Spring is Here - A Great Time to Introduce Kids to Yoga
I recently held a Free Spring Yoga for Kids class with a great turn out and a great time for both the kids and parents. This is a recap of my class.
• This class is designed for kids ages 2-8, but all are welcome to join.
• We will be starting today with a breathing technique, moving on to some yoga poses, I will read a short book, do a little group activity, and end with a guided visualization.
• This class is designed to get the kids imagination going. Using yoga poses to help them connect to their bodies and their surroundings. Form is not as important in kid yoga as it is in adult yoga. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Just be silly and have fun with it.
Speaking of having fun, if you take any photos or videos please tag me @amybizalwellness so I can see all the fun.
I always like to start class with the kids checking in with themselves. How are they doing? How are they feeling? I keep it simple with an easy thumbs up for feeling good, thumbs down for not doing so good and thumbs sideways for just in the middle.
In this class we are going to talk about spring. We just celebrated the changing of the season and the first day of spring. When seasons change, it’s called the solstice and now that we have moved to spring you may notice the weather starting to really change.
Ask the kids what are some things that could happen now that it’s spring?
Snow starts to melt, grass turns green, leaves start to bud, and animals start having babies. It’s a fresh start for all. It reminds us that with change comes new life, new chances, and new opportunities.
Now it’s time to grab your imaginary glue stick. Rub it all over your hands and into your bottom. Now stick your bottom to your mat. You are now glued down to your mat and cannot leave it.
This is where I explain to the kids how important it is to breath in through our nose and out through our mouth. Noting that breathing in through your mouth can cause you to feel excited or agitated. It’s important to take that breath in through our nose to help us calm down.
This breathing exercise is called Breath Like A…
Starting with a BEE I always like to start with asking them what the sound is like.
Inhale through nose, exhale breathing out like a bee-BZZZZ I like to ask them how that made them feel? Energetic? Awake? Where do you feel it? Did you feel it in your mouth? Teeth? Then we repeat it again so they can focus on those signs.
Now we are going to breath like a snake. Deep inhale in and exhale SSSSSS. How does that make you feel? Did it feel any different then the bee? Now repeat it again.
Now we will breath like the wind. Deep inhale in exhale whooooosh. Does the wind sound or feel different then the bee? Calmer? Now where do you feel it? Repeat again.
Finally I like to ask the kids when mom says you’re being to loud what does she do? She goes SHHHHH. So take a deep in and exhale say SHHHH- are you calm? Do you feel a lot different then when you did a bee breath? Repeat one final time.
Now it’s time to warm our bodies up. Take palms to the top of your shoulders bending at your elbows and start flapping your wings from side to side. You can even add your legs into it as well flapping your legs up and down.
Now let’s make a rainbow with our arms. Inhale taking your right arm to the ground beside you, exhale swoop your left arm up and over. Inhale back up, exhale left hand down right arm up and over creating our rainbow. Repeat a couple more time.
It’s common in India to welcome Spring with Sun Salutations so today we will do 3 of them along with a poem. Follow after me.
FINISH WITH THIS POEM
(Reach Up) – “Rise up, Sun, for all to see”
(Forward Bend) – “and shine your rays all over me”
(Monkey) – “I breathe in deep”
(Downward Dog) – “to feel my strength”
(Plank – lower down) – “I stretch my spine”
(Upward Dog/Cobra) – “to feel it’s length”
(Downward Dog) – “Pause to feel my breath flow in”
(Hold) – “Getting ready to begin”
(Jump to Hands)
(Rise Up & Reach Up) – “Rise and shine now, Little ones”
(Hands to Heart) – “Show your smile”
(Wave) – Say “Hello Sun!”
After sun salutations are done take a quick moment to stop and place your hand on heart and notice your heartbeat. Is it faster? Do you feel warmed up?
-Now we are going to go on an imaginary walk. So lets get our pretend walking shoes on. Open the door and step outside. Feel the suns rays shining down on your face. Feeling the warmth of the rays spreading throughout your entire body.
