Ever since I can remember, my “down” time has been spent reading. Nothing beats curling up in a warm, comfy chair with a great book. And secretly, yes, I did enjoy the summer reading assignments for school! It is no wonder why Reading Comes Alive With Yoga (RCAWY) is the Element that ultimately encouraged me to learn the YogaKids way.
One of my favorite places to go is the local library. I hunt through the children’s section in search of colorful picture books where the artwork can really inspire great visuals for younger readers. But while I find reading material quite readily for the 10 and under crowd, I have to get a little creative for my older students. I can’t read a lengthly novel to them and they’re not so interested in picture books anymore! Fortunately, the value of the written word comes in many forms…
In my Teens classes, I use poetry to encourage introspection — an activity that teens really gravitate toward. The poem “Breath” by Thich Nhat Hanh connects meaning to the breath. I read each line with a pause afterwards so that we can take several quiet breaths together. This is a great way to both bring attention to the breath and begin a class with quiet mindfulness.
Song lyrics are a perfect way to connect with teens. “Clocks” by Coldplay focuses on how time keeps slipping away and how we feel about our choices in life. Chris Martin’s lament about “missed opportunities” is a perfect kind of teen-friendly melancholy. Playing “Clocks” during Sun Salutations, we do a number of rounds while the urgent beat keeping us moving forward. We end in Child’s Pose for the final chorus of “Home, home where I wanted to go, home.” On our mats we find our home, our quiet center.
Parables and short stories about philosophy are a great tool as well. In my class, we’ve read, Life is Like a Cup of Coffee — a parable about living a fully engaged, caring and happy life. The theme gets reenforced with an art project — as my students create pictures illustrating the good in their cups (lives).
I love teaching teens — and I love sharing what I know about teaching teens. Join me in the YogaKids We All Win online course as we talk about this topic– and so much more!