How to Assess Your Yoga Class

We all know that yoga works. Here’s your chance to prove it! It’s helpful to have research from other yoga programs. It’s even more beneficial if you have your own research from your teaching. Program evaluation is vital to convincing schools, parents, teachers, and administrators that yoga is worth it!

You may be thinking, “I’m not a researcher, how can I gather data?” Here are some tips:

Define Goal of Research & Yoga Class:  First decide what you want your students to gather from your yoga class. For example, the overarching goals for my classes and research were to “provide students with supportive tools to help focus, relax, and bring about awareness in order to manage emotions.” Once you have your goal in mind, you can develop specific components of your survey. For example, I wanted my classes to provide tools to know what to do when they are feeling anxious, angry, and sad, improve body awareness, learning ways to help focus & concentrate, and provide relaxation. When you have defined why you are teaching your classes and what your research could help support, it will be easier to develop your own survey.

Pre-Test & Post-Test: In order to support your claim that yoga supports self-regulation and body awareness, it is important to have a baseline. Distribute exactly the same survey the first day of yoga class and the final day of class if possible. This is helpful for you to create a comparison.

Age Appropriate: Make sure to make your research age appropriate. For Pre-K-2nd grade, I prefer to have a space for drawing in addition to the writing portion. This provides an additional way for the child to express their feelings in addition to the writing prompt.

Research Sample: Here is an example survey that I used based on a 3 Option Likert scale (always, sometimes, never) for children in 3rd-5th Grade.

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  1. I can calm myself down when I feel angry
  2. I am aware of feelings of anxiousness or worry
  3. I can listen to how my body is feeling
  4. I can focus most of the time on my schoolwork
  5. I notice when my body needs to relax
  6. I have a skill to calm down in the classroom
  7. I know more about my body and breath
  8. I can calm myself down when I feel upset
  9. I can recognize stress, tightness or stiffness in my body

Additional Assessment Ideas

assessment-1

assessment-2

 

Research is great for school districts and parents. It is even more important for YOU! It helps you determine if you are teaching what you think you are teaching and if your students understand. Good luck in your research and please share once your data has been gathered!

 

The Yoga Show

Yoga Show is a great way to showcase what the children have learned and is also a great way to market upcoming classes! In addition to inviting the parents and families, I also invite the school’s childcare program to watch the show!47-2014-02-SpringHillFL-407

Make a Backdrop
As part of the session before our show, I bring in a large rolled up poster board for the children to decorate. This is the “back drop” for our show and helps the children feel proud of what they have accomplished! We usually pick a theme and use crayons, markers, and stickers to decorate the poster! If you are brave, you can use glitter but be careful!

Photo Posters
Throughout the session I take photos of the children so I can make a huge poster. I surprise them on the last day and put the photos next to their backdrop. It’s fun and a great way for the children and their families to reflect on our session!

Introductions & Favorite Poses
Children love being “mini teachers” and like to show their favorite pose to imagetheir parents. They can show a real pose or make up their own! After they show their favorite pose and teach it, the other children follow along. It’s also a great way for children that lack confidence in the beginning or are shy to help them come out of their shell!

Yoga Dance
I love the idea of putting the key poses we worked on into a dance! The last two sessions I have used songs with positive messages, “Brave” and “Fight Song.” During the chorus the children flow through a sun salutation. Then I integrate other poses throughout the dance like tree pose, chair, dancer’s, and more! It’s a lot of fun to practice and seems to be a big hit with the parents!

Awards
The award varies by session. Sometimes I will give out medals or a paper certificate. I one by one call out the child’s name with their award and “nickname”. For example, I have “balance ninja”, “mini teacher”, “big helper”, and “focused warrior” award. I make them up based on the child and make sure they have a special award.

Thank You
I always make sure to thank the children and their parents. I bring up the upcoming sessions as another way to advertise as well!25235706466_1cc4a6ed55_o

The Yoga Shows are always one of my favorite days! It’s so fun to see how much your classes grow and a sweet culmination of another great session!

