Grown ups sometimes come into a kids yoga class with the expectation that it will be quiet, orderly, and that their child will participate and pay attention the entire time. Part of my job is to help them let go of all of that.
Although there are moments, children’s yoga classes are not quiet. One of the most refreshing (and challenging) things about teaching kids yoga is how transparent they are; they will say whatever comes to mind. They wander in and out of poses (and sometimes fall out of them). In younger classes, they wander around the room. My job is to keep them engaged, but I do not expect them to do every pose.
The feedback I get consistently from parents is that children who don’t appear to be paying attention in class actually are. They’ll do poses at home that they never do in class, sometimes singing all the words to songs and teaching siblings or playmates.
I’ve taken yoga classes with my own 5-year-old daughter since she was an infant, so I’ve not only seen all the typical child behaviors as a teacher, I’ve experienced a lot of them as a parent in class. Lately, a lot of yoga classes with Maya (and any practicing in her presence) has had an element of Mommy-Jungle-Gym:
photo by Siobhan Hanna Photography/ All Rights Reserved
So, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go when Maya and I went to the YoKid Challenge last week and I was asked to lead a quarter of the event’s 108 sun salutations. In fact, Maya was climbing on me so much during the set before mine, that one of the other coordinators offered to find someone else to lead my set. At that point, Maya became insistent that she would stay on her own mat and she wanted me to teach.
Maya blew us all away, participating in all 27 sun salutations in my set. Now, Surya Namaskar B counts for 2 during the YoKid Challenge and we did do a few of them, but that was still far more than the 2 to 4 sets that’s typical of a kids yoga class.
We were joined by two representatives from the Alexandria police force showing their support for YoKid: