Month: March 2013

Questions on teaching kids yoga answered!

The director of Asana Alphabet receives an average of 10 emails or phone calls per month asking for advice on specific yoga for kids situations.  We’d thought we’d share a few as they come in!  From this morning:

Q: Tomorrow I am having my first class with to brothers age 6 and 11 and would love to ask for advice from you. I feel challenged teaching these two at the same time because of the age difference! What/how would you set up a class in a situation like this?

A:  In general, you’ll have to see what happens on day one because privates are so different…if these brothers get along well, then it shouldn’t be a problem.  If they do not get along, the parents may want to consider doing a half hour separately for each child (if you are there for an hour).

Since a lot of the regular games may be too childish for the 11 year old (but you never know…my middle schoolers do like a lot of those games), you’ll want to drop the songs/storytelling stuff.  Start with the regular sun salutations, time to see how long they can hold a balance on each foot for diagnosis.  I think bringing a ball along would be fun for the 6 year old as well as for 11…they can balance and toss the ball back and forth, pass it back and forth in navasana, hold a stretch and toss it back and forth…something they both will probably like.  If they get along, some partner yoga may work well too (especially down dog on down dog, double balances, double triangle, double plank).  After day one, you’ll probably have a good sense as to what they will enjoy together and be able to tailor accordingly.

Here’s our questioner’s experience after receiving advice:

Thank you so much! I used your suggestions and the kids were so happy and excited for 60min!

Advice post-training: Your questions answered

Asana Alphabet regularly receives emails and phone calls on specific questions for teaching kids yoga.  Though you may have taken workshops and have even taught classes before, there is always room for growth and more questions.  We’d thought we’d share them as they come in so you can take advantage of the advice too. From today:

Q:  Tomorrow I am having my first class with to brothers age 6 and 11 and would love to ask for advice from you; I feel challenged teaching these two at the same time because of the age difference!  What/how would you set up a class in a situation like this?

A: In general, you’ll have to see what happens on day one because privates are so different from one another…if these brothers get along well, then it shouldn’t be a problem.  If they do not get along, the parents may want to consider doing a half hour separately for each child (if you are there for an hour). 

Since a lot of the regular games you would play with a 6-year-old may be too childish for the 11-year-old (but you never know…my middle schoolers do like a lot of those games), you’ll probably want to drop the songs/storytelling aspects of class.  Start with the regular sun salutations, time to see how long they can hold a balance on each foot as an initial diagnosis and intro to yoga.  Bringing a ball along would be fun for the 6-year-old as well as for age 11…they can balance and toss the ball back and forth, pass it back and forth in navasana, hold a stretch and toss it back and forth…something they both will probably like.  If they get along, some partner yoga may work well too (especially double balances, double triangle, double plank).  After day one, you’ll probably have a good sense as to what they will enjoy together and be able to tailor accordingly.  

For more questions or to take a training where many answers are received, email us for information at AsanaAlphabet@gmail.com

Namaste, Ann 

Director, Asana Alphabet

A Stand Out Training for Kids Yoga!

In this blog post, Maisah Hargett, “T is for Teacher” workshop attendee in February of 2013, shares her thoughts on her experience training to be a kids yoga teacher with Asana Alphabet!  She currently volunteer teaches NYC students through NYCares organization too.

Have you ever left a training and felt frustrated that you don’t feel more empowered with more practically-applicable information than you were when you went in? If so, then Asana Alpabet’s teacher trainings are for you.Frequently, especially when it comes to children, trainings regarding how to work with them are super-theory based. All of the information sounds interesting, but how to apply said info in a practical manor seems daunting. My favorite thing about the Asana Alphabet T is for Teacher training was how empowered I felt to use the information following our last session.

The training was so helpful to me because it was such a good blend of the experiential and the explanatory. Ann and Kenzie taught several sample classes to the group, so we could get an idea of how to present information and facilitate activities for a variety of ages. This experiential portion helped to give me a sense of the time and the energy needed for different portions of the class. It also helped to remind me of how fun yoga can be. I think often yoga is used so much for an end (whether it be to calm, to energize, to promote fitness) that it can be easy, for me at least, to forget about the amount of fun that can be infused in the journey. We also watched footage of actual kids classes, which I think really is a must. To see what kids actually look like in the midst of a class, and to get a sense of how many kids’ attention you can hold at any given moment; the attention span of children differs greatly, not only developmentally, but individually. Regarding classroom management, watching the videos gave me a better sense of what needs to be addressed to maintain order, and what I can let go for the sake of class flow.  All that being said, trainings that are solely experiential frequently leave me feeling unclear about how to apply the skills demonstrated beyond the training experience.

Thankfully, this was not the case with the Asana Alphabet training. We went over how to plan a class, individual activity ideas, and ways to modify activities for a range of age groups. We even had a chance to put some of what we learned into action, by planning and executing (with our peers), a portion of a lesson plan. In the past I’ve been hesitant to take positions that required lesson planning, but the way Ann broke down the structure of the lesson means that hesitancy will be a thing of the past.

In addition to the time period of the scheduled training, Ann, Asana Alphabet’s founder, is also amazing when it comes to follow-up, and addressing any question or needs that arise. She keeps her trainings small to ensure that she can give each student the support they need, and it shows. In this day and age, with yoga is taking such a commercial turn, many trainings are just feeling like one more way for people to make money, but such is not the case with Asana Alphabet’s “T is for Teacher” training. Ann’s commitment to putting together a training that leaves you feeling like you have the training AND support you need, both before, during and after the weekend’ssession, really stands out.

 Asana Alphabet presents frequent trainings through out the U.S.  Coming up are an Intensive Training on Teaching Yoga to Teens (April 21-22 at Kula Heart Yoga in PA) and The T is for Teacher basic series at Jaya Yoga in Brooklyn (June 16-17).  Take note, school teachers and early bird registrations usually receive great discounts!