Kids and energy, two inseparable forces. Kids can bring a special kind of smile to your face, or sometimes a special kind of meltdown to your already-stressful day — they’re overflowing with energy.
Studios across the nation have recognized this energy and created classes to help channel it. One of these studios is Buddha Barn Yoga in Bellmore, New York, where they incorporate exercise, develop confidence and increase concentration in kids during yoga.
“I think the reason I’m so passionate about bringing that into my studio is the gift you can give children, they don’t realize it. You’re teaching them how to move and relate to their movement and be peaceful in their body in a time when it’s really stressful for children to live,” said Kelly Mitchell, the owner of Buddha Barn. “And it’s an honor really to be able to teach them. The fact that you get up in the morning and your job is to kind of make changes in the world affecting a child — that’s kind of a ripple effect.”
Mitchell started her kid’s yoga classes with a workshop specifically for 12-year-old girls. Girl Power was formulated to help young girls at a pivotal point in their lives, as they cross over from childhood to womanhood. The workshop is filled with exercises, dialogue and yoga to help them during the change.
“Girl Power was absolutely beautiful and so rewarding, and I was like, “OK, I want to do this,” said Mitchell. That’s when she made the decision to open her classes up to a variety of ages for both boys and girls.
All the programs are different, so they require unique props, dialogue and teaching styles depending on the age of the kid’s class. For Mitchell, the best thing to do is gather her thoughts before creating a lesson plan for each class. She decides her mission for the kids, takes notes, then structures it without dtoo much rigidity.
For example in a 5-and-up class, Mitchell incorporates introductions, setting ground rules and then sequences in the physical asana. For props, they use things like breathing balls and bells. They’ve found themes are a good way to get the kid’s energy going, whether it’s animal or nature themed — anything fun they can understand and relate to helps channel their energy.
She also said to be mindful of schedules when deciding when to host classes and workshops. Usually at Buddha Barn Yoga they don’t have any kids classes right after school, in order to give the kids a chance to decompress. She suggests studios just starting to implement kid’s classes try a one-time workshop during seasonal breaks. Parents are always looking for something creative to do with their kids over spring, summer and winter breaks, so if you can get them in the door with one creative workshop it can then transition to getting them signed up for three or six week classes.
For the promotions it’s all about targeting both what the kids and their parents need. The best times for promotions are over the seasonal breaks, and then following their schedule accordingly. Much like traditional yoga, you have to be understanding of your students. This flow is no different, it just might take a little more creativity and patience.