I’ve been teaching kids yoga for a little over a decade in schools, yoga studios, community centers, parks, synagogues and churches. I have had some of my hardest teaching hours logged in front of frisky three year olds and classrooms of jumpy adolescents. Teaching kids yoga and mindfulness is challenging. You cannot assume you have control of the group and you must harness the collective energy that adults more freely give a yoga instructor in a studio setting.
Many an energetic teacher have opted out of teaching the smaller set. While many parents desire the calmness that yoga could create for their child, they are unable to find or unwilling to pay a skilled teacher who is artful at adapting yogic principles to the different ages and stages of development. In addition, coming up against classes with behavior and discipline issues is discouraging. Nevertheless, I find that many teachers, especially those without children or newly trained instructors, are missing the opportunity for the wisdom of teaching “big souls in little bodies”, as Yogi Bhajan put it.
Yoga and mindfulness can be the middle ground for some of our most pressing issues today: violence, education, healthcare, sustainability; the yoga practice can alleviate and transform many of these difficult challenges for adults and children everywhere. Yoga calls upon any human, of any religion or culture, to ask those greater questions of ourselves and practice for peace and connection. We are so fortunate to have the time and space to contemplate our greatest desires for ourselves and our kids- to live in awareness and remembrance that the best things in life are not things.
I have logged those hours for kids yoga and will continue to tally them up. I will review my curriculum for my summer Peace Camp and think about how I have the jewel of an opportunity to teach kids this important practice. Teach kids that when they place their hand on their heart that they are home- right there with the recognition of a breath- no matter how hard the situation, the problem, the background, we can always uncover our most otherwise wasted potential. Let kids have a chance at a peaceful world and a peaceful self. Let all of the abundance and balance available to all of us fall upon this future generation.