We’ve curated a list of top tips for teaching yoga in schools to help you make the most of each class whilst providing students with the best possible experience. 

Contents:

Before we delve into our tips for teaching yoga in schools, check out the range of yoga teacher training courses that we offer here at OriGym. Or, find out more about our courses by downloading our course prospectus for free!

Requirements to Teach Yoga in Schools in the UK

Before we delve into our top tips, let’s first establish exactly how you can begin your teaching career. 

Qualifications You’ll Need to Teach Yoga in Schools

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The first step is to become a qualified yoga instructor by completing a Level 3 Diploma in Yoga Teacher Training

This course provides individuals with a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding of yoga, covering a variety of modules to equip you with the necessary information to deliver effective yoga classes.

On completion of the course, you’ll be able to confidently design and deliver 1-1 or group classes for different types of people, including children and young people. 

You’ll also gain practical knowledge around your duty of care, handling adverse situations, and how to ensure high standards of health and safety.

You Should Gain a Level 4 Yoga Diploma to Teach Yoga in Schools

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You can then invest in a Level 4 yoga diploma to further develop your expertise and deepen your knowledge.

With this level you’ll be able to specialise in a particular style and enhance your skills in catering to specific needs and abilities.

This is especially important for teaching yoga in schools as you’ll be even better equipped to shape classes based on the abilities of the ages of the students and any specific educational needs.

You’ll also deepen your knowledge of the philosophy and history of yoga. This is great if you’re teaching yoga to kids who are slightly older, in high school or above.

You’ll be able to contextualise your classes and better market your classes as an educational resource to be utilised by schools!

You’ll Need to Get a DBS Check to Teach Yoga in Schools

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You must also have a valid enhanced DBS certificate to work in a school.

A DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate is a type of background check that confirms an individual is sound to work with children and/or vulnerable adults. 

Checks will involve reviewing the following information:

  • Criminal record
  • Convictions
  • Cautions
  • Reprimands
  • Final warnings on police records

Furthermore, if you want to work with children, you need to ensure you’re firstly registered with DBS and have a printed certificate to take with you to interviews and classes.

The school has the right to request the certificate from you at any point so make sure you have it with you at all times. 

You may already have a valid check from your previous employment so you should make sure you have a physical copy to show.

If you haven’t got one, this enhanced version will come at your own expense and costs around £59.

You’ll Need to Get the Right Insurance for Teaching Yoga in Schools

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As you’ll most likely be working freelance, working in a variety of schools, it’s important you also get the right insurance.

Public liability insurance will protect you from any claim made against you if a class member is injured whilst you’re teaching yoga in schools.

You can find out more if you read our full article on yoga teacher insurance here!

Once you’ve organised these requirements for teaching yoga in schools, you’re all set to begin finding a location and planning your classes! 

15 Best Tips for Teaching Yoga in Schools

We’ll now run through our top 15 tips so that you can make the best possible classes to keep your yogis motivated and engaged.

#1 Plan Your Class Around Your Students When Teaching Yoga in Schools

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One of the most important tips for teaching yoga in schools in the UK is to plan the class around your participants. 

This is true of all yoga classes, but especially important when running a class with children or young people.

To do this, any yoga class plan should include an intention for each session. Are you wanting the class to feel energised? Do you want them to feel grounded? 

The time of day may influence your yoga class intentions depending on how you want the students to feel. 

For example, energising yoga classes could be best in the morning for school students to prepare them for the day ahead, whereas using ‘grounding’ or ‘acceptance’ makes more sense after the full school day.

The intention for your session should also consider how familiar your students are with yoga. Most school-aged children are unlikely to have much experience as teaching yoga in school is a relatively new concept. 

With this in mind, at first you’ll probably be teaching a beginner’s class with some easier poses such as:

  • Child’s Pose
  • Table Top Pose 
  • Mountain Pose
  • Cat/Cow Pose
  • Savasana

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Including poses that are too complex might overwhelm participants and limit their motivation in future sessions. 

This is especially important in schools where introducing them to practise may well be about increasing their confidence.

If you push them too hard this can be a lot more affecting than with adults and may have negative effects on their confidence being active or trying new things.

Instead, we’d recommend focussing on the basics for the first few sessions to prevent them from feeling out of their depth. 

Scaling classes gradually in difficulty will also help to show student’s their progress and where their focus and dedication has paid off!

#2 Good Yoga School Teachers Should Establish Rules for Students

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Generally speaking, when teaching yoga in a school you should establish rules so that everyone can make the most of their learning experience and not disrupt the class for others. 

This is particularly important when you’re covering new topics or working with younger yogis. If you don’t establish rules you may struggle to control the class and have a lack of engagement.

You must ensure that students respect and listen to both you and their fellow yogis; this can be established by running through your ground rules at the beginning of a yoga class.

