Kids’ Yoga

After teaching yoga to kids in elementary schools in low-income neighborhoods in DC for over a year, a group of our volunteer teachers got together to discuss lessons learned which may be helpful for other teachers reaching out to this community.
A big thanks to Sarah Walter, Dawn Hennesy, Alexis Mitchell, and Scott Carson for compiling this resource!
Suggested Class Format:
Beginning – intention setting
Physical warm-up: Sharing a focus/building heat
  • Time to work – finding power in the body
  • Expansion – play/explore
  • Building strength – abs/back
  • Winding Down – transitioning to calmness
  • Savasana – stillness/release
  • Closing – taking your yoga with you!

What Works?

  • Timing of classes for kids yoga – 30 to 40 minutes (max) is best to maintain their attention!
  • Boundary setting needs to be an important part of first class (and each thereafter)
  • Structuring class is a good idea, but also being okay with not following the plan based on the energy of the group
  • Games /Interactive learning techniques that have worked well to incorporate:
  • Yoga Freeze Dance
  • Have students teach each other and build upon knowledge of poses (after a few sessions)
  • Yoga Deck
  • Yogi Says
  • Charades
  • Learning Sanskrit words
  • Guessing the right name and how to say it
  • Chanting Ommmmmmm – great technique to center the group
  • Teaching Surya A and Surya B – building on each other each week introducing something new
  • For assistant – have this role be more a of a partnership, a co-teaching relationship
  • Have at least 1 certified instructor + teacher trainee/dedicated student
  • Use no mats/same color mats to minimize distraction of mat selections
  • Using music/changing music important during class
  • Try to incorporate body awareness/relaxation during Savasana as much as possible