Holy moly. So with the rise in popularity of teaching yoga to kids, I knew the day would come when I had a seriously boy-heavy, super active class. But when that day finally came, specifically my current elementary class (grades K-2), I was woefully unprepared. I went in with my regular routines and let's just say…things didn't go quite as planned. But I kept at it, doggedly determined that at some point this class would fall into the routines as all my past classes have, and it would be smooth sailing from there on out. Hmm. Not so much.
About four classes in, I realized "huh - I think if I want this class to get on board with yoga, I have to really change things up." Said more bluntly - the kids weren't going to change, but I would. Specifically, I needed to modify my usual class routines to make them much more active from the very first moment the bell rang to signal the start of class. I also needed to bring in more action-oriented books that provided excitement PLUS yoga teachings.
The first two lesson plans with the new routine are: The Warrior and the Wise Man and Ninja!. Totally engaging and fun books, each in their own unique way. The class routines haven't changed a ton, but they now look more like this: quick sit with the mindfulness bell, movement/warm-up, breath break, another big movement/warm-up, breath break, read the book, do lots of fun asanas, engage the kids in a challenge pose, and then relax. In terms of behavior management with lots of wiggly kids (not just boys :)), I did have to begin assigning mats, and the savasana is much more structured. For resting time, I guide them in 3-5 Starfish breaths, a body scan, and then I count backwards from 10 very slowly. At 1, they sit up quietly and we finish with Friendly Wishes.
While there is still LOTS of wiggling and giggling, this new approach works so much better overall. I am excited to keep fine-tuning the class lessons to use the kids' energy in really fun, engaging, and productive ways. I love when my students push me out of my comfort zone - I end up learning so much!