It was 1996, the first time I taught crow pose to a group of first graders. After two seconds in the pose, we all fell on our faces and began rolling around laughing. Between the moments of full belly laughter, I said “Now we’re practicing Laughing Yoga”. My words induced a wave of joy & laughter that felt as if it was raising the school house roof. Then one child, face flushed with delight said, “I love Yoga”. And there it was and still is. Children’s Yoga is an experience like no other yoga class we adults have engaged in. But in the end the gift is the same. The children are taught the same mindful skills that are introduced to you and me when taking a yoga class. These skills and or tools are just wrapped up in a way to appeal to their young spirit. Just like we adults, the children are enticed to use the skills they have learned through their yoga practice, in their everyday life. The heart warming feedback I receive from both the children and their parents confirms just that. Some parents have even shared learning something new about yoga and meditation from their children, that they hadn’t learned in their own yoga classes. Imagine that. :)
Heather Tharpe is a Senior Yoga Teacher, a Children's Story Teller at our local Peabody Essex Museum, a published children's book author, illustrator, and former early childhood/art teacher. She first introduced yoga to her young students in 1993. Heather teaches Yoga to children weekly at area schools here on our NorthShore.