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KIDS

I have recorded videos of kids' yoga classes for online personal use, available here: https://www.byomyogavideos.com/p/kids.html. To use in a commercial, educational, or training program, or to download for distribution, please reach out to me at byomyoga@gmail.com.

Kids Yoga at San Carlos Library

Wednesdays 2:30 PM 

On June 8, 2022 we are FINALLY restarting Kids Yoga in San Carlos! They will be on Wednesday afternoons at 2:30-3:15PM. You can expect  movement, songs, library-chosen books, occasion-and-yoga-themed crafts, parent-and-kid partnering, and overall a lot of fun. Please note that this isn't a drop-off class; modeling participation is such an important part, and I do have plenty of caregiver-kiddo partnering to keep it fun for ALL ages! If you are unable to get down to the floor we will have chairs for seating. (If you do need to use your electronic device during class please step out of the room briefly.)

I will have some mats available for lending, but I do recommended having one of your own per child so they have safe space for movement. If we have a group of folks that need mats, we can always consider doing a group purchase to get a warehouse discount. 

No sign-ups or payment needed, just show up and ENJOY!

I have recorded videos for previous kids yoga classes for online personal use, available here: https://www.byomyogavideos.com/p/kids.html. To use in a commercial, educational, or training program, or to download for distribution, please reach out to me at byomyoga@gmail.com.

For at-home use, I recommend caregiver participation and supervision, to help model appropriate behavior and encourage engagement.

We start each class with introductions and "what's new" time, then move into practicing being present with the "breathing ball" (Hoberman Sphere©). After that we posed, grooved, danced, rocked and rolled and created with music, poetry, rhymes, storytelling, and sometimes even a simple yoga craft. Some days we added a book before quiet time, but we always settled in for some peaceful moments with our "snuggle friends" and affirmations. 

Child Safety & Class Guidelines

Your child's safety is my first priority. I carry liability insurance with Philadelphia Insurance (proof provided upon request), as does each site where I conduct my classes. I maintain my adult/child CRP/AED/First Aid certification (with an on-site retraining every two years), have had multiple fingerprint identification verifications, and have participated in the following additional child safety trainings:
  • Child Abuse Training and Refresher Courses (YMCA, 2015-2021)
  • HeadsUp Coaches Concussions Training for Youth Sports Coaches (YMCA, 2017-19)
  • Active Shooter Training (YMCA, 2021)
I regularly consult with early childhood education specialists, teachers, and therapists, and attend conferences and trainings so that I can provide the most fun and safe yoga experience for you and your children. With that being said, it is important parents take precautions in classes as well:
  • When classes are on tiled/linoleum floors, I request children either wear shoes or gripper socks or be in bare feet, and/or stay on their yoga mats to prevent falls (regular socks are too slippery). 
  • It is important that everyone support a "no running" policy at all times. We often do "fast feet" on our own mats but we never run in the yoga room.
  • Please keep extra toys, sippy cups, purses, bags, shoes, etc., off the yoga mats/out of the way to prevent accidents. 
  • Blankets and towels are sufficient for sitting/resting but do not work for standing/moving, as they can create tripping/slipping hazards. 
  • Children can take breaks to hydrate during class. However, chewing gum, eating, or drinking from a baby bottle or sippy cup while moving around during class are choke hazards.
  • I bring a bag of soothing stuffed toys for cuddling during rest time (savasana) but feel free to have your child bring one (1) of their own for comfort in case they have a favorite.
A few more requests to help classes run smoothly:
  • Parent involvement/modeling behavior is the key to success. Your interaction with your children, and others in class, creates the foundation of our class, our community, our sangha!
  • If you do not want to sit on the floor to participate, we have chairs parents can utilize next to their child's mat. 
  • If you must make calls, please step out of the room with your mobile device to prevent distraction and disruption. 
  • Do not force or shame children into participating. They will observe and join in as they feel comfortable. 
  • If a child is having a tantrum, quietly removing them from the yoga circle can minimize their behavioral outburst, your frustration level, and the distraction for others.
  • I never mind if people come late to class: better late for yoga than never. But, please come in and set up quietly. I also don't mind if you (or your child decides they) need to leave early. Some time in class is better than none!

Q: How do you make kids do yoga?________A: You don't.

