After getting your 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training there are many additional certifications available for teaching specialized populations. One of those is kids’ yoga!
As a kids’ yoga instructor, I often get asked what I like most about teaching this population and what trainings are necessary.
Legally, you can teach kids’ yoga without going through a training and being certified. This can be a good thing as there are many other factors that contribute to the desire and ability to teach yoga to children and getting certified can be expensive while requiring a time commitment.
So, you may wonder, what factors contribute to teaching kids yoga? In my experience, the three most important components to teaching children are being able to connect with kids, enjoying working with kids, and a desire to teach healthy habits at a young age.
Let’s break these down a bit.
Being able to connect with and enjoy working with kids is a true talent and teachers come from all backgrounds. Whether you are a parent, have younger siblings or remember what it was like to be a kid, communicating and playing on their level is key.
Kids Yoga trainings provide a vast amount of resources for working with kids, however, having a basic understanding of and interest in play, stories, and games is important.
Desire to teach healthy habits
Our relationship to food, exercise, and body image develop in childhood and continue to remain a strong influence throughout the rest of our lives.
Part of teaching yoga to children is being able to talk to them about these relationships. Teaching the importance of the kind of food you eat, finding fun ways to be active and add exercise to your life, and learning the mind-body connection at a young age are integral to a healthy lifestyle.
While it is possible to teach yoga to children without an official certification, the importance of being certified and going through a training is very valuable.
Most of the places that offer kids yoga classes, such as yoga studios, daycare centers, and elementary schools want a kids yoga instructor that has gone through some level of training. Most trainings range from 10-95 hours depending on the amount of information taught in them.
In order to be a registered Children’s Yoga Instructor (R-CYT) through the Yoga Alliance, it is necessary to complete 95 hours of training with a registered yoga school and 30 hours of teaching. Remember, this is necessary if you want to be registered with the Yoga Alliance. It is possible to complete a shorter training and still teach kids yoga at the locations previously mentioned.
Let’s go over the many valuable aspects of completing a Kids’ Yoga Teacher Training.
Learning How to Calm Children
Since kids’ yoga involves games, silly songs, animal noises, and partner poses, one of the biggest skills necessary in teaching an average class is being able to channel their energy and bring them back to a calm state.
A typical training will go over breathing techniques, positive discipline, and mindfulness games that bring the energy down and most children will find fun and relatable.
Acquiring Tools to Motivate Children
There is nothing more frustrating when leading a yoga class than to look out and realize you’ve lost your students attention. While this is challenging with adults, it can be very tough to bring kids back into focus.
A training will go over many techniques to handle this, such as being flexible with your class plan so when these times occur, you can move to something more interesting.
In kids’ yoga classes, there will be many situations that occur on a regular basis where the focus is lost, and the reasons can change from week to week and class to class.
One of the biggest disruptions I’ve found is when one kid decides to show off to me what they can do to make a pose more interesting or challenging and the rest of the class either starts creating their own version or decide to play during this time.
Attending a training gave me a whole toolbox of resources to get things back on track such as whispering, being funny, and telling everyone to hold a bubble in their mouth and blow it out when everyone is quiet.
Being Able to Create a Fun Class
As there are more games, songs, and stories in kids’ yoga classes, it’s important to know what format to include everything in to successfully manage your class.
Creating a theme that is fun and speaks to their interests is so important. Making classes based on superheroes, fairies, animals, and adventures are all very popular with kids. While you may have a wealth of themes of your own, attending a training will provide a variety of inspiration from the other teachers in your training as well as the program itself.
Unless you are already teaching kids yoga or working at a place that wants you to teach kids yoga, it is hard to break into this niche. Especially if you teach outside of a studio atmosphere. Most elementary schools, preschools, and daycares already have their own staff trained to teach yoga and will want references and free demos to let you in the door.
Going through a training program provides these references as well as a network of other teachers to sub for, share information about who is hiring, and offer support to each other.
So, while it is possible to teach kids yoga without being certified, certification adds credibility to your skills.
If you want to go the extra step and get registered with the Yoga Alliance, you can, however, it is not necessary to be registered. There are a variety of online and in-person trainings available. YogaFit, Kidding Around Yoga, and Pretzel Kids are a few of the major options at hand and of course, there is always your local studio.
So, what do I like most about teaching kids’ yoga? I like the ability to provide breathing techniques, mindfulness, and physical fitness in a fun environment while learning from the kids I teach. Many of the activities and “new” yoga poses I incorporate in my classes have been motivated by working with children.