A few years back, I searched kids and family yoga teacher training in the internet all over the world, from Asia to the Pacific, from the Pacific to the States. I am so grateful I found Rainbow yoga and completed the course with Gopala Yaffa, founder of Rainbow Yoga. Since then, I started teaching kids yoga at Multiple Intelligence School in Fiji, and then many private sessions on kids yoga / kids and family yoga in Perth. I remember what Gopala has told me that in kids yoga classes, there are no rules in the classroom other than respect. It is so true. Children require a lot of freedom to explore what they are interested. Every time I am very impressed with their creativity and what they can do intuitively in class. Since there is only one rule, it is easy for them to follow yet learn through play.
Many of us notice the benefits of yoga for kids. Physically, they build body strength and flexibility. If we don’t use it, we lose it. It is important to help children maintain strength and flexibility as a way of life. Mentally, they find inner peace through relaxation and don’t let emotions take over their mind. There are so many different scenarios in this interactive learning environment. I find it more challenging to develop children social skills than their body strength and inner peace.
I used to meet a 10-year old girl in kids yoga course on a weekly basis. She likes hugging a 5-year old classmate when she is free from doing yoga poses in class. Even the little girl looks a bit uncomfortable, she is still hugging her tightly. She is affectionate and her intention is sharing her love. I don’t stop her from hugging the little girl but ask her to look at the little girl’s facial expression. "What does that facial expression mean?" She now understands that she needs to care about the receiver’s feelings when she sends her love in her way. She used to be a bit rough to herself, hurting her toes or nails when doing yoga. She is full of energy and doesn’t know how to manage it yet. She doesn’t know how to be gentle to herself and probably why she doesn’t know how to be gentle to others.
There are many partner poses, group poses that require teamwork, physical touch and body co-ordinations. They learn how to communicate with their partners, find the balance of power between 2 people or in a group, co-ordinate with their legs and arms. These are all required elements setting up for doing yoga poses successfully. For example, when we do boat pose with a partner, pushing legs against each other too hard makes your partner fall over, pushing legs against each other too soft can’t make the pose.
Physical touch is one of the main human connections that allow our hearts to be healed. It’s important to learn the way to self-protect and protect others, self-respect and respect others. Yoga helps children develop into mindful and responsible adults. While you change partners in class, it’s a good way to learn how to do the same poses with different people in different body types, including strength, weight and height, etc.
Kids yoga becomes more dynamic when parents are engaged in yoga classes. Kids enjoy learning new poses with their parents in an equal environment. It is a two-way communications. Parents learn perhaps as much as kids learn from them. We have learned a lot in life, and then we forget something. It’s a great opportunity for us to learn in their way, intuitive, creative, non-judgmental, acceptance and so on.
Or we simply spend quality time together!
VAI YOGA and Bassendean Hotel are delighted to organize a fun-filled, healthy activity that the whole family can enjoy. Yoga session runs from 11:15am to 12pm, followed by kid’s lunch and more play time till 2:30pm. For more details, visit VAI YOGA’s kids and family yoga event on 19 Jan 2018.
Have you tried kids and family yoga before? How was it? Feel free to leave me comments or questions.
Rachel is the founder of VAI YOGA and an occupational therapist. Her yoga teaching focuses on blending two powerful healings, yoga and occupational therapy solutions, to help people face practical aspects of life.