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I’m Sick but Have to Teach! Now What?

I caught a cold and feel miserable! But, I have a class tomorrow at a preschool, another at an elementary school, and a Mommy and Me class! Now what? Here are some tips for how to manage not feeling well when teaching a kids yoga class.

Have a Buddy
Find someone locally who can cover your classes when you are sick. It’s best if your buddy has taken the same training as you, or runs class with the same routines and teaching methods.Things happen and this way you can prevent having to cancel a class and potentially losing clients.

Substitute Plan
If you have a specific way that you teach, have it all typed up beforehand. For example, if you have jobs or name tags set up a certain way, let your substitute know. Have your class outline ready to go and changed for the upcoming weeks. If you have a certain placement of the mats, mention the placement and mat assignments if applicable. Write out your behavior management plan. Do you try to not have best friends sit next to each other in your preschool class? Be as detailed as possible. Having your substitute plan clear and easy to understand will help your class stay on track even when you aren’t there!

What do you do if having a buddy and substitute plan doesn’t work for you?

Mini Teachers
Children love to be helpers! Appoint a few of them to help out with various games and activities. They will love having the responsibility and it will also help you give your voice a rest!

Even if you normally have an amazing sergeant-like voice, the music is always there for you! It will keep the children engaged, having fun, and breathing. Our favorite music comes from  Kidding Around Yoga.

Yoga Cards
Yoga cards are great for a sick day! You can have them teach each other poses or play musical yoga mats. There’s an article here that describes different sets of cards and how to use them in your class.

Arts & Crafts
Have you made talking sticks yet? Colored a mandala? Made a meditation station? Art is always a fun and great way to keep the children relaxed and your voice a rest.

Job Song
I love to have jobs in my classes, especially when it’s a very large group. You can organize this process a little bit better by creating a song that fits your purpose. This has helped the chaos of 40 children putting their shoes on, fixing their mats, fixing their name tags, and trying to stay quiet while the classroom next door takes a math test! Here are the lyrics of a song I made up to the tune of  We Will Rock You.

We love We love Yoga
Time to do our jobs.

First is the line monitor, Step right up.
Over to the shoe rack let’s tie them up.

Quiet as a mouse, shhh in the house.
Feeling all relaxed let’s do our jobs in yoga class.

Shhh Shhh Shhh Shhh Shh Shh
We love We love Yoga
Time to do our jobs.

Teacher helper, it’s your turn, collect all the names.
Set up the next group. Girl boy girl boy is the aim.


Breathing buddies go. Welcome to the show. Hand them in gently.
Please oh please don’t throw.


Straighteners of the mats, your time is now. Keep them separate from each other and make them flat.


Secret Garden Recording
Nothing is better than a live Secret Garden (this is also called Savasana). If you just aren’t feeling well, you can record yourself reading a Secret Garden story in advance. This works great if you are starting to lose your voice! Have it ready to go for anytime that may happen. You can add music using Garage Band or even a simple voice memo on your phone.

Good luck and get well soon!


  1. Crystal

    I’m new and fighting something my first class, I was sick, so no substitute yet. So thankful for the kidding around yoga videos and how to’s and grateful I had technology available. They helped me when I was unable to keep up. It went great very glad to share it with my family and friends as I’m getting ready to branch out. Thank you KAY for New beginnings

    • kayadmin

      Glad you were able to use your training and our support aides to create a successful class. Congrats on branching out and best of luck as you continue to explore your new beginnings!

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