it.
For those of you who love going to adult yoga classes, you may be wondering how hard can it be to plan a kids class. It seems like it should be easy enough. Teach the kids some poses, flow them together for a bit and end up in Savasana. That’s all you need, right?
Wrong. Well not, entirely wrong! Kids yoga and adult yoga are similar in the fact that both include learning and practicing poses, and both end with relaxation. That is where the similarities end, though.
While planning my kids yoga classes, the teacher in me definitely comes through. I absolutely understand the importance of planning and sequencing kids yoga classes so they are appropriately paced, memorable, and kid-friendly. My classroom experience, knowledge of kids, and leading countless kids yoga classes have allowed me to figure out all of the necessary parts of a memorable kids yoga class.
Today I want to share those secrets and lessons learned with you so you will be able confidently to give children the lifelong benefits and fun of yoga.
You may be surprised at some of my findings, but these are success secrets that have worked for me time and time again.
1. Kids Yoga is Different Than Adult Yoga
Children are not mini adults that will follow your every movement in a structured 60-minute vinyasa flow class. They are busy, energetic, and have infinite imaginations and ideas all of their own.
2. Have a Plan, but Be Flexible
Kids yoga classes can be unpredictable, so be ready for anything.Teaching yoga to kids is learning how to live in the moment and demonstrating how to be mindful with yourself and others. That said, there does need to be a plan in place and I am here to help guide you through exactly what to do.
Be prepared, but flexible: This may sound counter-intuitive, but having a lesson plan in place with a theme, related poses, a complementary game, and read-aloud book will send the message that yoga is not a free for all, but something that is important and progressive.
At the same time do not be tied to your lesson plan in a rigid binding way. Kids are not robots. They have energy and varying needs and abilities. Knowing what you want to accomplish with the kids, but being flexible allows for a greater experience for all.
3. Let Go of the Alignment
Yes, it’s true. Your job is to introduce children to yoga in kid-friendly ways. Are they going to care of their left knee is at a perfect 90-degree angle in Warrior 1? No. Demonstrate proper form and ensure their safety, but keep in mind, if children are moving, trying, and having fun; they are learning.
Yoga, after all, is a life long journey. Nobody ever “perfects” yoga. That is why yoga is called a practice. A life long practice.
4. Keep it Moving
End the game on a high note meaning everyone still wants to play. Playing a yoga game over and over again is the surefire way to suddenly have kids that “don’t want to play anymore” or start wandering around and acting up. The recommended Go Go Yoga for Kids amount of time to play a game is 7-10 minutes. Leave them wanting more. I promise the game will be even better received the next class when you announce you are playing it.
5. Join the Fun
If the kids are meowing and mooing from Cat to Cow Pose, be sure you are right there with them. As they practice balancing beanbags on their heads, you better have a bean bag on your head as well. Dancing and skipping around the room? Yep. When kids see you having fun with yoga they will want to have fun with it as well.