Teaching Kids Yoga – While Keeping Your Sanity!

 

kids yoga, teaching kids yoga
That is the LAST time I teach kids yoga

Teaching kids yoga is one of the most challenging types of yoga classes a yoga instructor can teach.  Kids are unpredictable,  excitable and full of energy which can make for a totally different teaching experience.

As a teacher it is useful to be aware of this and be open to instant change or revision of a class structure.  When teaching kids yoga be sure to practice non attachment.  It is worth planning your classes with an open mind.  Regular adult classes need to be changed up and improvised on occasions but you will never know what to expect with a kids class!

Here are a few tips for teaching kids yoga while keeping your sanity!
  • Keep numbers small.  Go for 8 children absolute maximum unless you have some additional help. why?  Up to 8 is a more manageable number so teaching the group will be more cohesive.
  • Teach the class as a 4-6 week course avoiding school holidays (unless you are teaching a week long camp).  This gives you an opportunity to charge a discounted price for the commitment and parents will love you for it.  why? Also, keeping a short course length in this way will keep the content fresh and will be less exhausting for you as a teacher.
  • Keep the class length around the 45 minute mark.  This is a good length of time to fit in a warming up beginning, energized class sequence winding down to quiet time at the end. If you want to take the class to an hour incorporate a small post class snack, craft break or story time.  why?   For children, focusing fully on yoga for an hour could be challenging.
  • Learn, quickly, to read the room!  If you sense lots of energy start with energy burning stuff.   why?  You will not get them ‘centered’ at the beginning of class like an adult class.  Save the quiet time for when you’ve expelled some of the energy!
  • Plan your classes loosely.  Be prepared to change gear at a moment’s notice!
Inspire with yoga themed games
  • Keep the class moving by introducing games.
  • Speed yoga.  Move quickly through poses and sequences. Do some fast transitions eg. from childs – cat – dog and back.  Then try slowing down the transitioning through different poses.  Kids enjoy these kind of challenges particularly if there is balance involved!
  • Play the animal game and call out the animal to see who forms the pose first.
  • Try musical mats.  Have one less mat than kids and play music as the kids move from mat to mat as you instruct the yoga poses.  When the music stops the one without a mat leaves the circle.

Over all, when teaching kids yoga be open minded as it will definitely not go exactly to plan and don’t forget you own practice of yogic non attachment!

  • Team work.  Create two teams that play against each other using a stack of blocks as the currency.  As a team loses a round take away one of their blocks.  Winning teams win a sticker – there are some super cute yoga ones available on etsy.
  • Kids love to get acrobatic.  Try urdhva dhanurasana, forward rolls & balances progressing to inversions such as handstands and shoulder stands.
  • Games devised for partners work well particularly if you have shy kids included in the group.
  • Card games work well.  These brightly colored Yoga Pretzel cards are great for devising your own games or make use of their suggestions as they have some fun partner up ideas!
  • Yoga pretzels colorful cards
    Colorful yoga cards for kids yoga inspiration
  • Wind down with nesting.  If you’ve lots of blankets and blocks and you’re prepared for some clear up, allow your little yogis to create personal ‘nests’ for the wind down/savasana.  Lighten the music and work on big noisy breaths! and then as they quieten down cover up with blankets.  Some kids love a lavender eye pillow so if you have any of those, now is the time.
Include a short story at savasana time
  • Consider reading a short story or poem.  Go for something upbeat, amusing or inspiring.  It doesn’t have to be a yogic story but you might find inspiration from a classic book of short stories such as Aesops Fables or poetry from Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • It’s also worth allowing a few minutes at the end of class after you have an opportunity to chat to your mini students and create a sense of community before pick up time.

Over all, when teaching kids yoga be open minded as it will definitely not go exactly to plan.  Don’t forget you own practice of yogic non attachment!  With this you will ensure an enjoyable, and yet exhausting, experience!!

 

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Please know that I am an affiliate and may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you click through to purchase any items included in this post 🙂

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Seven Reasons Why Lavender is a Yoga Teacher’s Best Friend

Lavender stems in a jar
Photo by Heather Schwartz on Unsplash

If you have ever invested in essential oils then there is a very good chance that you have some lavender oil in your possession.   Lavender is one of the most popular and useful essential oils available.  Easy to find for a reasonable price and with a range of benefits from tackling stress to burn relief.

As a yoga teacher, there are many ways you can incorporate the benefits of lavender in to your teaching and personal practice.  Add one of these products to your yoga bag and discover why lavender is a yoga teacher’s best friend.

