4 Things I Learned from Kids Yoga Training
Last month I flew to Thailand to undergo a 95-hour Kids Yoga Teacher Training with Divine Light Yoga in the middle of the Pak Song rainforest. To be honest, it was an almost last-minute decision that changed my life.
In the past 2 years since graduating from college, I have been saving up for a 200-hour teacher training in whatever way I could – taking baon with me wherever I went; making the most of sales, discounts, and bulk buying with friends; and even getting my sisters to cut my hair for me. I knew that I wanted to deepen my practice, and because I often advocate the benefits of yoga to my family and friends, I thought that taking this course would be the best way for me to share the practice with them.
But as I scoured the Internet for the best 200-hour teacher program for me, I was struck by a Kids Yoga program by Divine Light Yoga.
There were 3 things about the comprehensive program that led me to sign up for this course:
(1) The course included storytelling yoga, (2) they program included a day dedicated to learning about yoga for children with special needs that allowed students to work with a special needs school on the training premises, and (3) 30% of the payment would go towards a benefit that supported this school. I was sold.
It was the perfect fusion of everything I am passionate about: literature, yoga, working with children, development work. So despite over a year’s conviction to take a 200-hour course, I let go of my search for a 200-hr. training in favor of something that spoke to me.
So I set out to disconnect from the world I know to live in the rainforest for 10 days, and emerged with so much more than I bargained for.
Here are just a few of my realizations from the course:
- You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy kids yoga.The program had each of us program participants simulating kids yoga classes every single morning and afternoon. That means we had the unique pleasure of acting like children every single day – something I highly recommend to everyone to try doing, if just for fun. Learning this way allowed me to get in touch with my inner child, which strengthened my spontaneity and creativity.
- Collaborate with your students for better classes. Asking children to not only participate but also contribute and give feedback lets you to adapt your class in a way that is more relevant, and makes kids to feel valuable. One thing I love about being a teacher is that as you teach, you also learn, and collaboration is one of the best ways for a teacher to learn.
- Work with what you have, and make it better than you originally planned. Improvisation is the number 1 most important tool to have in your arsenal as a kids yoga teacher. You have to be able to respond to your students needs and expectations in a way that maximizes both learning AND fun. After all, students learn best when they are enjoying the lesson! Kids will often throw at you something completely unexpected, and as a teacher you have to learn how to work with it and shape it into a lesson that students will take home.
- Embrace your inner silliness!
Just because you’re in front of the class and leading it doesn’t mean you have to be serious the whole time. Aside from that, yoga does not have to be a solemn practice. It can be fun, playful, and silly too! Everyone appreciates a good sense of humor, and learning to laugh at yourself does not reduce your credibility. If anything it increases that credibility by humanizing you to your students, and building a stronger sense of trust.
I returned to Manila with a sharper vision of what I wanted to do, and eager to share with children the wonderful benefits of yoga that have transformed my own life.
Kids Yoga Teacher, Writer and Wellness Enthusiast Bea Osmeña is a compulsive eater and tree-humper. She navigates a world structured on a culture of convenience by questioning everything and trying not to annoy everyone in the process.