What to avoid when teaching kids yoga/mindfulness

I’ve been teaching kids yoga and mindfulness for over 15 years. There have been classes that made my heart sing and fill my students with so much joy! On the other hand, there have been times when classes were just terrible.

Here is a five-ingredient recipe to create a “not so smooth” kids yoga and mindfulness class.

  • Forcing kids to participate who do not want to (because playing video games and having it turned off, then being forced into a class will never work).

  • Having someone in the corner of the room watching. Yoga & mindfulness is vulnerable, nobody wants to feel watched. Especially in positions that are more vulnerable or when trying something new.

  • Being in a space where people are passing through consistently. A lot of yoga and mindfulness is about focusing. Focusing on your breath, finding one point of focus, or an internal gaze. Kids are going to have a hard time focusing with large distractions happening around them.

  • Being annoyed, short, or outwardly frustrated if the class isn’t going quite as planned. Students will never change their behavior if they feel like you don’t understand where they are coming from.

  • Not using the first few classes to really get to know your students. Icebreakers are a great way to build a bond! The more we connect and build relationships the better we can understand each other’s needs.

Sometimes this recipe is beyond our control and we just need to roll with what we are walking into. However, if you have time to set the tone or stage ahead of time, it can help foster safety, connection, and trust.