Saturday, 3 July 2010

Funny Hats work well

A funny hat is a tonic.
A funny hat keeps the little ones concentrating on YOU!
This is important when teaching yoga to children; something that I've given up doing as it is truly one of the most exhausting occupations I've ever, ever done. Which is why I no longer do it. In fact, when I did my practical exam, I told Cathy (my instructor) that the class would last 40-45 minutes. I planned for 40-45 minutes. In the event, 35 minutes and the class was over. It took me two days to recover! I guess one solution is not to have one's own grandchild and great-niece in the class.

What do you find teaching yoga to kids? Small bodies rolling themselves up in the yoga mat. Random legs and arms making quite fierce (albeit 'accidental') contact with the body on the neighbouring mat. Small bodies making really rude sound effects for various asana.
And these are just the beginning. Kids are not like adults, they don't follow instructions unless they feel like it and it is essential to add sound effects, always. Roar like a lion, bark like a dog, meow like a cat and make camel noises that resemble breaking wind, loudly.

"Close your eyes" is generally translated as "open your eyes wide" and "open your eyes" is also translated as "open your eyes".

One thing I learned is not to ask rhetorical questions in a class because you'll always get an answer, and it won't be an answer your anticipated. Another thing I learned is that five children in a class is good, anything over that and you're treading on thin ice - call it critical mass - and it does vary.

Class is a wonderful time to extend adventures into reality - Treasure Island, Jungle escapades and a Circus outing - all with actions and sound effects!

Although you can't see it in the photograph, there is a small button on the top of my funny, shiny hat and that is the magic button. That magic button saved my bacon on more than one occasion ... focus on the magic button draws the attention back to the practice and (sometimes) order reigns.

And then you get the feedback - "I want to do yoga everyday"
"I think yoga is my best friend"
"I feel happy when I'm in yoga class". Does this make it worthwhile? Yes, if you have the strength and stamina to keep on teaching. For me the feedback was wonderful but my health couldn't stand the pace!

Yoga for children is a course for would-be teachers and covers a great deal of territory. Much of the material is useful for adult classes and now that I have given up teaching children I still use many of the techniques I learned while participating in the course.

Peace and love to all and especially to those brave enough to take up teaching yoga to children.


YogaforCynics said...

"make camel noises that sound like breaking wind, loudly"

Some of we adult yogis do that, too, though unintentionally. How liberating it would be if that were actually considered part of the practice!

Eleanor said...

Yes, well, it happens a lot in some adult classes I've taught! There is a lovely skit by Billy Connolly describing why (and how) it happens in yoga. If you can find it, and understand his broad Scottish accent, it will make you laugh. Oh, he uses a lot of bad language so be warned ...

Anonymous said...

Well I think that you are possibly the best yoga teacher around. And you have the sense of humour to deal with the fart boxes. Just try teaching a pregnancy yoga know what I mean! Love you Kath

Gaiamara said...

Hehe I feel more inspired to teach kid's yoga now! I've been saying to myself for a number of months now, "I really must get onto that..." but I think I'll jump into a lesson plan this week :) Thanks Eleanor xox

Alessia said...

I am very much reminded of Monty Python's "Ministry of Silly Walks", though it should be renamed, "Ministry of Silly Hats" in this case.

I am going to pass this along to my mommy teachers as a guide!

Eleanor said...

For some reason some of your delightful comments are not being published - the Blogspot demon strikes again!

Eleanor said...

Dear Anonymous - I think you may be biased! Love you too ... Mum