Go ahead and put on your sunglasses and let’s grab our bikes. (SIT DOWN ON YOUR BUTT, FEET FACING YOUR SIBLING OR PARENT. LEAN BACK ONTO YOUR SITBONES, KEEPING YOUR BELLY TUCKED IN AND YOUR CHEST LIFTED. TAKE THE BOTTOMS OF YOUR FEET TOGETHER AND START PEDDELING YOUR BIKE, BENDING ONE KNEE AND KICKING THE OTHER LEG OUT STRAIGHT AND THEN SWITCHING) As you peddle you feel the warm breeze on your face, peddling to the end of the road and around the corner.
As you peddle a RED ladybug lands on your hand (SITTING BACK ON YOUR SITBONES TUMMY TUCKED IN, CHEST LIFTED, AND BENDING AT YOUR KNEES FEET GROUNDED INTO THE FLOOR. LEAN BACK SLIGHTLY LIFTING YOUR TOES UP OFF THE MAT AND ARMS OUT IN FRONT OF YOU INTO BOAT POSE) What other pose could be a lady bug? (NOW EXPLORE TOGETHER WHAT POSES YOU COULD COME UP WITH TOGETHER THAT COULD REPRESENT A LADYBUG)
Let’s get back on our bikes and continue to peddle. Now we have come to a giant mountain. This mountain is lined with a ton of beautiful ORANGE flowers (PUT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR FEET TOGETHER - KNEES SPREAD OUT WIDE INTO BUTTERFLY POSE. LEAN BACK AND LIFT YOUR LEGS, THEN REACH YOUR ARMS UNDERNEATH YOUR LEGS GRABBING AROUND YOUR FEET AND INTERLACE YOUR HANDS UNDER YOUR LEGS) ask the kids what they think the flowers looked like - you can be flowers swaying in the breeze.
Now we need to climb the mountain (COME TO PLANK POSISTION WITH YOUR HANDS UNDER YOUR SHOULDERS AND LEGS OUT STRAIGHT BEHIND YOU, UP ON YOUR TOES. START TO BRING ONE FOOT UP CLOSER TO YOUR CHEST BENDING AT YOUR KNEE AND THEN THE OTHER) STOP!
I see a bee’s nest with a bunch of YELLOW and black bumble bees swarming around it. The bees are busy at work making delicious honey. Let’s be bees (COME TO YOUR BACK AND TUCK YOUR LEGS INTO YOUR CHEST GRABBING YOUR ANKLES OR THE INSIDE ARCHES OF YOUR FEET BRING THE BOTTOMS OF YOUR FEET FLAT TO THE CEILING AND KNEES INTO YOUR ARM PITS TOWARDS THE FLOOR INTO HAPPY BABY) rock back and forth while making a buzzing sound.
Continue to climb down the mountain where we reach a riverbank. At the point where the water touches the earth there is a family of friendly GREEN bullfrogs. (TAKE FEET HIP DISTANCE APART POINT TOES OUT AND HEELS IN. SQUAT DOWN INTO MALASANA POSE OR YOGI SQUAT BRINING YOUR HANDS DOWN TO THE GROUND IN FRONT OF YOU) Bonus points if you can ribbit and hop. Who in the frog family can hop the furthest? (TAKE TURNS JUMPING AND SEE WHO CAN JUMP THE FURTHEST)
Now we need to swim across the river (LAY ON YOUR BELLY, ARMS STRETCHED OUT IN FRONT OF YOU AND LEGS STRAIGHT OUT BEHIND. LET’S START TO SWIM WITH ARMS AND LEGS MOVING UP AND DOWN).
At the end of the river is a meadow. Let’s walk through it (TAKE YOUR PALMS TOGETHER AND START TO RUB BACK AND FORTH MAKING A SWISHING SOUND WITH YOUR MOUTH, SWISH SWISH SWISH) I see a beautiful BLUE BIRD singing up in the trees (HOLD HANDS OUT IN FRONT OF EACH OTHER, YOU CAN EVEN GRAB EACH OTHERS HANDS, LEAN FORWARD WHILE LIFTING ONE LEG OFF OF THE GROUND).
