Yoga for Kids runs very differently than an adult yoga class. We go through all of the same poses that are safe and practical for growing young people, but we introduce the movements and concepts in a fun and engaging way. Kids Unplugged incorporates games and measurable challenges into each and every class. With our regular members, we have seen growth in many areas and it has been eye opening.
Strength is a huge component of yoga. For our young members that join us weekly we have watched their abilities to hold themselves up in poses develop exponentially. High plank, downward dog, and reverse tabletop are three challenging, strength-building poses that are incorporated into each and every yoga class. Those three poses strengthens ones arms, back, and core. Starting in August we began informally noting our member’s stamina in certain poses. With kids, stamina sounds and looks a lot different. They are extremely vocal when a pose is challenging and they are able to pinpoint exactly what hurts and to what magnitude without hesitation. Through the months, many of our young ones have had more success with holding themselves in these poses in the correct form for a longer amount of time. Parents report back to us regularly that their kids practice their yoga form and poses at home (or anywhere else they find acceptable) which is exactly what we strive for.
Balance is another element of yoga that is consistently practiced in Kids Unplugged classes. Balance requires a unique and intense amount of focus which many kids struggle to find on their own. Having an end goal of being able to stand on one foot in tree, dancer, eagle, airplane, and other poses gives kids the motivation to improve their focusing abilities. We teach the kids about Drishtis, which are our focal points that help us balance. Before any balancing sequence, our regular members call out to the class to find their Drishtis and educate new or visiting members on what that means. We help our members identify a Drishti, sometimes we name it, we tell the kids that it is like a helping hand, and practice focusing on it before going into a balancing pose. Through games and challenges our members focus and balance improves weekly.
Flexibility differs in each and every human being. Some kids come in able to bend and fold themselves in ways that others may never reach. Working on stretching different muscles weekly gets these kids in the habit of treating their muscles with respect at such a young age. We all know that stretching after working out is sometimes the hardest part. Ingraining the habit and explaining its benefits has brought confidence and pride into many of our members. Our kids are proud of themselves for being able to touch their toes and twist into a pretzel when their instructors often cannot go as deep into a stretch as them. We talk to the kids about the challenges of staying flexible and the repercussions of exercising without tending to your muscles before and after.
Through unique poetry, high energy and engaging games, silly sequences, and pose challenges, our regular members have developed a confidence in themselves that they may not be able to find in school, with friends, or at home. They are given a space to lead parts of the class, introduce new poses they’ve created, show their improved strength, balance, and flexibility. We urge our members to bring yoga home to their parents, to their teachers in school, and to their friends during playtime.