by Lauren Chaitoff
I am often asked, “What does kids’ yoga look like and how do kids do yoga?” I thought it would be helpful to share a video of me and Davis, a three-year-old Yogi Bean, practicing pranayama, asana and meditation. One of the many aspects of teaching yoga to kids that I love is that it helps me cultivate a deeper understanding of the first yoga sutra: Atha Yoga Anusanasam – Yoga is NOW! Children are not generally concerned about the past or worried about the future: they live in the present moment. For adults, this often proves to be a difficult task, as we tend to anticipate the future and dwell on the past. Working with children takes us out of that mindframe and directs our focus on the moment at hand.
Rather than attempting to shape a “perfect” kids’ yoga class – or make certain every item on your lesson plan is broached – instead, allow yourself to be fully immersed in the present experience and really listen to children. By allowing yourself to be fully present you will encounter far less resistance, and you may even find your class collectively creating an entirely new and rewarding direction that you never imagined. Classes do not need to look neat or entirely orderly. It is much more important – and meaningful to children – that classes are filled with love, joy and compassion. Kids feel such energy to which the essence of yoga will be most clearly revealed.
No doubt, kids’ yoga classes do not always run as planned, which you can even see in this video. When teaching yoga to kids, allow yourself to play, laugh, be silly and carefree. It’s the best job in the world! I want to thank Davis, my Mini-Bean, for his willing participation in this production and his bright spirit after a long school day. And thank you to the stellar Jessica Noe, our Associate Director of Programs at Yogi Beans, for her video editing expertise.
Yogi Beans is the brainchild of mind-body-fitness expert Lauren Chaitoff. In 2005, after training in theater and working in Los Angeles as an actor, Lauren decided to shift her career towards positively impacting children’s lives through fitness and wellness. In 2007, Lauren created Yogi Beans, a company devoted solely to teaching yoga to children of all ages in and around New York City. In 2010, she fortuitously met Alexa Klein, Yogi Beans’ CEO & Co-Owner, and the two united to open Yogi Beans Kids Yoga Studio in NYC. Lauren currently oversees and trains the stellar Yogi Beans Instructor team, leads regular Yogi Beans’ public teacher trainings, and teaches weekly classes to beans of all ages. Lauren continuously evolves Yogi Beans’ programming from her extensive experiences in the classroom, on her mat and through her love and nurturing of her own baby bean, Vivienne Bell. Find Yogi Beans on facebook and twitter@YogiBeans.