There’s a bridge in the distance, let’s fly to it and land on the railing right next to a beautiful PURPLE butterfly. (SIT IN BUTTERFLY POSE WITH YOUR FEET TOGETHER AND KNEES OUT WIDE).
Let’s fly back up into the sky saying goodbye to the BLUE bird. Remember how it felt to be a blue bird flying through the sky? Coming back to the river where we’ll wave at our GREEN frog friends who are still seeing who can jump the furthest, going up the mountain, past the YELLOW bumble bees making honey. Wasn’t it fun being bumble bees? Flying down the other side of the mountain to the beautiful ORANGE flowers still swaying in the wind. I see our bike where the RED ladybug still sits. Remember being ladybugs? How did that make you feel? Let’s jump back on our bikes and peddle home. Open the door and go inside to sit on the couch. Imagine all the animals and colors we saw today. Which color was your favorite? Now image whichever color you would like. Once you have that color, pretend that there is a blanket that is just that color and it’s wrapping you up tight. Filling you with warmth, love, and joy. Which color was your blanket?
Here is where I like to bring in a spring book. For this class I read Worm Weather, by Jean Taft. In this book it talks about a thunderstorm and having to run out of the storm to a pizza parlor. Then the rain stops and a rainbow appears. I go on to talk about with spring comes rain which washes away the dirt, old leaves, and brings beauty by making the grass greener and giving the trees new buds and a fresh start. So let’s make our own thunderstorm together to help bring new life and a fresh start.
HOW TO MAKE A THUNDERSTORM.
1. Sit in circle and start to swish your hands back and forth (or if you can snap your fingers) creating a sprinkle
2. Now start to clap your hands together- the rain is getting stronger
3. Slap your hands on your legs
4. Stop your feet
5. Now stop your feet and clap your hands creating the thunder and lighting (you can even take it a step further and flicker the lights on and off)
6. Now just stomp your feet
7. Slap your legs
8. Clap your hands
9. Swish or snap
10. Rub hands together creating the wind.
IT’S TIME FOR RELAXATION.
Now it’s time for our final relaxation. Get into a comfortable position. Grabbing pillows and blankets whatever you need to feel warm and cozy. Lay down. Start to squeeze your feet really tight…and release. Now your legs, squeeze them really, really tight… and release. Moving to your arms, squeezing tightly, and releasing. Moving to your face…squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.. and release. And now squeeze your entire body as tight as you can…and release. Feel your body relax and melt softly into you mat or floor. Put your hands on your belly and imagine there is a balloon in there that we need to inflate, Inhale filling up the balloon and with your exhale letting the air out. Feel the rise and fall of your tummy with each breath. Continue this breath and feel your body relax further. You can imagine you are a chocolate plate melting in the sun’s warmth. Your body and all your muscles are getting softer and softer as you breath in deeply and out slowly.
As you lay here imagine you are looking up into the clouds. Seeing all our adventures of the day. All the colors of the animals you saw and all our friends we met along the way. The clouds can turn whatever color you want to imagine and whatever shapes you want to see. Lay there for a couple minutes allowing them to imagine the clouds.
Remember that spring brings change and with change we have new life and new opportunities. You can embrace the change knowing that there will always be something new to come from it. If you find yourself having a hard time adjusting to change, try to remember how it felt when you were breathing calm and slowly. This is something you can always come back to.
Look inside yourself and transform into your very best self with love and kindness. Knowing that when you are coming from this place you can help others embrace change also. Remember that you are brave, you are strong, and you are smart.
Take one deep breath in and think to yourself “I am amazing”.
Breath in and think “I am special and unique”.
Breath in and think “I am loving and kind”.
Breath in and think “I am happy and loved”.
Breath in and think “I can do anything”.
Now take a deep breath and gently bring your attention back to your mat. Back to the room and your surroundings. Feel your yoga mat beneath you and the sounds around you. Wiggle your fingers and toes and stretch your arms up above your head. Gently roll to your side and come to a seated position.
Check in with yourself one last time--- thumbs up, down or sideways.
Spring is a great time for Yoga for Kids. Jump in and let me know how it went.