Does your child come home from school and roar like a lion with his tongue sticking out? Or sing about being a warrior, brave and strong? Or perhaps she takes a moment to sleep like a butterfly? And you think, ‘What exactly is happening in my child’s yoga class?’
Yoga for children is so natural, and a wonderful way to tap into their expansive imaginations. Yogi Playground programs are centered around themes and stories, all the while incorporating poses, breath, and the general principle of Practicing Loving Kindness toward self and others.
OK, so what actually happens?
Below is an outline of one of my favorite classes, particularly for my older yoginis, but it can be used in any age class with some minor changes in story and poses. Let’s begin….
An Outer Space Yoga Adventure
(For this class I like to use The Star Wars theme song, music from Tron, and Daft Punk)
We begin in easy pose, 3 breaths.
For warm-up today, we are going to take notice of the living beings on our planet. What do we see around us? Trees? Flowers? Turtles? Deer? (the list goes on and on, with corresponding poses, twisting, stretching, balancing, breathing). We finish our warm up with a Thank You to the sun (surya namaskar, sun salutation variations).
We are now going to take our adventure Out of This World!
Let’s buckle up in our rocket ships (chair pose, twisting as we fasten our seat belts).
Countdown 5-4-3-2-1…BLAST OFF (spin and find balance in Warrior 3).
What do we see as we orbit? The stars! (step back in warrior 2, transition to triangle, looking up to our hand as we “twinkle” our fingers…note: my older yogis do not wish to twinkle, ever. So we become shooting stars.)
What else do we see? Some ideas….
The moon! (crescent, half moon pose)
Seated stars, twisting as we chant “Star Light Star Bright….” and close eyes, connect within, make a silent wish, breathe it out into the universe.
Asteroids (forward fold, arms clasped behind)
Meteors (rolling out our backs, forward, back roll)
Planets (wheel, backbending)
Again, the possibilities are endless as we incorporate everyone’s ideas. Depending on the size of the class sometimes we “visit” planets (or yoga mats) and find how we move on the particular planet (twisting? curving? folding?)
And now we meet our friendly Robot or Alien friends! They’ve invited us to play some games…Ideas….
Take Me to Your Leader (a seated, focusing game)
Pass the Planet (passing a ball around the circle using our feet, or leaning to the side, or over/under)
Robot Freeze Dance (freezing in a pose from earlier)
So much fun but it is now time to say good-bye to our new friends and return to our planet Earth. This time it is now night so we will lay down in our rocket ships.
Laying on our backs, we first clean the windows of the rockets (window washers, legs side to side). Let’s check the controls (plow into shoulder stand). Take one more walk around the rocket making sure all is well for take-off (bicycling legs, space walk).
Finding our way onto our backs, closing our eyes, focusing attention to our third eyes (Guided meditation as we gently return to Earth, envisioning our homes, our windows, our beds, finding our way onto our beds).
We close with a short discussion of our planet, how we can take care of our Mother Earth, and a gentle sound of “H(om)e.”