You may want to remind students of the rules every once in a while until they become familiar with what’s expected of them. 

Alternatively, you could create a rule sign for students to refer to during sessions. 

This may be a better option for yoga teachers who would prefer to maintain a positive tone to the class instead of bogging students down with rules or interrupting the flow to discipline individual members.

Here are some examples of potential rules you may want to introduce to your class:

  • Pay attention to instructions
  • Move around the room and on your mat carefully
  • Don’t invade anybody else’s space or mat
  • No yelling or interrupting
  • Be kind to your instructor and fellow yogis

Ultimately, setting ground rules will help you to instruct the best yoga class and create a positive environment for participants.

#3 Use Games to Help Maintain Focus When Teaching Yoga in Schools

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As you probably know, captivating the attention of a group of children for prolonged periods can be difficult.

Introducing games into a class can help though, as it will help students to maintain focus and you to maintain control of the class! 

Here are a handful of game ideas you should consider adding to your next yoga class:

  • Strike a Pose is a fun yoga game that involves playing music whilst students dance around the room. When the music stops, yoga instructors shout a pose for students to take. 

This game provides students with the opportunity to put their knowledge to the test in a fun and unique way. 

  • Red Light, Green Light is another yoga game idea that involves all students being ‘cars’ and the instructor being the ‘traffic light’. There should be a designated start and finish point. 

When the instructor shouts ‘green light’, the cars must move away from the start line toward the finish line. On ‘red light’, this signals cars to stop and form a yoga pose.

The first to pass the finish line wins. 

  • Yoga Fitness Dice can be introduced to a class as a game. 

Yoga dice typically come in packs of 2; one will have different yoga poses on each face while the second will state the duration participants hold the pose. 

Each student could have a turn rolling both dice and everyone must perform what the dice say altogether.

These will act as a great way of warming up and getting students to focus on what they’ve learned at the same time.

Ultimately, including fun yoga games like these will help students to feel more engaged in the class which, in turn, boosts overall enjoyment.  

#4 Yoga School Teachers Should Provide Demonstrations to Help Participants Re-Create Poses 

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If you started this article wondering how to implement yoga in schools, you should provide demonstrations of poses so they know exactly what to do.

Demonstrations help students to learn through observation and lead to a greater understanding of what is being asked of them. 

Demonstrations should be accompanied by clear and concise instructions, as highlighted in the previous section. 

Together, students will have the necessary tools to execute poses accurately and effectively and in a way that keeps them safe! 

In fact, research suggests that demonstrations significantly enhance students’ learning experience and promote a greater interest in lessons.

When students understand they’ll be more engaged and will be able to see their own improvement over time when they know what the pose should ideally look like.

Demonstrations, therefore, are incredibly useful for facilitating and developing learning which is why we’ve included this in our list of top tips for teaching yoga in schools. 

#5 Good School Yoga Teachers Understand That Kids Can Get ‘The Giggles’

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With the previous point in mind, good yoga school teachers will still know that there’s a chance that class members will get the giggles.

At the end of the day, when you sign up to become a kids yoga teacher you’ll often be dealing with young children for whom yoga is an unfamiliar concept. 

Therefore, you should be patient with students who initially feel silly doing yoga and instead spend time in the class making it fun and relaxing for the class members.

If you have a strict ‘no laughing’ rule, kids will naturally find this harder, will be distracted from practice and, let’s face it, much more likely to laugh!

Having sections for games and more fun warm ups will allow kids to get laughing out of their system and will release a bit of the pressure on you to maintain silence and control.

Once they’ve done all of their breathing exercises and the class begins to take shape, they should be more ready and focused.

After a few classes, students will be more familiar with what a yoga class is like and feel comfortable getting straight into it. 

Until then, try to be as patient as possible and use methods like this, making the most of our other tip about games!

#6 Avoid Yoga Jargon When Teaching Yoga in Schools 

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Next on our list of top tips for teaching yoga in schools is to go easy on the yoga jargon to not overwhelm students. 

As you know, many yoga pose names and terms are Sanskrit which younger yogis may not have heard before. 

Children may benefit from being introduced to yoga names slowly as too many new terms may be overwhelming and potentially knock their confidence. 

To prevent this from happening, consider only introducing a couple of new poses into each class and going over them several times so students can properly learn them. 

You can also use the English names and not test them on remembering the original Sanskrit until you’ve been practising a while and you want to move to a more advanced level, or with older children. 

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Here are some examples of basic yoga terms and poses that you could introduce in the early stages of your teachings:

  • Asana
  • Namaste
  • Downward dog
  • Happy baby 

You should also emphasise that if your students don’t remember the names of poses and sequences straight away, they’ll have plenty more opportunities to learn them in future classes.

