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Kids Yoga with Cat

Kids Yoga with Cat

Kids Yoga

Meet Cat: 

My name is Catherine. I am a fully qualified Yoga instructor with specialisms in both child and teen Yoga. I am also a Primary school teacher with previous roles in Montessori teaching and special educational needs. I have always been interested in movement from a young age. I took my first Yoga class while at school, as luckily my teacher was also a Yoga instructor.

After a car accident in my 20’s, I came back to Yoga practice to help heal my injuries but found much, much more. I practiced on and off for several years and while living in the UK training as a Primary school teacher, I decided to take the leap and complete my Yoga teacher training as well. I studied traditional Ashtanga, Vinyasa Yoga, Children’s Yoga and Yoga for Teens with Yoga Alliance UK. I’ve completed various Yoga CPD courses and as a Primary school teacherI have full Garda vetting, first aid training, and a range of SEN and PSE courses to aid my teaching.

 

I am passionate about Yoga and the sense of wellbeing it brings to both adult and children’s lives. I love working with children and have over 10 years of experience in various educational roles. I aim to provide fun, accessible and happy Yoga lessons which will boost children’s health, wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem.

 Basic class structure

Each of my classes follow a basic structure to include an introduction to class, breathing exercises, a group of poses or sequences, a game and/or activity, and a guided meditation.

Depending on whether the theme is used (e.g. Autumn/Christmas), each of those elements can tie into a bigger topic or idea.

Intro to the Class

Students set up for class by sitting in a circle. If theme based it is introduced here. I play soothing music and often use a candle or incense.

Depending on the activity level of the children I have a range of fun group warm ups or Yoga games to settle energy such as Musical Yoga mats, or more soothing activities such as ‘silent ball’ or ‘Yogi talking stick’.

After, we normally have check in time to see how everyone’s day has been, perhaps do ‘magic massage’ self-massage of head/hands/neck/shoulders or play the ‘Om name game’ chanting our names instead ofom to set a fun, relaxed class mood.

Breath

There are so many breathing exercises you can use with kids. With “Bumblebee Breath” for example I have students sit comfortably, then ask them to slowly inhale for a count of 3. On the exhale they will buzzzzz like a bee.  This is repeated 3-5 times and I ask them to notice the sensations that they feel as they make this sound.

Other breathing exercises introduced to children would include Balloon belly, Candle blowing breath, Good in/Bad out breath, and perhaps the extended exhale. Breathing has an important impact on how we feel and learning these tools can help children in stressful or anxious times.

Yoga Poses

Traditional poses are used but I often swap out the names to fit with the theme or to be more child centred, for example using nature themed names such as Tree, Crow etc. In each pose, I discuss the qualities or sounds that the animals etc. make to encourage engagement.

Example series of poses:

Warm-up using traditional Sun salutations sequence, followed by basic plans as follows-

  • Child’s Pose or “snail” – Discuss how snails are very small and still.
  • Cobra pose- Inhale to rise, “hiss” as you lower back to the ground.
  • Cat/ Cow – “moo” on cow, “hiss in cat”.
  • Puppy pose – stretching long like a puppy waking up from a nap.
  • Downward Facing Dog- walk out the heels like you’re walking a dog.
  • Ragdoll or “Gorilla”- gently sway your arms from side to side.
  • Dancer or “Flamingo” – find graceful balance on one foot.
  • Squat or “Frog”- crouch low to the ground with great flexibility.
  • Butterfly – gently flap your wings up and down.
  • As time progresses we can move on to more challenging poses and sequences such as Dancing warrior or mini-inversions.

Children’s sessions are usually shorter, often have stories, games, myths and music intertwined for e.g. using story or activity breaks. I sometimes use the book ‘Being me and loving it- activities and stories to boost self-esteem or read other relevant children’s short stories. Alternatively, Yoga principles such as peace and honesty can be discussed, and kids often come up with some beautiful discussion ideas when they are relaxed and focused.

Also, once children are familiar with traditional sequences such as Surya namaskar or Dancing warrior I often give opportunities for them to lead, which tends to be very popular and builds confidence, focus and memory skills.

Games

Going around in a circle, I have each student share their favouritething in nature or favourite animal and we create a pose that looks like the animal. Alternatively, we make up our own poses or sequences to share. The whole class try each pose.

Guided Relaxation

With all students laying on their back with eyes closed, I read meditations such as the following example:

“Imagine that you are your favourite animal settling in for a long night’s sleep. Think about where you might be sleeping. What does this place look like? What can you feel in this place? It is warm or cold, soft or hard, wet or dry?”

“What can you hear in this place? Are there waves crashing? Is there wind in the trees? Can you hear other animals around you? What do you smell in this place? Are there fresh flowers or a salty ocean? Spend a few minutes in this place feeling totally safe and calm.”

Using this basic template, I create many different classes that fit with varied themes or concepts. Ages and attention spans of the students help dictate how long I will spend on each portion of the class.

  • I also regularly use the book ‘The wishing star’ 52 meditations for children, which always proves very popular.
  • Blankets and eye pillows can be useful to help the more active child fully relax into Sav asana.
  • Each class and each student are always different.

 Namaste

Catherine Finnegan

Age group: 2nd Class to 6th Class 

Cost– 60 Euro per child for set 6-week course

Start time– Tuesday’s 3:45pm to  4:45pm, to allow time after school to go home, snack, change and travel to class on time.

Booking: Contact Reception on 018310888 to secure your child’s space.

 

Yoga with Cat

Contact information:

Yoga with Cat-Facebook page

Email- edpe8a@gmail.com

Ph: 0833427624