Picture Perfect

communication-1296385_1280In some ways, the business of kids’ yoga is no different than running any other business (other than a kids’ yoga business can change the world, of course). You are always looking for income, and in the case of kids’ yoga, that means new clients. It used to be you could recruit new students through word-of-mouth and personal invitations. Nowadays, however, the game has changed and social media is the way to reach the most people, the fastest, and for the least amount of investment. But, and this is the big ‘but’, you have to catch people’s attention.

Think about your last venture onto Facebook or Instagram, how many posts did you just scroll by without so much as a cursory glance? Your challenge as a business owner is to get EYES on you before clients will click on your post. According to Edgerank, a Facebook program for figuring out how much of what you post gets seen by the people who have liked you, you need photos, lots of photos. The Edgerank formula suggests that 90% of your posts include photos.

Now you could just post any old photo, but if you really want to gain views you’ll wfrog-888798_1280ant to edit your photos to really be attention grabbers. Through filters, frames, and text you can create striking pictures that are ready to be ‘liked’, shared, and reposted. Which, of course, means more people seeing what you are offering. To that end, here are a few favorite editing programs and apps that you will want to try (all either free or less than $3).

Retype: Great for creating memes using either your own photo or one of their stock photos. I especially like that you can add text and change the font and style with a simple press of a button. Colors, shadows, and graphics are also included in the style selections.

Rhonna: This app is another great meme maker, using photos you upload or one of their charming backgrounds. Rhonna has tons of fonts, graphics, filters, frames, colors, and options for shadows and spacing. The basic app is free, but there are additional font/theme purchases you could make.

Be Funky: Talk about choices! Take a simple photo and do amazing things with it. With graphics and overlays, you can layer logos and artwork on top of your picture. Plus, dozens of fonts and filters are available. This is my new go-to for creating advertising memes.

Pixabay: Looking for clip art or a specific photo to use? Look no farther. Pixabay has thousands (millions?) of photographs, clip art (some transparent for layering), and backgrounds to create your perfect photo for publishing. And all of the images are free!

Photoshop Mix: Also a good layering app, it also has the capability of removing unwanted objects from your photos. It takes some experimenting to learn how it works, but the basics are pretty easily managed.

Posting pictures is a good way to start generating interest, but you also have to stay in your audience’s face. Post everyday with something interesting, funny, or noteworthy. 22594085706_be056fc0fb_zMake your site interactive by replying to comments, asking questions to start conversations, and giving “shout-outs” to your readers. You could have contests to generate buzz. And if you are a hashtag user, varying your tags often leads you to new viewers.

But start with pictures. And with kids’ yoga, that’s easy because our kiddos are so naturally adorable!

Visualize Your Business Blossoming

Meditation is a fantastic practice to lead a less stressful life.  Meditation creates an alpha state so the mind is relaxed, present, and receptive. It creates a state of being still instead of busykids yoga teaching training. The senses become enhanced: sights, sounds, touching, feeling are all brighter and clearer, more intense. With meditation, practioners are more in touch with and understand their feelings. It can lead to greater happiness and self acceptance.

Visualization is a great preparation for learning to meditate. Creative visualization is like a picture story you create in your head. The story keeps the mind focused on one thing-keeping the mind from jumping from one thought to another. I have created a personal picture story about growing an idea to help me visualize growing my children’s yoga business. Here’s my story:

Spring is the time for new beginnings. The weather is near perfect: the flowers are blooming, leaves are popping out on trees, and birds are singing.

Many religions celebrate the beginning of life. No matter what religion you practice or don’t practice, you can’t help but get caught up in the rhythm of life. There is a cycle within us that we naturally follow. Everything in nature begins again, grows, stays the same, and then dies. Take this time to embrace spring, begin to meditate on new adventures, whatever they may be. yoga kids teacher training

Imagine in detail a dream you have, whether it is a new class, new business adventure, or simply personal growth. Visualize this idea as a tiny seed. How will you take care of the seed? You will nurture the seed and start to care for it. This could mean making phone calls, writing a business plan, or catching up with an old friend. All these things will give life to your seed. See yourself carrying out every step of the plan.

