Whenever I tell someone I teach children's yoga, they look at me in surprise and say something like, "Why do kids need to do yoga? They're already flexible!" I'm pretty sure they are also trying to imagine toddlers quietly sitting in a lotus position, eyes closed, hands in a mudra, with a look of zen on their chubby little faces as they chant "Ommmmmm..." to the aroma of incense wafting by.
Well, they got the "Ommmmmm..." part right! Kids' yoga is NOT the same as grown-up yoga -- in our classes, you can find us dancing for the sun, shaking our downward doggie tails, practicing our breathing with "hot chocolate breath", and yes, making a flower with our hands while we smell some soothing lavender or wild orange essential oils to help us feel calm and happy. We play games, sing songs, use flashcards for our yoga challenges, act out storybooks, and sometimes dance it out with rainbow streamers, colorful scarves or small percussion instruments. What the kiddos may not realize is that all the while, we are learning fine motor skills, balance, sharing, spatial awareness, social interaction, energy management, listening, language, stress relief and more. I started teaching children's (and infants') yoga because someone asked me to! And it was a perfect fit because I can blend my 10+ years experience teaching yoga and meditation with my background in theater and music and my love for tiny humans and the way their brains work into one beautiful, sometimes chaotic, playful experience of peaceful practices. What I love the most about what I do is seeing the looks of curiosity, mischief, pride and bliss on their faces throughout class and the excuse it gives me to be really silly for a few minutes out of my day!