Yoga for Youth ages 4 – 8, 8 – 13, or 13 – 18
In yoga class we work together on basic movements, mantras, and relaxation in a no-tests, noncompetitive zone to develop patience, increase focus, enhance kinesthetic awareness, and strengthen growing muscles.
If we arm our children with basic yoga defenses they will be able to take this armor with them into their adult lives. When we teach a child how to take five slow breaths she learns to find calm both physically and mentally. Now we have given her an alternative to throwing punches when she feels bullied. When we teach a child to lift the chest and shoulders in shalambasana he is gaining strength in the back and neck and maybe he’ll remember to lay down on his belly lift his arms and legs and start swimming like a wind-up toy from time to time after he’s been at his computer for hours. When we teach a child to concentrate in balance poses or guided meditation she is preparing to focus on research papers and study for tests.
As adults we know and love the yoga experience as a time to join a quiet group for peaceful meditation, postures, and breathing. It is hard to imagine a child in this type of class because this is not at all what a child’s yoga class looks like. In youth yoga we sit in a circle instead of lines, we talk about how we’re doing that day, we go through the poses as if we are the animals and things they represent cat, cow, lion, mountain, star, et cetera. We go on bicycle safaris and set our butterflies free into the jungle. We play group games and sometimes draw and craft. At the end of class we take a shortened savasana in any still quiet posture with a guided visualization.