What to do with Challenging Behaviors

Helper jobs: If a child Can’t Follow the Poses
•  Choose to allow the child to just be
•  Give deep pressure or breathe by sitting back to back
•  Have the child sit near you
•  Create helper jobs for that child:
º  Lay out the mats
º  Roll the koosh ball under the students during Bridge, and Table
º  Hold up the pictures of the poses
º  Pass out the eye pads (bean bags or folded wash cloth, paper towel)
º  Identify if anyone is cold during Sponge pose/ Do-Nothing-Doll
º  Pass out blankets, towels or jackets during relaxation
º  Collect eye pads and blankets

•  Lower the lights
•  Encourage everyone to lie down in Sponge pose
•  Watch a yoga DVD and allow the children to watch or do the poses
•  Accept what level of participation is possible
•  Avoid demanding participation or punishing
•  Pick very simple poses: Cat, Cow and Sponge pose
•  Add sensory stimuli (Thera-Band pull, vibration, straw-blowing tasks)
•  Make the session shorter
•  Permit low expectations
•  Be happy with the results
•  Practice non-judgment and acceptance with yourself and the students
•  Praise the kids’ involvement at what level they can do
•  Read a story while the children lie in Sponge pose
•  Patiently keep trying: Exposure to the calm ambiance is cumulative

•  Instruct the children when Sponge is over to sit up slowly
•  Script: “It is time to come back to the circle. We are coming to the end of our yoga session. Please sit up in a comfortable posture. We will sing . . .”
•  Prepare children to end circle, with legs crossed
•  Give the children the directions to “inhale.”
•  Give directions to: “Exhale while saying a word that is inspiring”: courage, love, friendship etc. as a group in a singing fashion or the children can also say their name

Closing Variation 1
•  Time is given for the transition, ending 5 minutes before the hour
•  The children are asked to sit up quietly and listen for the next instructions
•  The children sing out their names
•  The instructor thanks the children for participating and putting mats away

Closing Variation 2
•  The children place their hand together palms touching near their hearts
•  Inhale and end with exhaling out the sound O as in “open.”
•  In a singing fashion sing out, “open our hearts “as they open their arms to the sides then squeeze the hand of the child near them. This can end the session or everyone together can take a bow together and say, “I bow to the light within you and me” or repeat “peace” three times as the closing ritual 
•  Children roll up mats and put away

Closing Variation 3
•  Place the hands in a mudra touching thumb and first finger together
•  Exhale the O sound
•  Place hands on lap, the children bow to one another silently
•  The children can repeat, “I bow to the light within you and me” silently or out loud and make eye contact with the group. Or, the teacher can say this for the group. Repeat the word “peace” 3 times to close.
•  Children put the mats away.