Teaching yoga to adults and to children is very rewarding. The art of yoga helps me refine the art of living. My motivation to help others learn how to center and calm themselves continues to grow as my own practice grows. We adults have many habits that have been reinforced over the years. So many of us who find yoga in our adult years, begin to see the knots physically, mentally and emotionally we carry. The practice assists us in unraveling these knots. This a slow process. With continuity of practice, however, one may experience more openness that is not simply a few moments of equanimity directly after a yoga class. One’s behavior begins to reflect the teachings of yoga.
The way in which our brain develops in childhood points to open times of plasticity in which our experiences have great impact on our habits, our personalities. Teaching children the value, the necessity of calm breathing helps fire up neural pathways that can help a child think more automatically about pausing, breathing and making good choices. Knowing that a calm body, brain and heart are important facets of ourselves to attend to each day, may help children take yoga seriously and make it a part of their daily routine. Yoga is not something to do for fun or when we get around to it. It is a life practice. I look out into the faces of these 800+ beautiful children each week and hold in my heart that we are helping to cultivate members of our community who can pause, think calmly and help others. In a nutshell, children tend to be more open to the practice, less doubts and misunderstandings.
I teach SCHOOL Kids Yoga in a similar way as adult yoga. We begin with a story or something in daily life that draws a parallel to using yoga in our actions, thoughts and words. I emphasize pausing, taking a calm breath in order to help the brain work better. I want to help children know how to focus with the flood of ongoing distractions so that they develop motivation to learn from their teachers. Perhaps we will encourage children to become future teachers, motivated to help others learn and grow.