If  I've learned anything from working with kids in this capacity, it's that you don't (shouldn't, and if we get really honest about it, can't) make children do anything if want them to enjoy it, embrace it, learn it voluntarily, AND create a healthy relationship with them. Not only does forcing or requiring obedience go against the yogic principle of ahimsa (non-harming), but it creates mistrust between children and the teacher. Yes, the teacher must lead (by example, not fear of reprisal), but by releasing the expectation (from them, as well as from parents/caregivers) that the child has to do exactly as I
do, the children (teens, etc.) can experience the "yoga-oriented play" and garner the same benefits as from any traditional hatha flow class. The unconventional-looking classes actually follow the same energetic arcs as traditional yoga classes, and incorporate the same lessons but in an age-appropriate package.


Music

I use music to move the classes along at a child-oriented pace so that I don't sound, to them, like a voice that just drones on and on and on about something. 90 second to 3 minutes bites of aural flavor set a mood (fast, slow, syncopated, jaunty, groovy, etc.) and a theme to which I can them weave physical moves to match what we need at that time. It's a joy when the kids start to ask for certain songs by name, and especially when they hear one of the "resting time" songs and just lie down on the mat and ask for a "snuggle animal."

Books * Stories
Yoga, importantly, doesn't have to be about poses and postures, or even being quiet. We can start to help children develop mindfulness by reading books to them that capture their attention. The books don't have to be about yoga poses either, but can be about principles we all know come into play in our every day lives; like, taking care of our bodies, caring for our planet, being kind, learning to read, eating healthy, or even cultural parables.

Some of my favorites have been the Pete the Cat (Eric Litwin and James Dean) and Pigeon and Elephant and Piggy (Mo Willems) series. Eric Carle's illustrated books are always winners and can be used for quiet time (resting) or even made more active. I'll often take the expert opinion by picking up one of the librarian's monthly recommendations already out on a shelf!

I like to foster creativity by asking them questions about the story, to come up with yoga/movements that match what is happening or even have them read a page out loud. Asking them to sit perfectly still is an exercise in futility. But when I tell them they can participate (but offer rules for polite behavior, guidelines for respect and participation, and allow for appropriate silliness and wiggliness) it makes the experience more memorable and far more engaging.

With kids older than five I like to use story telling cards that show pictures to inspire the students to tell their own story, or and show/teach a "new yoga pose" about the picture. 

Here's a short list of other activities and crafts I've used in classes for visual, auditory, fine motor sensory stimulation, as well as just plain fun!  I've used most of them at either birthday parties (especially the messier more supply intensive ones), but also in libraries and in preschool classes. Some of my best games came from things my own son had outgrown!

Crafts
  • Maracas (clean plastic bottles with lids and plastic eggs, beans/rice/plastic beads, plastic spoons, Duck tape to cover and seal, Washi tape and stickers to decorate)
  • Slime (borax, water, glue, food coloring, adding plastic spiders, eyeballs, etc. for halloween slime or glitter for space slime)
  • Lotion (unscented lotion, essential oils/extracts, plastic bottles and stickers to decorate)
  • Yoga eye pillows (fabric markers on pre-cut cloth, ready-made beanbags for inside)
  • Sticker posters/cards/door knockers (Foam bases and stickers)
  • Shaving foam prints (shaving cream, food coloring, heavy duty paper for "printing")
  • Yoga mat decorating (yoga mats, paint markers, foam stickers)
  • Grounding rocks (outdoor rocks, acrylic paint)
  • Healthy eating surprises (fruits and veggies, plastic knives for cutting different ways)
  • Yoga spiders/insects (pipe cleaners, pompons, stick-on eyeballs, burlap for "mats")
  • Yoga crowns (cardboard, stickers, foil, and kids get to make new rules for the "kingdom")
  • Tooting horns (TP/paper towel tubes, stickers)
Games
  • Yoga Twister (using a parachute or other large colorblocked surface)
  • Yoga Limbo (no "outs", can go under any way, use multiple sticks)
  • Crazy Yoga Walking Path (add a mat at a time to make a crazy path, every does different yoga "walks" down it)
  • Storytelling (each person adds a new part to a story)
  • Who's the Teacher? (make up a new pose and describe/teach it to the class)
  • Wedgits (use patience and cooperation to build towers out of square and pyramid "rings")
  • Suspend (balance differently bent wires on one center tower)
  • Orbeez "egg toss" (use hydrophilic beads instead of eggs for a more ecological and cleaner version of the game. Beads dissolve with more water or can be swept up and thrown away. Also, fun to just experience the "squish")
  • Yoga Hopscotch (with or without chalk lines outside

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