By Jess Gruber
There are moments of teaching children yoga when I know they are deeply aware that yoga is so much more than an exercise; it happens when we practice deep breathing, the children close their eyes, everything stills and quiets, as they finish they look at me, eyes softened above a gentle smile. I ask them how they feel, pausing to consider, they say, “so peaceful,” “I feel gentle,” “sleepy and soft,” “like I want to cuddle”.
Why + How?
When teaching yoga to children, it’s important to utilize visuals, songs, and creativity. Visual guides help children to understand their body in space, this is called proprioception. When our proprioception is working efficiently then we can strengthen our interoception, our ability to feel the body internally. Interoception is important because it helps us to manage emotions and understand our body’s needs (hunger, elimination, illness) and then respond accordingly.
Music is a timeless method to help children (and adults) improve memory and also creates structure within the lesson.
Creativity, such as pretending to be animals or mindfully making crafts, provides an opportunity for children to utilize their foundation of knowledge and experiment with it.
When teaching children yoga, one of the ways I engage children’s proprioceptive/interoceptive abilities, strengthen their memory, and set the groundwork for creativity is through the Little Moon Children’s Yoga Cards! I helped create these cards in collaboration with artist Andrew Schubert. The LMY Kids Yoga Cards tap into the creativity of pretending to be animals while teaching deep breathing and mindful movement to cultivate proprioceptive and interoceptive skills.
Here is a 15 minutes yoga practice you can share with the kids in your life. It’s also adult friendly 🙂
When purchasing a deck of kids yoga cards you are supporting Little Moon Yoga, a non-profit aimed at teaching yoga to children in DC Title 1 Public Schools. All profits from the cards go to funding these children’s yoga classes. Purchase the cards at Yoga Heights today!
Visit littlemoon.yoga for more information on LMY’s mission and vision.
Dance for the Sun
See a video here.
Turtle Pose (Child’s Pose)
Final Relaxation (Savasana)