Imagine you are in kindergarten and your parents have just signed you up for yoga and mindfulness meditation after school. The teacher leads you into a classroom where you are met by a warm smile, the teacher welcomes you, asks your name, and checks you off the attendance list. You put your backpack down, shoes and socks off, and then you find a yoga mat laid out in a circle with a piece of paper depicting multiple faces and crayons. You chose the one that describes your emotions and you color it while waiting for class to begin.
The teacher sits down on a mat beside you, everyone comes into a community circle and joins hands with their papers next to them. The teacher begins by describing how s/he feels and where they feel the emotion in their body and then lightly squeezes a students hand, indicating its their turn.
When completed, the teacher guides the students in 2-3 minutes of deep, slow conscious breathing, expanding their belly with each in breath. You silently start repeating the mantra, “peace begins with me.”
You start feeling a sense of easiness. Practice begins with an integrative story about a boy and girl that embark upon a journey full of animals and adventures.
The story begins with a boy and girl packing for the trip and the children chime in on things to bring. Together, everyone stands in Mountain pose, feeling strong and fearless. they start swinging opposite legs and arms, designed to bring about cross brain integration. They see a beautiful tree, and upon hearing a tree, the teacher invites everyone to stand tall as a tree and then asks another student to take over the storytelling and there is a giggle. With each animal and object that is mentioned, the children act out the poses.
Noises can be heard of dogs barking, cows mooing, cats meowing, snakes hissing, etc. One child is selected to walk their dog mindfully, and you walk over to the teacher, hold their shirt collar and lead her or him around the room!
Weaved into the class is a discussion about non-violence and bullying. The children are taught specific techniques for self-regulation and self-management. We breathe through it all.
Five minutes before the class ends, the children lay on their backs with breathing buddies securely affixed to their stomach, and they are asked to think of a time when they were really happy. They are asked to smile and just breathe.
Class ends with stickers, high fives and the parents at pick up are informed of how wonderful you were today.
This is a typical class scenario. Our mission in this unique approach to children’s yoga is to ensure that kids are reaching developmental milestones, and most importantly that they understand how to control their behavior and what is happening inside of them when they feel out of sorts.
By the end of the 8-week session, the children are able to count in Sanskrit, perform Sun Salutations, and they have an introductory understanding of the 8 limbs of yoga, how to breathe, sit and build self esteem.
This is why I love our program.
Sign up for our Kids ASP Session 2 today!!
At Ignite Yoga, we believe that yoga is for everyone–For people of all ages and all walks of life.