Let’s Hear it for The EARTH!

We bring our hands to the sky

And then we touch the Earth below.

We say Hello to the Sun

And then we plank and lower slow.

We salute the tiny snakes

And all the great big dogs

And we end in crescent moon.

(Inspired by The Yogi Pokey by Mini Yogis!)

This week we celebrated our Home, Earth! We discussed all the small things we can do to make a big difference for our planet. Some of the ideas shared were….

Planting, gardening, picking up trash, recycling, sharing, and one yogini said “helping the government” (!)

My preschoolers enjoyed reading The Earth Book by Todd Parr. Following the book we practiced poses such as bicycle, tree, mountain, flower, and various animal poses.

We also sang the song above and learned about Half Moon pose, which connects the earth and the sky, and celebrates everything in between! Of course we also enjoyed a whole lot of dancing since Earth Day is kind of like The Earth’s birthday 🙂

My first graders further explored how to help our planet. We worked in small groups to develop our own poses for the statements

:: We walk and bike when we can.

:: We pick up trash and recycle.

:: We use both sides of our paper to help the trees.

:: We use less water when brushing our teeth, showering, and bathing.

:: We give away old toys and clothes rather than throwing them away.

It was a really wonderful experience to watch the groups work together and come up with some very clever poses to help us remember these ideas. I took photos of each group which will be posted in their classroom!

In all my classes we practiced our focus and balance in tree poses, playing Windy Trees, and using bean bags and drishtis. What an experience to witness these yogis, with whom I’ve been working since September, find they can balance a bit longer! Their sense of surprise and accomplishment just shines.

Next week we’ll continue exploring and connecting to all that surrounds us. Happy Earth Day everyone! Love one another.

Namaste.

Children’s Yoga versus “Real” Yoga

In the past couple weeks, I’ve had 2 students remark that (1) “I do real yoga at home with my Mommy” and (2) “My Mommy takes a real yoga class!”

Oh the mouths of babes. I followed up both statements by asking, “Do we practice real yoga?” This lead to giggles and a clear “No.”

Real Yoga. Real. Yoga. I’m so so delighted to hear that children are practicing with their parents, and being exposed to their parents’ daily practices. Perhaps our yoginis are even bringing some of their yoga into our vinyasas and daily routines. But I really had to smile and put myself into the 4 year old minds of my yoginis, and meditate on “real” yoga.

Yoga, at it’s core, means union – a union of the mind and body, or in a spiritual sense, a union of mind, body, and spirituality. In our classes we talk about joining our moving bodies and breath. Of course, yoga means so many different things to so many people, but what does it mean to my yogis?

Delving a bit deeper with my students, I was enlightened to learn that “real yoga” means advanced or “harder” poses. It means Mama saying “I’m going to my yoga class now!” It means being still in our poses and in our thoughts. Yes! All of these scenarios are yoga. But the yoga we practice in our circles is also the heart of “real” yoga.

As a children’s yoga teacher, I believe it’s my responsibility to cultivate an appreciation and respect for yoga, and to create a strong, positive yoga foundation. Of course, we practice poses and sometimes give them silly names. We learn Balloon Breath and Volcano Breath, and we play Yogi Yogi Dog and Pass The Planet. But we also discuss the seasons, the Earth, our feelings, our friendships, our connection to nature and all that is around us. While practicing ant (plank) and spider poses we may talk about how we take care of all creatures, even the smallest beings. While passing around the singing bowl we may fill it with our dreams and wishes for a new season (intentions). All of which is real yoga – yoga as a way of being, a way of life. And how fortunate to begin practicing these ideas at such a young age!

Of course, at 4 years old this may not be entirely clear, but I do smile. And once again, I’m given a brilliant opportunity to delve a bit deeper, and for myself, to meditate on the connections and sense of beings we are cultivating. And of course to giggle and play with all my yogis!

Namaste Yogis!

 

It’s Earth Month!

It’s a funny thing, planning “Earth Month” themes for children’s yoga classes. After all, Yoga is Earth – Respect for Mother Earth, all creatures, ourselves, one another. Yoga is Breath – Breath from the trees, clean air. Yoga is “living simply so others may live.” Throughout the year, these are the ideas on which we meditate and practice. This month we celebrate and honor Mother Earth.

With a return from Spring Break, my classes this week centered around planting, growth, and breath. We begin with soil and seeds, and we breath and we grow! In my preschool classes we planted magical flower gardens. In my first grade class we “took a walk in the rain.” In all classes we experimented again with our breath using pinwheels. We found that when we breathe deep from our bellies our breaths are longer and one student remarked that she felt “stronger.”

Throughout the month my main focus will be to cultivate and encourage an understanding and love for the outdoors. Happy Earth Month Yogi Playground Families & Friends!

Namaste.