Activity time: 8 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of Leader Resource 1, Yoga Pose
- Optional: Notes/illustrations to help you lead additional yoga poses
- Optional: Yoga DVDs/videos and appropriate player(s)
Preparation for Activity
- Find a large, carpeted area or obtain small rugs or yoga mats for participants to use.
- Review "The Leaf," a good starting pose (Leader Resource 1). Prepare to lead additional simple yoga poses appropriate for the group to try in the time available. Use simple poses you know from your own practice of yoga, or find more with these resources:
- Susan Kramer's Radiant Yoga for All Kids website
- My Daddy Is a Pretzel: Yoga for Parents and Kids by Baron Baptiste, illustrated by Sophie Fatus (Barefoot Books, 2004)
- A blog post by Clarissa Adkins on families.com describes three yoga poses for children
- Yoga poses, each on a card, in The Kids' Yoga Deck: 50 Poses and Games by Annie Buckley (Chronicle Books, 2003)
- DVDs and other resources for doing yoga with children on the Gaiam website
- "Little Yogi" DVDs with detailed guidance and children's demonstrations of poses and a relaxation DVD for children on Wai Lana's website
- Practice leading the poses smoothly, without stopping to consult your notes.
Description of Activity
Gather the group and arrange the children with room to do the poses without bumping into one another. Tell them, in your own words:
Yoga is a spiritual practice that comes from the Hindu religion and Indian culture. Stretching the body and paying attention to the breath is a way of connecting with your spiritual center, as well as making your body feel stronger and more energized.
Balance is an important part of yoga poses. In yoga, balancing yourself so a pose feels right is more important than getting a pose to look right.
Lead the children in the poses you have selected. Then, invite the children to reflect:
- What parts of your body did you stretch when you did these yoga poses?
- Did learning something new stretch your mind? How did that feel?
- Did you feel you stretched your spirit? When did that happen? (Suggest: when you breathed and tried to stay centered.) What might stretching your spirit feel like? What were your body and mind doing when that happened?
Including All Participants
Children with limited mobility may be able to do spine-stretching and breathing aspects of poses, and perhaps more. Remind the whole group before you start that everyone has a different level of physical ability. You may say:
Yoga invites people to try poses in ways that feel comfortable to them. Feeling the pose on the inside as your body tries it is more important than how it looks on the outside to someone else.