Chanting Ommmmmm Final Relaxation
I teach Yoga Kids once a month for 45 minutes to a local Mom’s Club. The kids range in age from 1- 5. I am a former teacher and spent most of my time teaching in a resource classroom. That means I had kids in my class that needed small group instruction. Ideally kids are grouped by similar age, ability and subject. Since most of my teaching career was inner city or rural that didn’t always happen. Often I had to teach math to an older group and reading to a younger group at the same time. Needless to say I was good at multi tasking.
I began teaching Yoga Kids to the Mom’s Club about a year ago. The age range and interest level of the group are varied. The prospect of this did not daunt me. (I was a former resource teacher I reassured myself!) I made up my own curriculum, ABC Yoga. For each letter of the alphabet I created poses in the shape of an animal, plant or something in nature. I imagined talking about the alphabet, colors and numbers and various preschool skills while moving and stretching. I had fun finding yoga books, making flash cards with animal pictures on them, learning fun animal facts that I planned to weave into the class. I gathered an array of lively music, from kid’s reggae to Hawaiian music. I planned and had a back up plan. Preparing for class was fun and reminded me of my old teaching days.
I’ll never forget the first class I taught with the Mom’s Club. I began our first class with stories and stretches, ‘tight rope’ walking for balance, and some fun breathing techniques that included arm movement with breath and then we began the alphabet. We started with A alligator, B Butterfly etc. etc. The older kids liked it but the younger ones lost interest. I tried to move from pose to pose quickly and change things when necessary. I’m not even sure we made it through the alphabet and by the time we got to the end where the lights go out and everyone (even the moms) lay on the floor and listen to a story about an animal, I was EXHAUSTED. Those 45 minutes wiped me out! I thought I was prepared, but I didn’t feel like it! It was a humbling experience and made me realize that I still had a lot to learn about teaching yoga to kids!
I must have done ok because each month the Yoga Kids come back. Some months there are new kids but it’s usually the ‘regulars’ I enjoy watching the kids grow and change. I notice their language develop, personalities develop, get taller, have haircuts and turn into amazing little people. Today I had the pleasure of seeing them become little yogi’s. Several of the girls walked in, set up their mats and began doing downward dog, and down ward dog splits. Another little one was doing her version of Bridge Pose. When we got to U for upside down they all went to the wall for handstands and remembered exactly how to get into them. No one needed Mommy support today! I was so proud of the littlest High Street Yogi’s. The littlest yogi has been coming along with his sisters since he was 1. Even as a 1 year old he loved down dog. Today he discovered ‘upside down’ and for the rest of the class he made his way back to the wall for more handstands!
Today we enjoyed ‘om’ing for as long was we could. Everyone had a turn ringing the gong/chime and during the final relaxation period I played the Namaste’ Song 3 times! There were NO wiggles and the room was quiet! At the end of each class we sit in a circle, bend our knees and stamp one foot and then the other and chant ‘yo’ ‘ga’ I love the ritual of it.
After class I felt so proud of the little yogi’s. I felt energized and not exhausted! They’ve grown and I’ve grown along with them. I look forward to many more months and years of Yoga Kids.