By no means am I an expert in Yoga. But I can research and I know how to use my resources. That's one thing teachers do really well. ;)
Besides not being an expert I also have those students who just can't seem to handle a low key activity. Those students who are always moving, always spinning when you're talking and only know one speed, fast. I find myself wondering how I could keep them interested and gain the benefits of slowing down.
So how do I teach Yoga and keep all students engaged? Videos, pictures, games, and guest experts.
Below is a list of different ways to teach Yoga. If you find yourself struggling with this topic, or are just curious, check it out. If you decide to try any of them let me know and of coarse suggest other methods that you have tried.
I have a deck of cards with different Yoga Poses. I made copies and laminated them for the students to use them. I did buy them but if you don't want to spend the money google Yoga images. There are a ton out there.
Here is an image you could use. This you could project on to your wall or post around the gym. Maybe you could give one to each student and they check the pose off once they complete it.
Pros and Cons to using just pictures: The students who have that internal drive and want to try and learn Yoga poses love this. They have the freedom to work at their own pace or with a friend and they can really focus on the poses they love. Downfall, the students who are the "one speed = fast". They usually get bored and will be off task if you are only doing Yoga sheets or cards.
I love games! What PE teacher doesn't? A game that I have played as part of a Yoga unit is "Yoga Monopoly".
We all have played Monopoly sometime throughout our lives and students usually have heard of it if they haven't played it. There are two ways that you could play.
Organized: The first way is to set up your gym like the game board. Have the students start at a space around the board, roll the dice and have them move that many spaces. They have to perform that Yoga pose for the allotted amount of time before you roll the dice again. To keep all students motivated have every other space be a more active challenge (run in place, jumping jacks, agility ladders). You can also have a go to jail or other fun made up spots which will keep children wanting to play the game.
Organized Chaos: The second way you set up 12 cones around the outside of the gym. At each cone set 2 or 3 Yoga Poses. Put out all your dice in the middle of the gym. Have the students roll the dice, add the two numbers together and go to that numbered cone. They perform the pose of their choice and head to the middle to roll the dice again. This is the way I usually play. I'm not one for structure and I don't mind the chaos that happens. I also see the my students more motivated. They get to choose the pose, the time they want to hold the pose, and how fast they fun to the dice and back to another station.
You know your limits but I challenge you to try both ways to see how many students are really motivated. But again, if you're not happy your students will not be happy.
There are so many youtube videos. But when looking for a video try to find one that follows a story. Children love stories, especially those which have a great story line. Your older students may be able to just follow a simple Yoga workout but the little guys will go nuts.
Here are some great Youtube videos with a fun story line. Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventures are fantastic!!! There are so many of them. I use these videos with K-3 students and every one of them are fully engaged.
Unfortunately, I can't help you much in this category. I can tell you however, that I research my community members. I have 2 moms that teach Yoga and they always want to volunteer to teach my students.
Some key things to keep in mind when finding an expert...
*do they understand the age group? - teaching adults is different then children
*cost - this is always thought about when teaching - you can usually find someone you is amazing and donates their time for your class.
With any guest you have in your class make sure to write them a thank you letter. They took the time out of their personal schedule to teach for you at least you can do is write a thank you letter. This goes a long way and next year when you want to teach the unit again they are more likely to come back.
That's a Wrap
Yoga is so wonderful. Students may not realize the benefits yet but by allowing them to experience it you may be surprised with how many students will continue using and learning more throughout their life. The biggest advice I can give you is to know your students and how active they have to be. Once you figure this out plan a Yoga activity that works for them. It may not be your ideal but your students will thank you, they just might not show it.
Keep on Rock'n!