4 Essentials of Effective Youth Yoga and Mindfulness Teaching Part One: PURPOSE - Shanti Generation

4 Essentials of Effective Youth Yoga and Mindfulness Teaching Part One: PURPOSE

In this series, we will unpack the essential elements of effectively teaching youth yoga; Purpose, Pedagogy, Relationship and Appropriate Practices.


Purpose: Why We Teach

What am I here to hear?

Being an effective facilitator begins with listening to the needs of the students. Listening from the heart, free of judgment, is an art and skill that requires dedication and continuous practice to hone. Entering each learning session with an intention towards discovery helps to create an environment where curiosity and authenticity can thrive. Recognizing that children have so much to teach us can open us to experience the present moment.

As a teacher, I am always listening for the needs of my students and trusting my knowledge to guide them in the direction of fulfilling those needs.


I am not the yoga entertainer or the manager of the classroom.

Many youth yoga teachers write to me expressing frustration around managing their students behavior. Some teachers resort to entertaining tactics in order to keep students attention, only to find that over time their teaching falls out of alignment with their purpose. When we extend honor and respect to each child we meet, we are inviting them to step into their natural wisdom. We must also expect respect in return and be willing to humbly accept the responsibility of pointing out the consequences when respect is not given. Patience is a golden key in this journey of guiding youth on the path of yoga and peacemaking. Cultivating patience is a moment-to-moment practice. Situations that challenge our patience are our learning ground.

 I am here to reflect each students vast wealth of inner peace, even and especially when my students are out of balance.


Beyond the Plan, There is an Unlimited Creative Field

Spontaneity and resourcefulness are essential to the task. We are always seeking the solution, looking for the way in. Having a clear plan is important. Being able to adjust our plan is vital. Our imaginations must be alive and vibrant.

I trust myself and my students to be alive in learning.

Perhaps the most effective teaching tool is simply love. When we are in touch with our own hearts and spirits, we can encourage kids to discover their own essence of creativity and joy.

When we are driven by a purpose that is beyond our individual needs and acknowledges the potential for our students to gain life enhancing experience from their own well, we step into more global mind; one that sees, feels and knows the interconnected collective we are part of. Thus, yoga happens.


“The Way of the Teacher or Counselor is to be open to outcome, not attached to outcome. Openness and non-attachment help us recover the human resources of wisdom and objectivity.”   Angeles Arrien






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I totally agree with your wisdom. There are no state standards for yoga (Thank goodness) so teach from the heart. I have found that discipline issues occur when kids do not feel seen or heard. It’s difficult to see them when focused on being silly and teaching as many noisy poses as you can. There’s a huge difference in trying to be entertaining and being magnetic. Go for magnetic.
Thanks for writing such a thoughtful article.

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