An adult yoga class is full of inversions - Downward dog, wheel and standing forward bend crop up all the time. But when it comes to standing on our heads or trying out a handstand we adults can get a little worried. Fear seems to take over. A good teacher will guide us through the steps we need to take to try these poses out. And there are steps. We find these challenging poses gradually, over time - sometimes it can take years. The teacher will spot for us if we need support and help us breath through our fear. I guess we're mostly afraid of falling, of hurting our heads or looking foolish. It is interesting to play at our edge and notice how in time, with practice, emotional barriers like fear lose their power and slowly break down. The work is mental and emotional, as much as physical.
Kids yoga goes upside down too!
Kids love going upside down. They are in that magical place where they feel invincible. They fall all the time, but the thrill of going upside down is worth it! You can’t stop a 6 year old from flipping up into a handstand or turning cartwheels on a playground. Watch a toddler for 10 minutes and there’s usually a headstand in the mix, often in a downward dog position. True, kids under 8 don’t quite have the strength to sustain these full inversions for long, but they don’t let their heads get in the way of having a go. Their freedom of fear is inspiring!
A couple of tips - Kids can find long holds in downward dog tough on their shoulders and wrists. But with practice and encouraging them to really spread their fingers - distributing weight more evenly through their hands, they will find it easier and the strength will start to build.
I start teaching headstands at around 8 years old with kids when spatial awareness is more fully developed and I can keep a handle on everyone's enthusiasm in the class for them! Use a wall to start off with and prepare everyone with dolphin pose for a few sessions beforehand.