YMCA summer youth yoga instructor
This Summer I worked with the YMCA to instruct youth in the teen center the basics of Yoga. The experience was not what I expected but I learned more than I could ever have imagined. The age I was teaching was unfamiliar and at times resistant to Yoga because they were not yet aware of their bodies. The YMCA had informed me that they needed someone to get the kids active and in touch with their bodies because there was a severe lack of movement in the center. When I first got there I noticed everyone was sitting on couches or playing video games. It was difficult at first motivating them but by showing up every class and learning ways to make Yoga fun and community based I saw huge differences in the students. It was rewarding to see people I wouldn't expect return again and again. I loved creating a fun space to interact with the students I didn't know was possible from my experience in more advanced Yoga institutions. I don't know where my new experiences will take me but I do know I will leave the class with a whole new set of skills. I learned just as much from the students as they learned from me and I hope to someday apply these skills to a studio! I also hope to help new instructors like me find the freedom to explore teaching the way I did.
The YMCA youth development is described as "Youth Development:The Y is for Youth Development, because we believe that all kids deserve opportunities to discover who they are and what they can achieve. Through the Y, millions of youth today are cultivating the values, skills and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health and educational achievement." Unfortunately the teen section is in an awkward faze where there isn't much opportunity for action. Many of the teen level youth (around middle school to ninth grade) go to the YMCA to hang out and are not connecting mind, body and spirit the way the Y wants them to. Lets just say there was a serious lack of body and mind in the Teen Center and a increase in video games and chips. Getting the teens to understand how much healthier their minds will be from benefits of moving the body was my job. Learning fun and diverse ways to teach the kids Yoga was a very "trial and error" process but I learned new ways to motivate where they could feel they had achieved their own personal movement
The Papers Below Reflect the beginning and end of my Journey
Below:Brief History of Ymca
My main goals for my classes were to make the classes fun and not to boring for kids with active minds. I wanted to teach them to breath when they are stressed out. Also I wanted them to learn to appreciate little moments by feeling a sense of accomplishment in the little yoga moves they achieved moment by moment. Yoga is all about practicing to live in the moment which is useful for often ADHD kids. Learning their own goals and what they can do or how they can make themselves feel is an important part of growing up. Partner poses were a huge part of my lessons.
I kept a notebook with an outline of my Yoga Plans
As you can see the first one I did was too complicated for the youth.
Over time I learned to create a sort of Simon says with short bursts of energy leading
into longer poses where they could focus and feel like they achieved with an intermission
of partner poses to keep them entertained.