1 Essential Oil

In its purest form lavender essential oil has many applications.  Simply inhaling the scent direct from its little glass bottle relieves stress, calms the mind, stabilizes mood and supports restful sleep.

It’s a really useful oil to travel with for these reasons and as an added bonus is a great relief for sunburn discomfort.  All of the essential oil manufacturers will have lavender available in their ranges. I’m by no means an aromatherapy expert but oil brands I have used, and like, include Tisserand, DoTerra and Aura Cacia.  However, there are many other reputable brands to choose from.

2 Lavender Eye Pillow

I use these in my own practice all of the time and have taught at yoga studios where eye pillows during savasana have proved very popular with students!  They are also useful for general relaxation, headache relief and to help with sleep.

lavender eye pillow
Linen eye pillow with lavender & organic flax

 

Add one of these products to your yoga bag and discover why lavender is a yoga teacher’s best friend.

3. Lavender Candle

Light a candle at the end of class to accompany your guided meditation.  The flame and lavender scent will keep the mood focused and quiet.  Also a perfect addition to your yoga altar at home or, when in a small travel tin, a great item to take along on your business trips and vacations.

lavender candles
Lavender candles

4 Lavender Yoga Mat Cleaner

If your choice of yoga class is a fast moving vinyasa with lots of heat and sweat then I can definitely recommend investing in some lavender mat spray.  Whether you purchase a ready made spray or make your own this is a great way to freshen and sanitize your mat.

lavender mint cleaner
Clean and refresh your yoga mat with a lavender cleaner

5 Lavender Tea

What better than a calming cup of tea after class?  Pick up a lavender tea with chamomile too and you have the perfect soothing drink for your evening wind down.

tin of lavender tea
A calming chamomile lavender tea

Why not double the fun with a dedicated lavender design mug?

handcrafted tea mug with lavender
Pretty handmade lavender tea mug

 

Lavender is one of the most popular and useful essential oils available.

6 Lavender Massage Oil

This is a useful product to invest in if you incorporate gentle massage in to your classes.  Rub in to your hands before you assist with student’s blankets and bolsters in restorative poses  and allow the scent to soothe as class prepares for savasana.

lavender massage oil
lavender massage oil

7 Lavender Gifts

Lavender themed gifts are great to share with your students, fellow teachers and friends.  You could choose any of the above products or look at some of the other lavender goodies you could gift such as lip balms, linen fresheners,  handmade soaps & lavender sachets for closets and drawers.

lavender lip balm
lavender lip balm
Handmade lavender soap and balm
Handmade lavender soap and balm

And, of course, don’t forget to accompany your gift with a handcrafted card.  See yogaskinnystudio’s own range of yoga themed notecards!

yoga themed notecards
Handcrafted yoga notecards by yogaskinnystudio

Please know that I am an ‘affiliate’ which means that I make a small commission if any products featured here are purchased via this website.  I will only link to manufactured products I have purchased, seen or used myself except in the case of handmade Etsy items where, as an Etsy shop owner,  I’m supporting and promoting Etsy’s crafting community.

Lavender flowers on lavender background
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

 

Create Your Own Yoga Journal

embellish your notebook to make a yoga journal
Create your own unique yoga journal

There are many benefits to writing a journal and keeping a dedicated yoga journal, whether you are a beginning yoga practitioner or yoga teacher, can be a useful and inspiring practice.

Creativity and yoga are two well documented ways of encouraging relaxation and stress release as a antidote to the hectic and demanding lifestyles we lead.

Incorporating creativity into your life has several positive health effects and journaling fits in well as a creative activity to compliment your self care routine.  However, starting a journal and maintaining a journaling practice can be challenging.

Nothing makes journaling more overwhelming than a blank page!

We all live busy lives but when we do carve out time to journal it is easy to become precious when committing pen to paper.  Nothing makes a journaling practice more overwhelming than a blank page!

Create Your Own Personal Yoga Journal

So, here is a quick, easy and achievable way to loose up the creative process and ease the writer’s block situation.

This is what you’ll need –

  • Notebook – lined, blank or squared – not important which
  • Magazines – If you have magazines from that yoga subscription you struggle to keep up grab a bunch of those.  Otherwise any health, travel or womens interest magazines would be good options
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • optional – additional notepaper, lined or blank
  • optional – key card or credit card

……and that’s it

Embellish your yoga journal

Most of these things you will have at home or can easily pick up cheaply from a dollar store, craft supplier or stationers (or raid the kids craft box 😉

Notebook, scissors, glue, magazines
Basic tools required for this project…

Go through your magazines selecting images you love, quotes and words that inspire or colors, textures and patterns that you are drawn to

Then, grab your scissors and start cutting.

