It takes two to stretch
As the saying goes "It takes two to tango" or in this case "It takes two to stretch"!
Sometimes working with a partner is helpful for little yogis. Children need encouragement beyond the verbal form. Physical encouragement via their peers is the sort of thing that is not only appealing but helpful. Too often, teachers feel like they are all the encouragement their students need when the truth is they need a little of both - teacher and peer. More than that, they need to learn how to work closely with others.
Yoga, although a group activity, particularly in a public yoga class, is still an individual thing. It comes down to each person's abilities and the way they use their bodies. As adults, the awareness of this statement is there, but for children, this awareness is something that is developed over time. The most important thing in a kids yoga class is that they are learning in some way or the other - learning something new and helpful.
As a teacher, your responsibility is figuring out how you can best satisfy that expectation - that your students can learn something new and helpful. Sometimes when trying to satisfy expectations we seek different things. In the case of yoga and children, sometimes exposing them to different types of activities is a solid way to do so. Activities that require more than one person.
Take a look at how excited your students get when they have to hold their peers' hands to cross the street, or when they have a partner to sit next to and share lunch with. It is no different from a yoga class. The prospect of having someone else make a contribution to increasing the level of fun in class genuinely excites them, in most cases at least!
Tying this idea into our current theme "Family", it is truthful to point out that even in a family the concept of doing things together is applicable. Families do simple things and even more complex things together, such as grocery shopping or giving the dog a bath. Parents and children, work collaboratively to ensure the successful function and upkeep of their home. Each person contributes in some way or the other, and when a contribution from one or two family members is lacking, it is made up for by the rest of the family. But the point is, families, function well when it's contributing members work together as best as they can to meet their needs, wants, and general purpose.
This is a big and teachable lesson and why not bring this truth into the classroom through activities. A simple one like partner stretching.
Therefore, the focus of this activity is not only stretching with a partner but providing a real example of the significant impact working with someone else creates. Students will move through four different types of stretches while working with a partner.
How did it go?
As previously mentioned, students get excited when partner activities are thrown into the mix. They love working with someone else, regardless of the fact that at times it too causes chaos as they get distracted and start having too much fun! Once controlled, partner activities are not just fun but educational in its own way.
The stretches in the following video were simple poses that our students have been repeating for a long time. This made it really easy for both us and them and as a result, the focus became more about working together and paying attention to the positive or negative outcomes a lack of collaboration adds, versus the fine details of each stretch.
To add a layer of complexity, encourage your students to switch partners several times.
Take a look!
Thinking about doing more partner activities in your yoga class but lacking ideas? Then check out our video to learn a simple and effective one!
Tiva & Randa