More and more teens are becoming interested in yoga. Their favorite celebrities are doing it. Their sports teams are using it as a cross training too. Advertisers are exploiting it to sell everything from computers to bottled water. So even if they pretend disinterest, they warn to understand and be part of the social community in which they live. One problem: you've never done yoga, do not know where to begin, and have not been able to touch your toes since … never. What to do? You have a couple options.
1. Ignore their request and continue with a traditional PE curriculum. Heck if it was good enough then, it's good enough now. This really is not an option for any self respecting teacher. We all know that in order to meet the needs of the coming generation, the curriculum, teaching style, and methodology have to adapt to meet current needs, topics, and developments. So forget option # 1.
2. Find a video to plug and play effectively letting you off the hook and hopefully giving them some idea of what yoga is about. This is not too bad as long as you are prepared to actively participate. No slinking off to the back of the class to plan the upcoming ski trip. The best teen oriented DVD I've found comes with the book Breathe by Mary Kaye Chryssicas.
3. Provide the resources (books / DVDs / websites) and have the students each peer-teaching a yoga pose to the class. This would require some library and research time which many do not associate with a PE class so you'll have to decide what works for your school / your students.
4. Hire a willing yoga instructor to come and present a yoga class or yoga unit. Call around to local yoga studios to see if they are interested in such an arrangement and what they would charge. Seeing as you are providing the students, building, mats, etc, hopefully they'll give you a deal on their hourly charge. A good yoga instructor should be able to accommodate a large group and provide a solid introduction to yoga and sampling of yoga styles and poses in 1-3 hours. Be sure to communicate clearly what you are looking for and what is allowed and not allowed to be discussed in your school.
So if you are not, and never will be, a yogi, there are some ways to introduce your students to yoga without being on the mat out in front of the class. Be sure, no matter, how you go about it, that you join the class and try the poses, breathing exercises & relaxation techniques yourself. Your students will admire your willingness to try something unfamiliar, and you'll be setting a good example for them to get out of their comfort zones. Good luck and namaste.