At CPY, we love to work with kids, especially when parents let the child perform the postures in the way they feel their body should move. We have been teaching Summer Camps for the last decade working with children from ages 3-17 in one class, usually in groups of 30-60. So, we understand the multiple mood swings of children. Their good days and bad days, their stubbornness, and their spontaneous joy! We work on building their confidence and make them feel good about being a kid in a yoga class!
Most parents, when they bring their child to yoga class for the first time, forget their child is a little scared and unsure of this new place. Just because mom or dad are comfortable here, doesn't always mean the child will be too. It takes time, patience, and multiple sessions for a child to become comfortable and familiar with the surroundings of yoga class.
So, we work on making a child feel good about being a child. Just as we let our adult students be who they are (tight, injured, weak, sore, burned out, stressed, happy, excited or anxious) we let children move through those same mental nuances just as adults do, one practice at a time. Sometimes a parent will witness their child roll on the mat, stop, drink water, color, and lay down. The parent embarrassed or worried the child is distracting will want to stop their child from doing those things. We suggest not to make any adjustments. Those children are listening to everything in class. They are aware of everything around them.
One child was laying on his yoga mat enjoying being rolled up like a burrito almost the entire class (I personally rolled him into the burrito). Every now and then I would walk by and smile, he gave me a thumbs up and smiled back. I knew he was with me even though he did a sum of 4 postures in that hour session.
The mom of this child told me a story a few days later about him (he's 4 by the way) and the burrito yoga mat class. A few days after the class took place, she was experiencing a stressful moment of life in front of him. He asked her, why don't you stop to breathe like you do in yoga class?". The mom is stunned. The yoga teacher - is not surprised at all!
He learned about the breath through watching his mom during the class. Just like most kids, a child will not believe that yoga calms their parent(s), if they witness stress pouring off the parent(s) to make the child perform poses. But, if mom or dad is calm & breathing rhythmically during class with their child, their child will remember that moment, vividly.
And, They will remind you what you experienced in class and they will send you out of the house to go to back to yoga class. They may not come with you to every yoga class. But, that doesn't that matter. They learned a valuable lesson and are able to remind you just stop and breathe.
Luv You, Luv Lokah
College Park Yoga
1837 Edgewater Drive. Orlando, FL 32804