Exploring Imagination: Play Based Yoga
Use the imagination to soar off on new adventures while stretching the body and calming the mind!Read More
Yoga is for every… body! It’s often assumed that one must already be flexible and physically fit to participate in yoga. One of the many great aspects of yoga is that it can be modified to support any age, goal and ability level. Its inclusive nature and ability to be practiced almost anywhere and with very little equipment makes it a great fit for classrooms, play spaces, recess, before and after school programs, and even at home.
But, what exactly is yoga? Yoga is an activity that includes breathing techniques, yoga poses and mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your attention on the present moment. In yoga, participants often use breathing and yoga poses to help the mind calm. Yoga has the ability to help kids and adults be more active, flexible and mindful for an increase on overall well-being!
Yoga creates a safe, modifiable and inclusive environment for creative, physical movement allowing all participants to be successful. Here are some simple take action steps to get started!
While there are many yoga postures to choose from, here are six simple postures that are appropriate for any age or ability level and can be performed without any special equipment or props. Pair these poses with a positive affirmation to help children build confidence and resiliency. Use these in the classroom or at home as a quick and easy practice to stay centered and inspired. Remember to breathe deeply and hold each pose for 3-6 full breaths.
I am strong.
Mountain Pose: Stand with your arms relaxed at your sides with your palms faced outward in a gesture of openness. Stand tall, like a balloon is lifting you up.
I am brave.
Warrior Pose: From mountain pose, step one foot back, slightly angling it outwards, bend your front knee, and bring your arms straight up towards the sky, and look up. Switch sides.
I am graceful.
Tree Pose: From mountain pose, transfer your weight to one side. Place the bottom of your left foot on the inside of your right thigh or shin (not the knee) and hold with your palms together at your chest. Switch sides.
I am confident.
Cobra Pose: Lie on your tummy, lift your head and shoulders off ground, place palms flat next to your shoulders, and open your chest.
I am proud of who I am.
Cat-Cow Pose: On your hands and knees, tuck your chin into your chest and round your back. Then look up, open your chest, and arch your back. Repeat the Cat-Cow sequence a few times.
I appreciate myself.
Bridge Pose: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Rest your arms down alongside your body, tuck your chin into your chest, and lift up your hips to create a bridge.
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 rec-center attention on the present moment and begin to build capacity and self-regulation within themselves.
Practice and model the movements. As with any activity, the facilitator should practice the movements and activities ahead of time. Remember that we are all “learners” and that there is no perfect yoga pose. When appropriate, teachers are also encouraged to share their own limitations with students as a way to demonstrate the inclusive nature of yoga!
Keep it simple – when starting, choose 2-3 beginner postures or activities that allow students to feel successful with a new activity.
Emphasize breathing. When starting, remind everyone to breath comfortably throughout the practice.
Empower students. Be the captain of the ship but offer choices and modification. Get involved and be part of the fun.
Encourage students to explore how their body moves and to only move their body in a way that feels good and comfortable. Try to find various modifications to determine the right variation of the pose to fit his or her body. If the pose invokes any sensations of pain or significant discomfort, encourage the student to stop the pose entirely.
Appreciate that different students have different capabilities and needs. Be patient, provide encouragement, and offer modifications for all movements so that every student can be successful.
Have fun! The intention is the keep it simple and enjoyable. Use your imagination. Encourage the students to explore their body movements and to connect with the joyful feelings associated with physical activity and breathe awareness.
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Categories: Physical Activity & Play, Social-Emotional Health, At Home, At School, Digital Resource