This week The Kids Yoga Podcast is joined by Sara Weis, Founder of Go Go Yoga for Kids. They discuss how a running injury led Sara to yoga and how she became inspired to teach kids yoga and start her own company.
Our world is changing, and our kids face different challenges and commitments then they have in the past. There are many demands on kids’ time and pressure to do well at what they are involved in. This includes school, family, friends, sports, quickly changing technology, and other interests. That leaves us with kids who have a lot going on as they try to figure out a way to balance it all.
Not only that, but we know that our world has changed with the pandemic. It is important to continue to help continue to connect with one another (online or in person) as well as teaching them the yoga and mindfulness tools that can carry them into adulthood.
Kids need to learn how to responsibly handle the world we live in. Yoga and mindfulness are skill that can benefit all kids no matter what activities they are involved in or what their interests and abilities are. Yoga meets everyone at any stage and provides incredible extrinsic and intrinsic benefits. Discover the Super 7 Benefits of Yoga for Children here.
Kids that practice yoga are getting stronger mentally and physically. They are healthy, strong, and more confident. Not only this, but it can help them in school, in their extracurricular activities and absolutely in their day to day lives.
#2 It is Easier to Teach Yoga to Children Now More Than Ever
I used my background in Early Childhood and my Master’s Degree in Education as I reviewed and researched child development and the best ways that children learn. I had to figure it out and spent hours and hours researching, writing kids yoga lesson plans, trying them out with kids, and modifying to know exactly what works for teaching yoga to children.
I wanted these kids yoga lesson plans and classes to be engaging, beneficial, and memorable for kids.
Go Go Yoga for Kids prides itself on making yoga for children doable and FUN for the kids AND you to teach. I want you to succeed in teaching yoga to children.
I am excited to share 20+ years of teaching kids compiled for you into our popular online Kids Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Training. I spent years figuring out what works and what doesn’t work for teaching kids yoga. I researched, tried, and tested during hundreds of kids yoga classes until I figured out what really worked! Stop wasting your time trying to piece random things into something that works.
I want to make this easy for you. I want you to be able to completely go into any kids environment (studios, camps, clubs, classes, at home) and confidently introduce children to yoga. I know you can give those children quality and inspiring classes. It is so exciting and truly makes such a positive difference.
#3 It is About Making a Difference
There is nothing like seeing the kids faces full of contentment at the end of Savasana (Discover how to easily get children into Savasana here). It is also about watching the kids master a pose after working on it for weeks. It is about seeing a child take a few deep breaths before starting a test or before a soccer game. These kids are in tune with what their bodies need and that is so important. It is all about giving children the tools that they will have for life.
I love creating new games to use in my kids yoga classes. Kids naturally love to play games and they are a good way to get them moving. Games also lead to laughter and fun which helps build community and friendships. Yoga Games such as the Kids Yoga Obstacle Course are also the perfect way to practice all of the fun yoga poses that the kids have been learning.
How to Create a Kids Yoga Obstacle Course:
Kids LOVE obstacle courses and this is one of my favorite ways to get kids moving in healthy and good ways. This is exactly what kids need as their school days involve a lot of sitting as well as the national increase of video games and screens.
Every kids yoga class that I teach follows the Go Go Yoga for Kids Lesson Plan Format. This lesson plan framework ensures that kids are getting exactly what they need with breathing exercises, poses, movement, teamwork, mindfulness and more.
Select 4-5 poses that you want to introduce to children. I use the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards as visuals for the poses. I will place the selected cards into a colorful gift bag and allow the students one at a time to draw out a pose to learn. After the yoga poses have been introduced and practiced, it is the perfect time to begin The Yoga Obstacle Course!
Be creative with this! Please do not go out and buy anything. Use whatever objects you have available to make an obstacle course.
Obstacle Course Prop Examples
Hula hoops laid on the ground to do high knees through
Jump ropes laid parallel so kids can jump across them like a river
Cones to jump over or hop to
Yoga blocks for stepping stones
Yoga mats placed end to end for bear walks, log rolls, frog hops, etc.
The ideas are endless for using creating different obstacles and I do like to change it up to keep things fresh and fun.
Place the objects in a large circle. Between each obstacle I place a yoga mat and a Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Card.
Get Ready to Go!
First, I demonstrate how to go through the obstacle course. I make a big show out of hopping through the “rings of fire,” (hula hoops) or carefully crossing over the “icy river on blocks of ice” (yoga blocks).
Kids are completely mesmorized as they watch you carefully navigate through the obstacle course. Be sure to pause after each obstacle to hold the pose on the yoga pose card.
Next, I put on some fun music and it is the kids turn to move around the obstacle course and perform the yoga poses that are shown on cards. They love this and would do it forever if allowed. I recommend not letting the obstacle course go on “forever” as you want to keep things fresh and fun. Learn more Secrets to Teaching Yoga to Children here.
One of my favorite things to do is to visit schools and introduce yoga to the students. Recently I was invited to a nearby city’s elementary school for their Literacy Night. This included the students coming back to school in the evening, with their parents and in their pj’s. How cute and fun!
The kids got to visit an author in different stations, learn about their books, and do an activity. Go Go Yoga for Kids was thrilled to be a part of Literacy Night! It includes three of my favorite things; kids, books and yoga!
I had six different groups come through of all varying sizes and ages. I had planned for this so knew that my yoga activities would be good for large sized groups and for varying ages.
Spring had just sprouted in our area and the children were excited about the upcoming Easter Holiday so I made sure that our yoga poses and games were theme related.
First I read aloud one of my favorite bunny books, The Very Bad Bunny. Children are memorized with this story of a bunny that tries to be good, but makes some mistakes. His family is upset with him until they realized what a bad bunny truly is.
Spring Poses That We Learned and Practiced:
Bunny (Chair Pose)
Flower (Lotus Pose)
Bird (Warrior 3)\
Raindrop Pose (Partner Poses)
I had each of these pose names placed in an Easter Egg. I called on individual children to draw out the egg and read the pose. I then showed the pose visual using The Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards and we practiced the pose.
Each session lasted about 20 minutes which was just the right amount of time to introduce yoga to children in some fun and engaging ways.
We are so excited to plan for the New Year and want to know how we can best help and serve you in teaching yoga to children. Please take our quick Go Go Yoga for Kids Survey for a chance to win a $25 Gift Card to Amazon. The survey closes on January 7th, 2019, and the winner will be announced through e-mail.