A large part of StuidoB Yoga Center’s culture in Danville, Pennsylvania, has to do with one distinct population: kids.
Becky Duignan, the owner of the studio, shared through the years they’ve looked to serve the children yogis of her business in a variety of ways. For example, they’ve had classes that corresponded with adult classes, happening in different studios at the same time.
They’ve also hosted workshops, from single day versions to six-week courses, as well as camps. And the kid yogis love it. “They’ve come here and just had fun with each other, learning movements and breathing techniques and how to relax and how to have fun and communicate with their bodies. Sharing is a big element,” said Duignan. “We teach them all different kinds of skills.”
Obviously, kid yogis and adult yogis require different teaching styles. Duignan said when teaching kids yoga, her and two instructors who are skilled with teaching children utilize games. For instance, Yogi Says — like Simon Says — or Down Dog Tag — if you are tagged, you have to be in Down Dog until someone crawls under you — teach the kids yoga poses while keeping the energy level high.
But poses aren’t the only things taught to kid yogis. “We integrate the eight limbs of yoga,” said Duignan. “We talk about what peace means to them and what non-harmony means to them, and just all of these different concepts that yoga is built around, and some of the answers are just so cute.”
Giving the kids time to share, as well as time to ponder some of the deeper concepts, Duignan said they do a pretty good job of applying those lessons. In fact, she explained kids are amazing teachers, which is one thing she noted when giving advice on how to incorporate kids yoga into a studio.
“Kids are amazing teachers,” said Duignan. “They come to take yoga, expecting to gather all of this information, all of these lessons from us, but I learned so much in kids yoga … As a tip I would share to really listen to what your kid yogis have to say, and just let them be teachers as well.”
Duignan also noted instructors of kid yogis need to have patience, high energy and fun. She said it can be nerve-wracking to teach yoga to a niche audience, but you need to focus on having fun yourself.
Plus, you aren’t just teaching yoga to children; you’re teaching them so much more. “[We’re] really empowering a sense of leadership in classes and letting them take turns leading each other and listening to each other and sharing,” said Duignan. “That’s really important because they learn respect for themselves and respect for others through that.”