In short, while school yoga teachers are responsible for educating students about yoga, students shouldn’t be overwhelmed with information too soon. 

Introducing new terms slowly will improve students’ learning experience and keep them enthusiastic and engaged!

#7 School Yoga Teachers Could Ask Students to ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ to Enhance Engagement

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One of the best ways of engaging students when you’re teaching yoga in schools is employing the method of ‘show don’t tell’.

This encourages students to demonstrate answers to your questions physically rather than verbally.

This idea works best after a couple of yoga lessons as yogis must reflect on previous sessions and remember what they’ve learned. 

One way teachers could do this is by asking students to get into different yoga poses, such as Downward Dog or Table Top.

Instructors could also make this a little more challenging by requesting students get into poses that stretch specific areas of the body. 

Students must then reflect on what they’ve learned to demonstrate their answers.

You can offer clues and cues for your students to boost their confidence and help them remember what they’ve learned already.

You can use this to encourage your class members and show them that they’ve learned and remembered some key information!

Including as many opportunities as possible for students to test their knowledge will mean they see how far they’ve come and it encourages them to keep going.

If you want to know more about how you can improve your yoga teaching, check out some of our other articles below!

#8 – How to Teach Yoga in Schools: Offer a ‘Yogi of the Week’ Certificate 

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If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about how to implement yoga in schools, positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to encourage class members.

Positive reinforcement focuses on praising students when they’ve done something good to boost morale and ultimately maintain good behaviour. 

You could do this by awarding one person a ‘Yogi of the Week’ certificate and providing a reason why they’ve been selected.

This firstly helps students understand that their hard work will be rewarded and gives you a chance to explicitly encourage every member of your class!

You should aim to always award someone new each week and for a variety of reasons beyond just technique.

For example, you could award members of the class for the following reasons:

  • Trying something new
  • Remembering a pose
  • Being respectful of other class members
  • Asking questions and being engaged
  • Helping another class member understand something

Students will aim to be the top yogi in each class and thus apply themselves and their existing knowledge to their flow with the aim of being selected. 

You could take this further by notifying the parents of winning yogis’ efforts so that the positive reinforcement carries on outside of the classroom too! 

This will help students to feel more confident engaging in yoga and will also make them look forward to taking part knowing that there are incentives involved. 

#9 You Should Welcome Feedback When You’re Teaching Yoga in Schools

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While yoga school teachers will provide feedback more frequently to students, teachers should still welcome feedback on ways that they can improve their class.

One of the best ways to do this is to distribute small feedback forms at the end of a class whereby students write 1 thing they enjoyed about the class and 1 thing they’d like to see more of.

All forms are then put into a box to remain anonymous.

This will obviously depend on the age of the group you’re teaching. If you’re teaching younger kids you can distribute the forms to be taken home and filled in with the help of a parent.

You can also encourage the class to be shadowed or watched over by another teacher from the school at first.

If it’s a group a particular teacher is familiar with they’ll be able to give you feedback and tips on getting through to particular class members and helping them as a group!

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These are the best ways to get honest feedback from your class as children may feel a bit intimidated providing face-to-face feedback. 

You could introduce these forms at the end of every few classes and make sure any relevant changes are considered at the point the next forms are distributed. 

So, if you’re keen to teach yoga in schools, you should consider the ways that you can improve your classes to keep your students happy and motivated. 

#10 How to Implement Yoga in Schools: Enlighten Students About the Benefits of Yoga

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When teaching yoga in schools in the UK, it’s important to touch on the benefits that yoga provides.

This will not only encourage students to be engaged during class, if they know how yoga can help them, it may also encourage them to practise at home or in the future!

This will also help you to shape classes based on the response you get from students. If students respond well to more of the physical benefits, you can have this as a focus of a class.

If they seem to respond well to the calming and emotional effects, this will inform your future intentions and how you structure the class.

You could intersperse the benefits throughout your teaching so that students learn without being bombarded with information, taking away from the practical elements of the class.

Here are some examples of the benefits you could communicate when you’re teaching yoga in schools:

  • Yoga can help school children to concentrate on their studies which can help them perform better
  • Yoga can improve flexibility and muscle strength
  • Yoga can boost happiness by releasing endorphins 

It’s important that school yoga teachers weave the benefits of yoga into their classes in orde to make yogis’ experience as educational and interesting as possible. 

#11 Make Use of Resources to Teach Yoga in Schools

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If you’re new to the idea of teaching yoga in schools, did you know that there are various resources that you could use to enhance your knowledge?

There are also resources that are specific to teaching yoga to children. 

Examples include:

Resources like this will help to inspire you and your classes in the following ways:

  • How you structure your yoga classes
  • More ways to keep students engaged
  • How to tailor classes to particular demographics or educational needs

They’re each written in accessible language so that each yoga teacher gets the most out of the books regardless of prior experience.

