Creating a yoga community is essential to starting each yoga class. I love to emphasize positivity and building each other up to make each student feel empowered!

Positive Language

Oftentimes you hear students say “I did it! Its easy.” or “I cant do it! Whenever I hear that type of language I respond immediately. I remind the students who say, “Its easy” that its not easy for everyone and I give them an extra challenge. In yoga theres usually a way to make a pose more challenging by closing your eyes or reaching your arms out. When a student says, “I cant do it I remind them that we dont say “cant” in yoga and its called yoga practice not yoga perfect! Language is powerful and helping shape childrens language can help your kids yoga class environment. 

Team Building

Before conflict arises in class, I love to start with team building activities. Working together helps children bond and feel more comfortable with the group. Some great team building activities are the human knot, the hula hoop game (hold hands in circle and pass hula hoop without letting go), and people-to-people (you play music and when the music stops the student has to introduce themselves to a new person with different topics). These activities also make great ice breakers.

 Partner and Group Poses

Partner poses are always so much fun! Sometimes when children pick their own partner, conflict arises. If I see a friend left out or students arguing, I immediately assign partners or have the child who feels left out be my partner. There are many ways to assign partners and create teams. Group poses are even better for class bonding. I have the students grab hands in a circle and make a human mandala by standing tall in mountain pose, reaching for their toes in standing forward fold, reaching for their toes in seated forward fold, and then reaching all the way back together as a group! I count to 3 and see if everyone can use their strength together to sit up and reach forward for their toes. This activity has been a major hit in my classes and always ends in a lot of giggles.

Rules & Expectations

As kids yoga teachers, sometimes it’s difficult for us to talk about discipline and rules. But, I think when you create clear and concise rules and expectations, your students will feel safe and comfortable throughout the session. In my after-school classes, I have the children come up with what they want out of their yoga class. For example, they might want to have fun, relax, stretch, learn how to calm down, and more. I ask them how we can go about making our awesome fun relaxing class happen. Then we make a list and all the children sign it. I think creating this guideline is helpful for you as a teacher to come back to if issues arise and as a reminder to the students of why they are there and how we can maintain an inviting environment.

I hope you enjoy your kids yoga class community with your little yogis!

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Kidding Around Yoga Justice Information

 Company Justice Statement

We stand with you, our Black family. At Kidding Around Yoga, we are a worldwide multicultural community committed to bringing the teaching of yoga to children and families worldwide. Our aspirations have always been to treat all humans with dignity, respect and care. We recognize that aspirations and intentions are different from impact. Our good intentions have not diminished the impact of our lack of understanding. We acknowledge the harm experienced by Black people and people of color within our organization. We have been blind to the ways in which white supremacy culture has been at play within our materials, structures and communications. We are deeply humbled and saddened to start to realize the extent to which BIPOC have been harmed, undersupported, ignored, dismissed, asked to perform emotional labor for free, and otherwise not held in the ways we aspire to hold everyone. We appreciate those who continued to point out to us our blindspots, even when we failed to listen or honor the wisdom they were bringing. We apologize. We know it is not enough. We are committing to strengthening our anti-racist actions, to continue looking deeper into our structures and personal biases, and to make ongoing changes to embody the teachings of yoga.

This is a time to wake up, to speak up, to stand up. This is a time to fight for what is right and educate those who are still in the dark. Every Black life matters. We all recognize that these are not new issues, but this IS a new opportunity to be allies and agents of change, in large and small ways. Let us not hide from this challenge or wait for someone else to do the heavy lifting. We each have a voice and a responsibility to fight for a better, more just and peaceful world. Join us as we listen, as we learn, as we change, and as we do what we do best: share the ancient and powerful practice of yoga and meditation with children across the globe.

In addition to the ways in which KAY supports bringing yoga to all children, we specifically recognize and commit to the following:

► Our materials and content need to be reviewed and updated. Some existing content contains ideas or themes rooted in racist structures we are now becoming aware of. These have caused harm and discrimination, and we are committed to a thorough review and action steps. We will give updates as to our actions regarding these materials.

We also recognize that we have not fully understood what cultural appropriation of yoga looks like. We understand that, in certain instances, we have used yoga in a way that has diminished its roots and caused harm to the culture from which it arises. We are undergoing a deep review of our materials and marketing, in this light, and will give updates as to our actions as a result of this review.

We also recognize that asking our Black teachers to share what they are doing to guide themselves through these “trying times” was felt as insensitive by many teachers. It was not our intention to cause harm in this way, but we understand how this is emotional labor, and that teachers need to be compensated for this. We will compensate any teachers we call upon to support us in this process.

We acknowledge the lack of Black leadership within KAY, and are actively expanding the leadership team to include and elevate Black wisdom and voices. This week, we are delighted to welcome Shawandra Ford and Camelia Brown onto the leadership team. We will continue to expand our team in the coming weeks.

We are revamping our KAY4ALL training to include specific anti-racist training. We will make it mandatory and included for all trainees and trainers. Meanwhile, KAY Leadership is undergoing anti-racist trainings themselves, which will be ongoing.

We are in the process of allocating resources to support scholarships for BIPOC trainees, to fund classes in underserved communities, and to offer financial support to organizations upholding anti-racism and helping make yoga accessible and available to BIPOC families.

In order to move forward and accomplish the mandates listed above, we have created a Justice Task Force. The JTF will identify and implement the changes needed within KAY. The JTF consists of seasoned and new team leaders committed to serving to create an anti-racist culture within our organization.

We will be adding tasks to the list, as we grow and evolve in our understanding of what needs to be done. We hope you will join us in doing this work in your own lives.

We are open to feedback, but we understand that it is no one’s job but ours to look, to learn, to digest, and to take action. We stand by our commitment to become an anti-racist organization whose work uplifts, supports and learns from Black wisdom and leadership.

Please email info@kiddingaroundyoga.com if you wish to reach out to us in regard to this statement, whether it’s feedback, an offer to join our efforts, or you want to be kept up to date with these promises. 

Namaste,

Kidding Around Yoga

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