Create yourself a big pile of cuttings

 

magazine cutouts for your collaged yoga journal
Pile up your cuttings and get to work arranging them on your journal pages

Start arranging your cuttings into a collage across the pages of your journal.  If you have blank pages you might like to incorporate some lined areas  by gluing in lined paper cut to size.  (Or, vice versa, blank sketch paper areas into a lined book – not critical!)

collaged yoga journal pages
Work from the edges in leaving space to fill later

 

Work around the edges of your notebook pages leaving blocks of space where you can jot notes, journal, doodle and sketch later.

Trim and glue down firmly.  (This is where a credit card comes in handy to paste the images down without wrinkles)

 

downloaded practice tracker for your yoga journal
Download this free yoga and meditation practice tracker

Download our yogaskinny practice tracker here for free.  It can be scaled to fit your journal or you can slice it into separate weeks to journal on a week by week basis

 

 

 

Other inspiration and ideas………

Downloadable yoga tracker
downloadable yoga & meditation tracker – download and use week to week
avoid the blank page writers block by decorating the pages
Embellish the pages of your yoga journal
yoga journal page spread
yoga & meditation notes – embellished journal page

Here is an example of how to fill areas of the page with inspirational images and words and incorporate a simple practice tracker.

Just tracking your asana and meditation practice can provide a great start point for your journaling.

 

Combining imagery and text is a great way of embellishing page layouts.  Remember to leave gaps and ‘white space’ for your scribbles and doodles.  If you like to bullet journal you can also incorporate your bujo practice on to a collaged page.

If you don’t see images that inspire opt for words, phrases and snippets of text instead.  These are plentiful in magazines and arranging words and phrases also provides an inspirational springboard for your journaling.

This is a very quick, inexpensive and satisfying way of incorporating more creativity in to your life and self care routine.  It is also a great way of inspiring you on your yoga journaling path without the need for time consuming preparation or investment.

You’ll probably find that once you start collaging pages you will become immersed in the process and will have a handful of completed pages to start your journaling habit.

As your habit of writing evolves you may find you want to incorporate more decorative techniques to embellish your journal.  Stamps? Paints? Ephemera?  A quick search on Pinterest and Youtube will take you to many inspiring journal making blogs and videos.  Start with a search for ‘junk journals’ and see where it takes you.

Alternatively, take a look at Etsy for some creative, ready to go, handmade journals for your yoga practice.  Yogaskinnystudio stocks a range of adaptable, disc bound journals that are perfect for yoga retreats, festival visits and workshop weekends.

 

 

Creating a Home Altar for your Yoga & Meditation Practice

https://www.etsy.com/shop/yogaskinnystudio
A home altar is a sacred space created for your yoga & meditation practice

Creating a home altar serves as a focal place to practice asana, meditate and set your intention for the day.  

The purpose of an altar is to create a sacred space that allows you to reconnect whether you are doing asana poses, sitting for meditation and pranayama or simply pausing for a brief moment to set an intention for your day.

Here’s a simple checklist for creating your home altar.

Identify Your Space

It could be a corner of your yoga room, the edge of your dresser, a shelf amongst your books or a small tray placed at the foot of your yoga mat.  The space is somewhere that you immediately feel at ease and comfortable.

Clean Your Space

Clear the clutter.  Relocate, donate or release excess items from the space.  Keeping the area tidy, clean and bright will energize the space.

Cleanse Your Space

Smudge sage or burn some incense to clear negative & stagnant energy

Sage for a home altar
Bundles of sage for cleansing and removing negative energy

Select and Arrange your Favorite Items

An altar is an evolving and changing sacred space.  There are no rules about what to place at an altar as it is personal to you.  

The best starting point is to gather personal items that you love, that inspire you and give meaning to your practice. 

Items to consider for your home altar

-Photographs of loved ones in frames you’ve chosen

-Symbolic images that hold meaning for you

Beautiful yoga themed yoga prints
Colorful yoga prints

-A candle or incense burner

concrete incense burner
A handcrafted incense burner

-Artworks you love

four mini OM canvas
Miniature ‘OM’ mantra canvas

-Mala necklace that you may like to wear or use as part of your meditation practice

-A small, handmade box to store your incense, sage, candles  & matches

Wooden box for storage of small altar items
Perfect handcrafted boxes for your altar supply of incense, sage & essential oils

-A favorite bowl or dish

-A treasured piece of jewelry or trinket

 

Creating a home altar serves as a focal place to practice asana, meditate and set your intention for the day. 

