Tips for teaching yoga to tweens and teens

Teaching yoga to this age group can be a challenging task. Here are some ideas to help plan your classes.

Class structure for a 1 hour class:

  1. Intro (1-5 minutes)
  2. Warm-ups (5-10 minutes)
  3. Yoga (30-40 minutes)
  4. Relaxtion (5 minutes or more)
  5. Mediation or Pranayama (3-5 minutes)
  6. Game or activity (5 minutes)
  7. Close (1-2 minutes)

Have a theme for each class or series of classes. It will make planning easier and you will be more likely to keep the participants engaged.

Ideas for themes:

  • Physical anatomy
  • Subtle anatomy such as the Chakras
  • Introduce the Yamas and Niyamas
  • The mythology of some poses such as Hanumanasana
  • A characteristic such as strength, balance, fearlessness etc.
  • The importance of relaxation
  • Team work. Have them help you teach the class by using asana cards.
  • A life lesson through a story such as this one.

Relaxation:

Guided meditations are nice. They allow the children something to focus on. It’s especially good for those who might not feel safe to relax or are agitated.

Breath techniques:

  • 3 part breath
  • Alternate nostril breathing
  • Ujjayi breath

Remember to explain the benefits and offer examples of how they can be used in their daily lives.

Meditations:

Breath awareness.  Take a deep inhale, then exhale and count 10. Inhale again and exhale count 9. Continue to count down the exhales until you get to 0. If you lose count start again at 10.

Mind screen. This is to help cleanse the subconscious mind. You can explain that the subconscious is like a video camera that records everything you do and eventually needs to get erased. It gets rid the unnecessary through dreaming and meditation. Here is how to do it:

Close your eyes and become aware of the dark screen in front of your eyes. You might see patterns, images or colours. Simply observe without judgement or attachment. Allow the images to appear and disappear.

Activities:

Freeze Dance

Dance to music and freeze in a yoga posture when the music stops.

Collective Masterpiece

Materials: A variety of colored crayons or markers and paper

The children pick one or two colors. They must decide on a picture or you can suggest a theme. They can only use their own color to complete the picture. This forces each person to contribute and for the group to work together.

Books for inspiration:

1001 Pearls of Yoga Wisdom

Myths of Asanas

Do you teach yoga to tweens and teens? If so what are some of your favourite tips?