The seed will then start to grow roots firmly anchored in the soil. Soon, a tiny green shoot will emerge out of the ground. It is still fragile. It needs lots of care. It needs to be sheltered and lovingly cared for. Soon, the leaves begin to uncurl taking the seed into the shape of a plant. How will you care for your new seedling? (This is where your “idea” takes on more life.) What can you do at this time for your idea? lily-1180307_1280Maybe the leaves are opening up to the sun. What does the sun represent to you? The sun can be other people helping your idea along. The sun gives us life. Remember, we need to water our plant and give it lots of sunlight. How big will you allow your seedling to grow? Has it become a plant with a beautiful flower? Visualize the plant flourishing in the garden. Bees, birds and butterflies are all around it. Maybe, the flower goes to seed, but the plant is still rooted in the ground and may appear each season. Or, the tiny seeds ride on the wind to other parts of the garden or even into other yards where they land and the cycle of life may begin again.

Starter’s Guide to Teaching Kids’ Yoga: Business Edition

blue-1239012_640In addition to all the amazing props, books, and CDs you need to start teaching yoga to children, you also need business knowledge. Here are the main components you should know right away:

Necessary Paperwork
When you start out as a yoga teacher, you need liability insurance. All studios and schools require you to be insured to teach yoga to children. It’s fairly inexpensive and easy to purchase online. TB Tests are another common requirement needed for teaching children, especially in a school setting. It’s a very quick test that you can take at your doctor’s office. Fingerprinting is a necessity when teaching kids yoga! Every school district and company can require a different set of fingerprinting. Once you have the schools scheduled, find a certified fingerprinting location and make copies to send to the school!

Social Media & Website
Starting with asking family and friends to “follow” you, creating a website and social media page is essential to your success! Without a website and Facebook, it’s difficult for parents to find you and clearly know your class times and mission. I’d recommend WordPress because it’s easy to use and they have various templates if you aren’t familiar with creating a website!

Word of Mouth Marketing
Building your kids’ yoga classes means starting out with word of mouth marketing. Try teaching a class at your local library, community center, and school. The more families you teach, the more you can grow your following! Contact any connections you may have and share your message.

Know your facts
School administrators, parents, and teachers may ask you the same question, “Why yoga for kids?” Be ready to answer with research and your story. They will be able to see your passion and learn about specific research that supports yoga for children. Be prepared by having a packet describing your program, research, and necessary paperwork.

Good luck and you can do it!

Making An Impact with Kids Yoga

It’s not every day you get to make a difference, especially in a community in desperate need of Loving -Kindness. On May 2, 2015, I had the divine pleasure of being an integral part of the first Yoga festival to hit the historic Midtown area of St. Petersburg, Florida. This festival grew out of a desire to spread the love for healthy living and fitness, both physical and mental. What began as a going away party for an area Yoga instructor quickly became one of the most positive and authentic experiences in my life. The Yoga By The Bay: Festival Of The Sun donated 100% of its proceeds to a local grassroots suicide prevention 11210263_10202671118617548_1421099794_nfoundation called IMpower.

Once the party became an official event, I decided to offer a kids’ Yoga babysitting service for parents who wanted to attend other classes, unhindered. I took full advantage of a fenced in area behind the sponsoring gym: I designed an obstacle course ending in a makeshift labyrinth, using the big used tires the gym owner has for his Boot Camp classes. I also laid out an entire table for crafts. And just in case, I had chalk and bubbles ready to go!

Shortly after the event started, my dream began to take on a life of its own. A few parents opted to leave their kiddos in the “Kid Zone”, but something even bigger was unfolding… the kids from the neighborhood  began to flock toward my gate. I invited them to join us, of course! We had a blast singing and dancing, and the neighborhood boys enjoyed being challenged by “the crow”. 15630662808_3d149ee634_zOne little fella even clued me in to how special this moment was, and how small the world really is… he was raving about how much he loved kids’ Yoga and that he gets to “take Yoga” at school a lot. He attends Melrose Elementary, where Karma Yoga classes have been provided by volunteers for Kidding Around Yoga for quite some time! I was humbled and blown away at the response from these kids. They were really into it!

