Yoga for Children

This is the setting for the children’s yoga class for the outdoor program, Strong Roots. My kids are in this program on Thursday mornings, so when it is above at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit, I try to do my āsana practice there (rather than drive back to the city). So Thursday, it was a bit warmer and a day for a practice of all the standing poses in Light on Yoga, before teaching the children’s yoga class, which was in the early afternoon.

It is such a peaceful place for learning yoga with the sky and water all around to remind us of vastness. There was so much enthusiastic participation and delight in moving and practicing both familiar and new postures and challenges. We practiced some standing poses, seated poses and supine poses. We learn simpler poses at first and repeat them with quick movements, since children are naturally agile and enjoy and are captivated by the movement.

We will add more poses every week. We practiced chanting Āum and learned the names of many poses in Sanskrit, which children learn quickly. The lively class enjoyed repeating all the names of the poses after each time I said them. At first I taught them to do that. Later it sounded a bit like the class was gleefully teasing me by repeating each pose,

so we were joyfully learning!  I told the myth story about Patanjali, the sage who is said to have authored the Yoga Sutras about 2500 years ago, born to a yogini named Gaunika. We also practiced the Patañjali chant that is part of acknowledging the long tradition and lineage of yoga teachings.

I was very fortunate to observe the children’s classes at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute when I was in Pune, India for two months. I use those experiences and the yoga books for children, Yoga Shastra, by the Iyengars, as a guide for teaching children’s yoga classes. Every group is different so some need more of the preparatory movements to help with coordination and attention before they are ready for much of the āsana, but this class is very quick and eager to learn the postures which is delightful.