Winter Lesson Plan

winter

Winter officially starts on December 21, and ends on March 19.. In this fun YogaKids lesson plan we will explore the winter season’s animals, characteristics and interesting facts while practicing yoga in a fun, safe and educational way.

AGES:  2-6, 7-11

MATERIALS
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, paper, scissors, markers, tape or glue

KEY ELEMENTS
Ecological Echoes

SHORT DESCRIPTION/TOPIC 
We will explore the winter season’s animals, characteristics and interesting facts while practicing yoga in a fun, safe and educational way.

DISCUSSION POINTS
“Winter officially begins on December 21 and ends on March 19.  What happens towards the end of fall that lets us know winter is getting closer?”  (Weather gets colder, leaves fall, days become shorter etc… )

CONNECTING CIRCLE
Share what you like about winter
Peace BreathAs you say the word “Peace”, feel the peace inside you.  Affirmations Element, Quiet Quests
“This pose Increases oxygenation and triggers the relaxation response in the body” Body Benefits Element

POSES AS PATHWAYS TO LEARNING
“During winter, the sun’s rays hit the Earth at a shallow angle, which minimizes the amount of energy that hits any given spot. Additionally, long nights and short days prevent the Earth from warming up”. Ecological Echoes  “Let’s warm up by saluting the sun.”
Sun Salutation  – teach any variety of a sun salutation

“What do people do to prepare for the winter season?”  (Chop wood, buy winter clothes,)
Wood chopper- “Time to chop wood to keep our house warm” – Chop back and forth several times. “We need 10 logs for the fire, let’s count 10 chops.
Note:  for older kids, count by 5’s or 10’s.  Math Medley Element

“Over winter break, many people visit their relatives, do any of you?  Let’s take an imaginary trip to our Grandmas on a boat.”
Row your Boat – sit up on the tailbone, balance the legs in the air, row your arms in a circle.

“Many people take car trips to visit relatives:”
Driving My Car:  Sit in a “L” sit and pretend to be driving a car, move forward by lifting up your tail right then left, then move back.  “Think of a place you could drive to in your imaginary car that starts with the same letter as your first name, Marsha Memphis, or Don Denver Julie Jacksonville” (Note:  For younger students, the teacher should create the locations for the kids) Laughing Language Element

 “Snow falls in many parts of the country in the winter, imagine cool snowflakes softly falling on you”
Finger Dancing– Move from the head to the toes pretending that snow is falling all over you.  Quiet Quest

“Birds migrate south for warmer weather in the winter.  Let’s practice a bird pose”
Eagle –Squat down make an “x” out of the arms.  Brain Balance Element, Ecological Echoes

“Geese fly in formation and work together as a team; we will now practice a pose that takes teamwork”
Circle of Friendship flowers – Hold hand in a circle.  Sit back in child’s pose, inhale and rise up opening the arms wide, exhale back to child’s pose.  We all Win Element

Polar Bear – Sit in child’s pose, make a cup out of your hands, rest your nose in the cup.  “Polar Bear is a cold weather animal There are five nations with polar bears: U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway.”  Ecological Echoes

 Reading Comes Alive with Yoga Element
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle – Teach the following poses while reading the book:
Lion – Sit in child’s pose, rise up and open the back of your throat as you breathe out with a quiet, throaty “Rrrroar.” Quietly roar.  Practice this pose round robin style and have one child start, by rising up and doing a unique roar, have the children repeat this, one by one until everyone has done the pose. Bridge of Diamonds Element
Flamingo – stand with one leg and the opposite elbow bent, switch sides.
Cobra- lie on the belly, push into the hands and rise up into a back bend.  “A snake’s backbone is made up of many vertebrae attached to ribs.  Humans have approximately 33 vertebrae and 24 ribs.  Snakes have between 200-400 vertebrae with as many ribs attached! That is what makes them so flexible and helps them move along! Ecological Echoes Element, Awesome Anatomy Element

VISUAL VIGNETTES
Cut two large circles, and 3 small circles for each child in advance.  Let the children paste the two big circles on to a piece of construction paper to form the polar bears face.  The Three small circles will be the ears and nose.  Let the children decorate the eyes and mouth.  Be creative!

QUIET QUESTS – Guided Visualization
“Lie down on your backs and get comfortable, close your eyes.  Listen to the sweet sound of your own breath ….in…..and out……Feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly as you breath…….pause………..Imagine you just spent the day sledding or skiing with your family and now you are resting.  You can hear the snow as it gently hits the walls and roof of your house….pause…….Once again feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly.  Up…..and down…….pause several minutes.  Now bring your attention back to the room, gently wiggle your fingers and toes…..slowly roll onto your right side and rest….gently push yourself up to sitting.