 

-A sculpture of a deity that inspires you

Buddha sculpture
Buddha sculpture for a home yoga altar

-Book of favorite quotes

-Handwritten note, quote or inspiration word for the day

Small vases for a flower
Handmade bud vases

-Element of nature such as a fresh flower in a small vase, shell, crystal or fruit

-A card or postcard that has personal meaning

Gratitude journal
Journal for meditation and contemplation notes

-Small journal for your personal observations and notes

-A singing bowl for use in meditation

Singing bowl
Singing bowl for a yoga and meditation space

Other useful items for your space are a meditation cushion or bench and a shawl or scarf that you may like to drape over your shoulders while meditating.  Using the same shawl is said to absorb the positive energy from your meditations over time.

Meditation wrap for your yoga practice
Paisley meditation shawl

A home altar is a very personal space curated by you with items that you love and that hold meaning for you.  Create a home altar to enrich your practice whether it is a single flower in a simple vase or an elaborate arrangement of sculptures and images.

What items will you choose?

 

Please know that I am an ‘affiliate’ which means that I make a small commission if any products from Etsy featured here are purchased via this website.  As an Etsy shop owner myself I’m supporting and promoting Etsy’s crafting community.

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Five Great Yoga Books for Women

Yoga for Women
Get the skinny on 5 great women’s yoga books

 

To coincide with Women’s Health Week, here is a selection of five really great women’s yoga books worthy of space on your bookshelf!

The Woman’s Book of Yoga & Health – Linda Sparrowe & Patricia Walden

The Woman's Book of Yoga & Health - Linda Sparrowe & Patricia Walden
The Woman’s Book of Yoga & Health – Linda Sparrowe & Patricia Walden

This book is one of my absolute favorites!  It is broken down into five chapters which sequentially cover the changes in a woman’s body and life as she ages.

Starting with essential sequences & yoga for the menstrual cycle through pregnancy, back care, menopause, osteoporosis and heart health amongst other health conditions.

There is a great deal of written information relevant to each topic alongside well lit black and white photos showing specific sequences.

This book is a great investment to anyone wanting to learn about women’s health & yoga in more depth and it’s a great resource for yoga teachers-in-training and experienced yoga teachers alike.

Thoroughly recommend it!

 

DK Yoga for Women – Shakta Kaur Khalsa

DK Yoga for Women - Shakta Kaur Khalsa
DK Yoga for Women – Shakta Kaur Khalsa

You can never go wrong with a DK published book!

Bright, colored photography for many sequences covering a range of women’s health topics including menstruation, pregnancy, menopause & aging.  Easy to read, easy to understand and easy to follow yoga sequences.  A great book for any yoga practitioner.

 

Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful – Gurmukh

Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful - Gurmukh
Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful – Gurmukh

Specifically for the pregnancy and birth stages of a woman’s life.  This book is less of a yoga pose sequence book and more of a meditative and blissful read.  Broken up into the three trimesters discussing the physical, mental and emotional changes experienced through pregnancy and ending with preparation for birth and life after birth.

Lots of great advice and exercises on breathing, meditation and relaxation.  An informative read for a unique time in a woman’s life.

 

DK Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond – Francoise Barbira Freedman

DK Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond - Francoise Barbira Freedman
DK Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond – Francoise Barbira Freedman

Another great book for pregnancy, birth and new motherhood.  A winning combination of easy to read, easy to follow and easy to understand sequences and practices for all stages of pregnancy and postpartum.

With the DK stamp of quality this would make a great book for any practitioner starting yoga.

 

Hip Tranquil Chick – Kimberly Wilson

Hip Tranquil Chick - Kimberly Wilson
Hip Tranquil Chick – Kimberly Wilson

And now for something a little different!

Hip Tranquil Chick is a funky, inspiring read that is less yoga sequences and more how to bring yoga into all aspects of your life.  Explore how to take yoga off of your mat and into your friendships, career, finances and personal style.  A really upbeat and alternative yoga book for the chick that you are!

Lots of fun!

 

please know that I am an affiliate and may receive a small commission for anything you may purchase via yogaskinny but at no additional cost to you 🙂

 

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