Structuring a tween yoga class can be tricky; games and songs can seem so juvenile, yet a traditional adult flow, is often too much. Tweens are at that awkward age between being a young kid and a teenager. They want to be treated with respect, but also crave the silliness that comes with being a younger child. Try to structure your class more similarly to an adult class, but be sure to layer it with lots of playing. Allow for talking and discussion, but be able to reign it in when necessary. To create a flow, try following a curve; start slow with gentle movements, work your way up to more physical activities, then work your way back down to more quiet and relaxing asanas.
Try following these 7 Simple steps to structure your next class:
- Opening Meditation: Use this time to settle your tweens. Set the stage by giving them time to quiet their minds and to connect to their breath and to their bodies. Try having them start on their back; it’s a great way to get them to let go and become more present.
- Warm Ups: Warm ups are an important segue from the stillness to get your students moving. Make it fun for them – try to incorporate props for added stretching and some balancing moves.
- Standing Poses: As you transition them up to standing, try some non traditional ways of practicing. Try balancing on blocks with closed eyes, doing half moon against the wall, or dancer’s pose with straps.
- Fun/Group Activities: Tweens love group activities – from games, to partner work to mindful activities, there are so many fun ideas! Get to know your group and see where their interests lie. If you’re stuck, check out the website for some fun ideas!
- Challenge: Tweens also love to be challenged. Whether it’s a new armbalance, handstand competition, or just learning something completely new, give them time to play and explore.
- Cool Down: After some high energy activities, that often include lots of talking, a cool down is a great way to start to slow things down. Incorporate mellow stretches, such as twists, legs up a wall, pigeon and forward folds, to signal the kids that it’s time to quiet down. This will also signal their bodies to start to let go as they prepare for their final pose.
- Savasana: Allow kids to relax any way that they want, whether it’s on their front, back or side. Bolsters, blankets, eye pillows or an other props can be a great way to help them find a space of stillness.Keep the room quiet with relaxing music, or add a guided visualization. If they are comfortable with massage, grab some oils and incorporate a shoulder and perhaps foot massage to help them surrender even more.
Tweens love this dichotomy of mixing silliness with seriousness. Get creative – maybe incorporate a short flow, maybe let them lead a segment. Listen to your kids and find out what they want to do and try to integrate it.
And as always, have fun! 🙂