Furthermore, expanding your knowledge of teaching practices ensures you become the best possible teacher, thus allowing your students to reap the full benefits of your classes.

You’ve already started in the right place making the most of this article for some top school yoga teacher tips! Keep going with more resources to create engaging and effective sessions.

#12 Provide Additional Resources for Students to Enhance Their Learning Outside of Class

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Another one of our top tips for teaching yoga in schools is to provide optional resources for students to engage in outside of class time. 

You may find that some older students take to yoga well and want to incorporate it into their schedule more frequently. 

Younger kids might respond well and their parents want to learn more so that they can continue some of the techniques or take part with their kids at home!

Offering your students some examples of good resources can help them to expand their knowledge of the practice independently. 

As with the previous point, you could suggest books for your students to purchase, borrow from you, or encourage the school library to provide the resources if there’s enough of an interest!

A great example of a book is Good Morning Yoga: A Pose-By-Pose Wake Up Story by Mariam Gates. 

This resource teaches kids about different breathing techniques and poses as a story to encourage a positive start to the day. 

You could also recommend some video resources for students to engage in from home.

Cosmic Kids Yoga is a YouTube channel that teaches children everything from mindfulness to breathing exercises and techniques to feel more relaxed. 

Yogarati is another YouTube channel that teaches similar practices yet is better suited for older kids.

Both of these can be used with parents at home if the kids are younger but want to take part in activities in their own time!

When providing these resources, you should mention that they’re not compulsory as some students may view it as homework and perhaps not want to engage with it. 

Instead, consider suggesting the possible ways they can engage in yoga outside of school hours to enhance their learning experience. 

#13 A Good School Yoga Teacher Will Set Goals for Students to Work Towards 

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Another great way you can keep students engaged is to set weekly goals as this will help students to maintain focus on their progress as they have something to work towards.

Yogis will also feel incredibly proud of themselves should they meet the goals which can keep motivation levels high for future classes.

Here are some examples of goals you could set for your students:

  • Be confident doing sequences, such as sun and moon salutations
  • Hold a balancing yoga pose for 5/10 seconds, like Tree Pose
  • Learn the names of 3 new yoga poses

Again, you don’t want it to feel too much like homework so you can do this when you open a yoga class.

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You can set a small goal alongside the intention of the class and check back in with the class at the end.

This way you will keep class members engaged without them feeling pressured to do work for your class at home if they don’t want to.

Setting goals like this will help yogis evolve into becoming more confident and rounded students. 

So, if you approached this article wanting to discover top tips for teaching yoga in schools in the UK, goal setting is definitely one to consider. 

#14 You Should Always Have a Backup Plan When Teaching Yoga in Schools

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You should always have a plan for a yoga lesson, no matter who you’re teaching, so that you have a structured class and know exactly what you’re doing.

Sometimes you might have to tweak things on the fly but this is especially important when you’re working with children.

This is because kids are naturally just more unpredictable and you need to be prepared to change things on the spot if there’s another style or method with the class they’ll respond to better.

This also works for giving your class members some choice. If they’re difficult, struggling to focus, or don’t seem as engaged in your proposed class idea, give them an option between two.

This will make them feel a bit more in control and you can be confident they’ll be more engaged because they’ve chosen the class they want to do.

#15 School Yoga Teachers Should Take Their Time When Leading Classes

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If you’re keen to learn how to teach yoga in schools, another top tip is to take things slow and try to be patient.

Since many school children might not be familiar with engaging in yoga, you should lead the class at a slow and manageable pace to ensure all participants are comfortable. 

Consider selecting a couple of basic poses and sequences and going through these leisurely to ensure participants learn the foundations first.

You should also expect that children may not pick up certain poses as quickly as adults and so you should try to repeat sequences until they feel confident. 

At the end of the day, you’re going to want to ensure your students reap the full benefits that yoga provides and taking it steady can help.

In short, if you’re a yoga school teacher wanting your students to get the most out of your session, taking things slow is the best way to start. 

Before You Go!

With our top tips, we hope that you now feel better equipped to begin teaching yoga in schools and make your students’ learning experience that extra bit more memorable and engaging. 

Don’t forget, the best way to enhance your expertise and teaching skills is with OriGym’s Level 3 yoga teacher training course.

You can find out more by clicking here to download our free course prospectus!

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About the Author: Rebecca Felton

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Graduating from the University of Liverpool with a first-class degree in English, Rebecca’s combined passions for fitness and writing are what brought her to OriGym. Rebecca is a keen gym-goer and specifically enjoys lifting weights. Outside of fitness and writing, Rebecca enjoys cooking, reading, and watching the football.

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