When it came time for my “spotlight” family class out on the festival grounds, some of the neighborhood boys followed and joined in. The joy and the energy were just immeasurable. In just one day, I saw the very real and very immediate impact Yoga can have on a community. I experienced how attractive the energy of our classes and our methods can be. In a neighborhood that has been struggling for decades with crime and poverty, the children are learning Yoga… and sharing Yoga eagerly with their friends. Becoming mindful young yogis, teaching each other how to calm their minds. Just imagine how much this alone will impact this neighborhood in the next decade as these kids grow and become productive members of their neighborhoods! 11210195_10202671118177537_1090107971_n

My heart is so full from just being present during such a peaceful and powerful day in the most unlikely neighborhood. I am beyond excited to see how far this journey will take me. I am taking the reigns for the next Festival Of The Sun, and I look forward to more outreach and Karma Yoga in the near future.

 

Scouting for Scout Connections

KAY Girl Scout Patches

KAY Girl Scout Patches

The principals of yoga that we teach in Kidding Around Yoga align easily with the mission and way of the Scouts but how do we connect with them?  Here are a variety of ways to market kids yoga classes to Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops in your immediate area and beyond! In fact, troops are often searching for good troop activities, and we have that and a wonderful badge (they LOVE badges), too.

Connecting ~

  1.  If you are currently running classes, start with your students and simply ask, “anyone here in Girl/Boy Scouts?”  If yes, let the student’s mom know you would love to host a troop. If you can get the leaders name and make the contact yourself to set up the program.
  2. Girl Scouts run on a local, district, regional and national level. Our town has 2 coordinators. I let them know of the opportunity I had available for all troops and asked if they would disseminate the information to all of their troops; remember, they are looking for opportunities and you have them. An email introducing yourself and what you have to offer is a great way to start. Also remember, the easier you make it for them to give out your information the more likely they are to do it. Also since I have my own studio, I offered to host their leaders’ meeting here and have flyers of upcoming opportunities always available for them. They are happy to market for me as a thank you. Create win-win opportunities when possible.
  3. Volunteer for the Scouts – Most towns or districts have an Encampment or Jamboree.  I offered to do a workshop at the last 2 Town-wide Encampments.  I taught to 150 girl scouts in two hours.  They were quick ½ hour sessions, and, yes, troops ended up booking full classes from this!
  4. Look for Opportunities – Our Girl Scout Council has a mother-daughter event for those girls who share their moms as leaders with their troops.  I did the event one year at $10 a pair (and let them know what a deal they were getting) and had 15 pair of moms and daughters. If you do the math it is not a bad pay for an hour’s work and yes more bookings happened for their troops!  If your local council does not have this type of event you can suggest it AND host the first one.
  5. Opportunities are everywhere – if there are children around, there is a great chance that there is a possibility to teach a class. So simply let people know what you do. You are a walking marketing tool for your business in how you present yourself & how you act. So if you are living your yoga, chances are people will ask for your secret, especially with kids.  I was performing for little kids at a local ice cream shop and got to talking with one of the moms there. Turns out she is a troop leader for a 5th grade and 3rd grade.  She booked both of them with me, and she is in another town. Once someone has a great experience they will begin the marketing for you! Then volunteer for their Encampment and the circle begins again!

Marketing beyond ~
Once you have a troop in, make sure you try to keep the connection going. If they have opted for the patch I attach it to my current class offering AND make sure my birthday parties are listed too.

I also try to collect emails from everyone who participate and then send a thank you email following the class and a coupon for another class.

Other things to consider ~
Keep your prices fair for everyone.  I am outside the Boston area and charge $10 per child and an extra $2 if they want the badge.

Make a plan for yourself and write it down. How many troops and/or individuals do want to work with? That will be your guide for how to proceed.

Remember to make it relevant for what the troop leader is hoping for.  I have a conversation with the leader and decide the focus, and it is usually how to be kind to yourself and others, how to help them relax and how to really love/like who you are right now.

While most of this has been geared towards Girl Scouts, I have had a few Cub Scouts participate. Be open to what opportunities present. Hopefully you now have a bit more direction in how to make a connection to this incredible group of Scouting.  We are in the same business when you think of it ~ building strong, confident children who given the right tools can change the world around them.

Good luck and happy scouting for Scouts!