Take a HIKE!

Winter in LA? Ha! I chuckle. The weather has been so beautiful lately and has really inspired me to spend a majority of my time outside. One of my favorite outdoor activities? Hiking! And it’s never too early to share this with our little yogis. Of course many of my classes are in the schools, inside, on our mats. So let’s bring the hike to the classroom…

To prepare for this class, I packed a backpack full of materials, both found and handmade…a stick, a rock, a toy airplane, bark from a tree, a toy bug, as well as cards with images (flower, cave, turtle, crow, eagle, creek, the list is endless really). And yes, I packed an empty juice bottle. <sigh>

Place the backpack in the center of the circle. (Note, a basket is great too.)

We begin getting ready for the hike. To music, we “dress” for the day- boots, hat, sunscreen, bug repellent (tapping our bodies, waking us up), a backpack. Don’t forget a map, compass (ask the kids what should we bring)! And we are ready to go.

:: Let’s first greet the sun on this new beautiful day (Sun salutation, variation dependent on age).

:: For younger classes we sing “Hiking, Hiking, hop, hop, hop….” song. For older classes we simply hike on our mats, perhaps starting uphill, looong slow strides, yoga runs, tiptoe. One student chooses an item from the backpack and so our adventure begins! Students continue to take turns choosing one item from the backpack.

For example, if we pull out the “creek” card we may need to hop rocks, wade through the water, look at the fish, turtles, etc with corresponding poses.

If we find the cave we become brave warriors entering the cave together. Perhaps we find bats! Maybe sleeping mice.

Look up! Eagles and/or crows overhead! Look down…bugs, mud.

If you pull out the bark, we become trees. A stick? Stick pose! You get the idea 🙂

This class becomes a Choose Your Own Adventure of sorts, and sparks great conversation and creativity. Don’t be afraid to let your yogis veer from the bag. Listen to their ideas!

And yes, if the empty juice bottle is pulled. We frown at the litter. But we recycle, pick up any other “trash” around us, and discuss the importance of leaving no trace, only footsteps.

:: As it gets dark and the moon appears, we begin to lay down under the stars for a camp out. Rather than candlestick pose, we use flashlight pose for the mountains (candlestick variation making small circles with our legs, great core strengthener).

Potential poses introduced/practiced: stick, mouse/rock, flower, tree, airplane, resting bugs, warrior II, road runner, half moon, star, eagle, crow, turtle….to name only a few!

This is also a great time to practice Lizard on a Rock, and to have fun hopping over “sticks” and “rocks” as the children take turns!

There’s so much that can be added and/or modified for this class! What would you do with your yoginis?