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When you are teaching yoga to kids, do not make the mistake of assuming that they will just be able to imitate your asanas. No matter how simple or complex, a child’s mind-body connection is often not as honed as an adult’s when it come to mirroring movements.
This is an important point for two reasons. First, because you just want your kids to have good alignment, plain and simple. And second, because poor alignment can easily lead to injuries.
I’ve talked in the past about how working with kids is largely about teaching with broad strokes. For example, with kids you would say “bend your knee” instead of “bend your knee ninety degrees, knee points towards your second and third toes, upper thigh is in external rotation and parallel to the side of your mat.” You will not get into all the nitty-gritty specifics.
Though you do not have to verbalize all of the alignments, you do have to explain all of the movements.
For example, if I am switching, say, from a wide-legged parallel stance to a Triangle pose, I cannot forget to mention the movement of turning the front foot forward, as it is really hard–and potentially dangerous on the front knee–to attempt Triangle while maintaining parallel feet.
Remember to carefully discern between essential movements and general alignments. And then be specific to ensure your kids can follow along.
And that’s the mini yogis minute tip of the week. Check back every week to learn something new!
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