Kids Yoga Feature – Hannah Taylor

Hannah has some sound advice ‘Be Pre Pared! and Let it GO!
Hannah Taylor Little YogsCould you tell us a bit about your yoga journey and how you ended up teaching yoga to kids?
My very first yoga class was at Virgin Active in Kloof. If I’m not mistaken it was called Health and Racquet Club way back! My nine-year old self tagged along with my mum (I would rather participate than wait in the children’s play area) and after that one class I was fascinated. After that first experience Yoga made an appearance in my life here and there but my personal practice only took shape after school.

I have my Degree in Foundation Phase Education and after a few years of teaching I found myself resigning my job and diving head-first into a Yoga Teacher Training with Misha Mostert in 2019. I fully immersed myself in the entirety of Yoga and in the process slowly found myself again. Yoga really is magic! There is so much more to yoga than the physical practice, the fancy poses and the ability to hold an inversion. There is life in yoga.
With a degree in teaching and now a qualification in teaching yoga to adults I felt my heartstrings guide me to qualify to teach kiddies. It was meant to be because the lovely Charné from Ommm Kids Yoga was offering her course in Durban the following month.
I started teaching children at the beginning of 2020. I have had many ups and downs because what I had envisioned and carefully planned (in terms of starting a kid’s yoga business) all had to change. Am I grateful that the timing is what it is? YES!
Yes, because there are lessons in every situation, and I needed to learn flexibility and to have a little faith.
Corona allowed me to create my “Little Yogi’s.” I worked with a very talented human Misha-Lee and together (mainly over WhatsApp) Misha brought to life my 12 Little Yogi’s, beautifully illustrated kiddies practicing yoga. With an extended lockdown I got to work on my yoga product, a Mindful Memory Game, and the backend of my business. I now have my own game that I can use in my yoga classes and parents can bring some mindfulness to their little one’s playtime anywhere and hopefully everywhere!

My in-person classes have just begun again. Children are precious, they are pure, very honest (I’ve been asked what all those spots are on my face many times – Freckles!) and they are always eager to learn and have fun and play.

Everything has and still is falling into place. Not even 2020 can disrupt Gods divine timing!

What’s a good age to start yoga with kids?
Hannah Taylor The Little YogisThe youngest I have taught is three. The length of the class was obviously much shorter, we just made twentyminutes, but we had a blast! My classes at the moment have children from four to six, turning seven. I will say this, let your kiddies watch you practice Yoga, watch you meditate, watch you practice your breathing, watch you journal… they will take it all in no matter what their age is. I believe in leading by example.

What are the benefits of kids doing yoga?

Some of the benefits that I’ve noticed are

• self-confidence
• core strength and general improvement in gross-motor skills
• emotional regulation
• breathing using the diaphragm
• co-ordination skills

• memory skills i.e., remembering the sun salutation sequence

Shouldn’t parents be in a yoga class with their kids? Especially at that age and in the initial stages?
This is a good question and I think the response depends on the teacher and the child.

Maybe the teacher wants to facilitate classes where a bond outside of the parent-child relationship is fostered.
My classes are purely for kiddies. I’ve been blessed to have worked at studios that have glass sliding doors so parents that are curious can quietly have a peek without disturbing the flow and energy of the class.

I am not against having a parent in the class, it all depends on the child and how they are feeling when entering the studio for the first time. I always have coloring, or one or two activities (like my Mindful Memory Game) set out on the floor to create some curiosity for the kiddies. Music can also set the tone, but something fairly calm! I’ve made the mistake by playing Disney songs at the beginning of class, within minutes the kiddies were belting out “Let it Go, let it Go!”

Are there any differences when it comes to teaching yoga to boys and girls?
At a young age, no. My classes lately have been majority boys which I think is wonderful! Yoga can be very female dominated so it’s great to see boys starting from a young age.

Why do kids need yoga as a form of physical activity when I can sign them up for sports like soccer, dance or swimming to expend their energy?
Yoga is a holistic activity/practice, meaning mind, body and spirit. I like to keep that in mind when planning every and any class, be it for children or adults. From the physical practice of Yoga we learn to understand ourselves, we foster mindfulness and present-moment awareness as well as exercising the muscles, building strength….

I always come back to this verse; Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self – Bhagavad Gita.

So much can be achieved for the over-all well-being of a child from regular yoga practice.

How do you keep the kids focused and not getting distracted in class?
Be. Pre. pared!
Plan as many classes as you can, writing or typing them out. With that being said you also need to be flexible. You may have planned the most amazing class with all sorts of great activities, and the little ones in your class are just not having it!

Work with the energy you have in class and gently guide the kiddies into using their energy productively and in a way that somewhat follows your plan.
I have a large box I take to my classes with nearly all my tools and resources inside, if I do need to be flexible, I know I have choice. Be gentle with yourself If things are not going according to plan, you also need to have fun!
Have a beautiful festive season filled with light and love. I am so grateful to be able to open my heart and share my journey with you. Namaste.

 

You can contact Hannah at:
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/thelittleyogis
Instagram : @the_little_yogis
Website : https://the-little-yogis.mailchimpsites.com

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