Exploring Imagination: Play Based YogaPrint Page
Imagination fuels advancements in science, the arts and beyond. All it takes is one thought outside of the box to spark a new idea or a new perspective. One way to nourish the imaginative mind is through play. Children can explore their creativity, develop their logical thinking and reasoning skills and better understand emotions and how to interact with others.
Use your imagination to tell a story as your stretch and awaken the body. Try these fun and playful prompts or create some of your own.
Directions: Sit up tall with your feet planted on the ground in front of you and your hands in your lap. Straighten your back to lengthen your spine and imagine the very top of your head reaching the clouds. Place your left hand on the outside of your right thigh and with an exhale slowly twist to the right. Far off in the deep blue sea… what do you see, Captain? When ready, inhale as you come back to the center and repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Good for restoring and maintaining normal spinal rotation; perfect for children who have been sitting for long periods of time.
Directions: Stand up tall with your arms down by your sides. Bring your arms out in front as you open your palms and straighten your arms.as you step the feet apart. Exhale as you squat down to the ground, keeping your back straight and the top of your head pointed towards the sky. How many hops can your frog hop? When ready, inhale to come back to standing.
Benefits: Strengthens the legs, opens the hips, and increases balance.
Directions: Stand up tall with your arms down by your sides. Bring your arms out to the side, creating your wings. Keeping a straight back, tilt forward from the hips as you lift your left leg slightly off the ground. Point your toes and imagine a straight line from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Help yourself balance by finding a spot to look at straight ahead. Where will your airplane fly off to? When ready, come back to standing and repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Increases overall balance, coordination, strength and mindfulness!
Directions: Stand up tall with your arms down by your sides. Take a deep breath in and jump the feet apart and bring your arms straight out to the sides. Reach out the tips of your fingers while you press down into the ground with your feet and lift your head towards the sky. What kind of underwater friends do you see in the ocean? When ready, come back to standing.
Benefits: This is an active, invigorating yoga pose that energizes the body and improves posture. Its open stance feels expansive, and it is often considered to be a pose that brings joy
Directions: Sit up tall with your feet planted on the ground in front of you and your hands in your lap. Straighten your back to lengthen your spine and imagine the very top of your head reaching the clouds. Hold your left arm out to the side and imagine you have a paintbrush in your hand. Reach the arm out and draw a big half circle up and over your head, creating the arc of your rainbow. What colors will you paint the sky today? When ready, inhale as you come back to the center and repeat on the other side.
Benefits: This is an active, heart opening pose that lengthens and stretches the sides of the body
Social Emotional Health Highlights
Activities such as these help children explore…
Self-Management and Self-Awareness: Practicing yoga and mindfulness with children supports them in identifying feelings and emotions while learning to manage their reactions and behaviors in healthy ways that work best for them. Stretching or practicing yoga helps children to re-center attention on the present moment and begin to build capacity and self-regulation within themselves.
Relate yoga poses to animals, animal sounds, characters and stories. This may be from books, songs or curricula items that you already have.
Allow students to explore their body and use their body in new ways and then create and name new yoga poses and then demonstrate for others.
Play freeze dance and move to the music, feelings or act out an animal. When the music stops, have students freeze in a creative pose.
Have students pair up and mirror one another using yoga poses. This can be helpful for those students who need to see a pose before they can do it.
Create a personalized class set of yoga pose deck cards by having each student pick, illustrate and name a yoga pose on an index card. Teachers can then use these cards for both small and large group activities.