Children are playful, curious and energetic beings, so a children’s yoga class is slightly different to an adult class!! There is a balance between spontaneity and structure. I use the following structure in all classes, which the children become familiar with. They get to add the spontaneity!!
Circle of friends
The group is set up with all the mats in a circle. This gives a sense of community and equal purpose. The tempo starts off gently as we tune into our awareness, taking ourselves away from the day behind us and settling into ‘now time’. Sitting on their mats the children are guided to bring their awareness into the present moment. With younger kids we say hello to our fingers, toes, arms, legs, spine, eyes etc, inviting each body part to settle in stillness. Older children may be guided to notice their breath, the sounds around them, acknowledging how they feel at that precise moment. This brings a shared sense of calm and grounding.
Before the more challenging poses we loosen our joints and build heat in our bodies. The energy builds as we stretch and move to music, songs or poems (age appropriate)
We explore a wide range of poses through various themes, depending on age group.
Examples of Class Themes: Stretch into Spring, Bus to The Beach, Christmas Crackers, Kindness is Key, There’s a Parrot in my Head, My Journey so Far, Emotion Commotion, African Adventure, Bonjour Amour!) We may allocate more than one class to a particular theme.
The children learn traditional yoga poses in a non traditional way! For example Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend becomes a jellyfish or a waterfall, Trikonasana or triangle pose, becomes a kite or a star, Upavistha Konasana or wide legged seated forward bend, becomes a pizza slice! The children are also encouraged to use their imaginations to create their own poses. We often co-create fun yoga sequences relevant to the theme.
The children are encouraged to bring awareness to how they feel as they move and breathe through the pose. These simple exercises allow them to experience the connection between mind and body. We use props like furry animals, feathers, balls etc, to make things more fun, and we introduce games and artwork too (appropriate to the age of the group, of course!)
Before moving on, we take one minute of quiet rest, lying flat on our backs in quiet reflection. The group is now prepared for a quiet mindfulness practice.
During this part of the class, we may choose to stay in Savasana, softening into the quiet stillness. We may chose to read a story, enjoy some artwork or explore our senses. We will also learn to observe our breathing. With older children we will practice different breathing techniques. We will also use guided visualisations to help the children enjoy deep relaxation.
Circle of Friends
Each class ends with a brief chat and closing song/poem