Confession: I had never even heard of Zoom before schools closed in response to the coronavirus. I had used Facetime maybe twice. I share that so you know if you’re having a hard time imagining how kid’s yoga (or karate, or music, or art….) works online, I feel you.
I’ve been teaching kids yoga online for about a month now, as well as working behind the scenes to help run the back end of the virtual studio, and I’ve gotten a pretty good picture to share with you.
Class is still interactive.
Unlike many Zoom-based adult yoga classes, we ask that students leave their cameras on in our kids yoga classes. Teachers can see what your child is doing, and talk to them throughout class. Although the energy is different, we can still respond to what the students are taking an interest in and shift the class plan accordingly. We can also still take suggestions for poses, stories, or music. In some cases, your older-kids’ classes may be more interactive, because the children are physically separated and less likely to distract each other during discussions, which can allow them to be more productive.
Check out these clips of Jessica working with a group of 7-9 year olds for a real picture of what class interaction looks like.
But your toddler’s class will be muted.
The under-4 set is just loud. They talk loud. They have loud toys. They make noise, sometimes just for the sheer joy of making noise. We love that, but when its not happening in the same room that we’re in, it becomes distracting very quickly. Once class begins, teachers will mute everyone’s mic. Don’t worry—you can always unmute yourself if you or your child has something to say. You can also just wave your arms at the screen, and the teacher will come unmute you.
For toddler classes, we may send out questions ahead of time and ask you to type your answer in to the chat window when you log on. That gives us a chance to collect requests from tots before class begins, and let the kids hear us acknowledging their ideas when they come up.
You’ll still hear all your favorite songs and games.
By and large, our classes are a remote version of our typical studio classes. The structure and flow is the same, the teachers are the same, and the songs and games are the same. You’ll still see and hear the chime at the beginning of class. Tots will still Wake Up Toes. We still have scarves and our breathing ball.
We may send messages asking you to bring props to class with you. If that happens, we’ll be sure to offer plenty of options so that you’re not missing out on the fun just because you don’t happen to have a play silk on hand.
Your child will still be your child.
Different children respond to online classes differently. If you have a very social child who becomes distracted by their friends in studio yoga classes, they may participate more in a virtual class, since there’s no one else around to pull focus. On the other hand, if your child enjoyed running laps around the studio space or investigating the outlets, they are unlikely to suddenly become super focused on their yoga teacher.
Just as with in-person classes, our suggestion is to do participate fully yourself, and invite your child to join you when they are ready.
Your elementary child may be excited to have their own thing or want you to participate.
Our kids are feeling quarantine in many of the same ways as we adults, but they don’t have the same language and tools to express them.
Older children who have become savvy with the technology may be grateful for an activity they can take to their rooms and engage with that isn’t school. We’ve been excited by their interest and engagement when they’re set up away from their grownups and really allowed to settle into their own flow.
In the video below, you’ll hear one of our students practicing a Peaceful Wishes meditation with Bretton in a Kids Yoga & Mindfulness class.
Others children may want to you to participate in class along side them. For Yoga & Mindfulness for Children or Tweens, the Zoom format means either option is fine.
Zoom-based yoga isn’t for everyone.
Most people have been very positive about the format, not not everyone loves it. For some people, being at home all day warps their sense of time, and having to log in to a class just feels hard. Other people just miss being in a room full of people, and would rather wait until they can have that experience back. If you feel like it might not be the right fit for you, I’ll offer two things. First, our no-risk refund policy is still in effect. If you register for a session and decide after the first class that you don’t wish to continue, we’ll refund the tuition for the remainder of your classes. Second, we’re building a library of on-demand classes. Those are great for those of you who aren’t excited for our live classes but still want to practice with your familiar teachers.
Virtual classes are real time and REAL life.
With very few exceptions, we are teaching our classes at home. The space is cleared of visual distractions for class, but we’re not in a carefully curated studio space. You’re going to see where we live, and meet our pets and small children. We’re going to see your living room, or your unmade bed, or your partner/mother/older children making a sandwich in the background. Its all good.
At the end of the day, these classes are a fantastic opportunity to practice what its like to actually be present in the middle of our authentic, messy lives. After all, that’s what yoga has been preparing us for.
Our next 4-week online yoga session begins April 27th. Want to join in this week? Sign up for recurring registration, which lets you jump into a class-in-progress and will auto renew your registration every four weeks for the duration of our online programming. Unlimited Memberships are available for families who wish to take more than one class a week.
About the author:
Jessica LaGarde has been teaching creative movement in the metro area since 2005 and is passionate about helping children discover and explore their bodies and the world around them. She was trained by Joye Newman, MA to teach preschool creative movement for Kids’ Moving Company, a Bethesda-based creative movement studio. In 2017, she completed her Baby, Toddler, and Children’s Yoga Teacher Training through Childlight Yoga.
In addition to working with preschoolers, Jessica is a registered massage practitioner and is trained in infant massage instruction. She has practiced massage for over twelve years and taught massage as part of Potomac Massage Training Institute’s professional training program. Outside of the movement space and massage room, she enjoys cooking, knitting, sewing, gardening and exploring the outdoors with her daughter.