Hannah has some sound advice ‘Be Pre Pared! and Let it GO!
Could 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.
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?
The 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
• 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.
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….
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!