Children young and old have been my passion for all of my life. Growing up in an in-home licensed daycare, I learned early on how much I loved being around little people. My life has evolved around raising my children and teaching sunday school, children’s church, working as a paraprofessional to a sweet special needs child, and teaching adult Holy Yoga classes.
My Kids’ Holy Yoga training came at just the right time; isn’t it amazing how God can do that? I mean, I knew something was missing from my children’s ministry work in my church, but I still hadn’t quite figured out just what I could or should be doing. I printed out the overview of the course work, and immediately set up a meeting with my Pastor. Our training was very hands on and full of fun ways to prayerfully and playfully practice yoga with our students during a Kids’ HY class.
Fast forward a year and I have the honor to teach Kids’ Holy Yoga in my church’s summer camp. Each day, 23 kids and I move and praise the Lord from our yoga mats. This is a motley crewed mixture of boys and girls ranging from 5-11 years old. Some children have a foundation in faith and others do not, but all of them want to have fun. Teaching a mixed group like this presents challenges daily but also creates fun surprises. I love having to stay on my toes and switch up lesson plans. Like most children, my students are not afraid to give me feedback, whether it be positive or negative.
Each morning we spend a few minutes in a devotional and then lead into our practice. Thus far, their favorites seem to be the days that we work on partner poses and our candlelight gentle classes. Amazingly, I found that my students absolutely love having a slow paced class.
One day my group seemed just absolutely worn out from their summer schedules and the craziness of life as children. Taking that into consideration, I did what I knew would ease my muscles and give rest to my weary body...I grabbed my candles, turned down the lights, and turned up the music. I positioned my students around the sanctuary and prompted them into legs up the wall pose and we proceeded to work through our gentle class. Who would have thought that this group would enjoy something so slow paced? Not me! Now they beg for “candle Holy Yoga.” And we have made it a part of our weekly class schedule.
One devotional a few weeks ago was on Paul being shipwrecked (Acts 27). After reading through the story and having discussion, I passed out crayons, markers, and paper and asked them to draw their favorite part of the story. The kids had such a great time laying on their mats and free drawing their favorite scene. My favorite part was when we presented the pictures to our Pastor. In doing so, we asked him to determine what the Bible story was. Hearing my students explain, in their own words, what the Bible story was was very important and inspiring. Such a fun way to incorporate a great Bible story about complete trust in God and make it hands on enough that the kids could really grasp the point.
Some of my biggest takeaways from this summer long Kids’ Holy Yoga program are the pure joy of hearing small voices ask the name of a Christian song playing on my ipod playlist, reading a scripture verse, and praying. At the end of every class, I ask for a volunteer to pray us out of yoga, and multiple hands fly into the air. There is something so sweet to hear their sometimes shy and timid voices thanking God for their bodies, movement, and friends.
Friends, if you have a heart for Jesus and a passion for working with kids and yoga, this program is for you! I have loved every moment of my ministry and I cannot wait to see what new and exciting plans the Lord has for me for next year.