CLOSING CIRCLE
Fountain of Oms – Everyone chants OM at their own pace and rhythm. We start together, but everyone’s duration is different. Just let the OMs keep coming at various intervals; some short, some long.


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New Years Lesson Plan

It’s time to celebrate a new decade and welcome in 2020  — Take your YogaKids on a trip through 2019 and into 2020 through movement with this FREE New Years Lesson Plan from YogaKids! It’s the perfect teaching tool for the home, studio or classroom.  Help your little Yogis set good intentions for the new year.

AGE GROUP:  3-6, 7-11

MATERIALS:  music, construction paper, crayons/markers, black fine tip markers, white craft glue or glue stick, scissors, magnet strip (optional)

SHORT DESCRIPTION/TOPIC:  To celebrate the passing year, and the beginning of a new one and to set positive intentions (resolutions).

DISCUSSION POINTS:  We are going to take a journey through 2019, and experience some of the highlights of the year.  We will also welcome in 2020, and set intentions for a good year.

CONNECTING CIRCLE:  Sit in easy sit and do torso circles while you sing the Welcome Song (sung to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down)

Welcome to YogaKids, YogaKids, YogaKids,
Welcome to YogaKids
We’re so glad you’re here!
Musical Musings

YogaKids Pledge:
“I will stay on my mat!”
“I will keep my hands and my feet to myself”
“I will always do my best”
(Include any pledges that would be appropriate for your group)

Peace Breath – Hoping for peace in the coming year; send peace to the circle, to your town, to the world.  (Inhale and on the exhale quietly say the word “peace”) Quiet Quests

POSES AS PATHWAYS/INTEGRATE THE ELEMENTS

Sun rise/Sun set – The sun rose on a January 1st day 2019, one year ago.  (Sit on your heels with hands by the right foot, rise up, lift the arms up and drop over to the left side) Ecological Echoes
Sun Salutation – Play Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves and teach any variety of Sun salutations you like appropriate for your group.  Musical Musings

January brought snow, and cold winds, we warmed our noses with Polar Bear Pose.  (Child’s pose – make a cup out of the hands and bury the nose in the hands) Ecological Echoes
Fun Polar Bear Facts

  1. Polar bears are not white, the hair of a polar bear is actually transparent, and reflects light.
  2. They’re great swimmers and spend a lot of time in the water, some scientists classify them as marine mammals.
  3. They have tantrums. Experts have observed frustrated polar bears throw chunks of ice, kick piles of snow or growl in disappointment after losing prey they’ve been trying to catch.

February came and we celebrated Valentines Day by spending time with people we love.
Partner Pose – Sit and Twist (Sit cross-legged in front of your partner with your knees touching. Put your right arm behind your back, reach out with your left hand and grab your partner’s right hand. turn away from your partner, twist your spine, and look over your right shoulder.  Unfurl and change sides.  Bridge of Diamonds

 March brings a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.  We looked for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Rainbow Pose (side plank lift up the hip and drop the head making a rainbow shape, modify with knee down) Ecological Echoes
Fun facts to share about rainbows,

  1. “Roy G. Biv” is a way to remember the colors of the rainbow; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
  2. Rainbows have relaxing and healing qualities and are the universal symbol of peace and harmony

In April we celebrate the rain, and the blossoming plants and flowers with Acorn to tree – Tap on the backs of each child while they are in acorn (Child’s Pose) to symbolize the rain, once they are tapped, they grow into a tree (Tree Pose).  Ecological Echoes and We all Win

We Reach for the Sun and welcome in May (Reach the right arm up, bring it to the solar plexus as you say “Ha”, repeat left) Bring the warm energy of the sun into your own energy center. Ecological Echoes

In June we go for a Boat ride on the lake.  (lean back, lift the feet of the floor and balance, circle the arms and pretend to row your boat.)  Share fun facts about muscles.  Awesome Anatomy

  1. The largest muscle is the gluteus maximus, the muscles of the buttocks.
  2. One of our strongest muscles is the tongue

In July we celebrate the birth of our country, The United States of America

Happy Birthday Candle Series (Easy sit to plough to shoulder stand, back to easy sit) Have the children hold their shoulder stand, and let each child blow out the candles.  Have the student’s count the candles as they blow them out.  Older students can count by 5’s or 10’s.  Math Medley

In August we head to the sea shore for vacation where we find many fun sea creatures:

Crab – crabs have been around since the Jurassic period, 200 million years ago. (walk sideways on hands and feet, like a crab)
Seal – Because they can spend months at sea, seals can sleep underwater(from sitting, click heels together, roll back and click the heels and “Arf Arf” like a seal) Laughing Language, Ecological Echoes, Math Medley

In September we head back to school, and greet old friends we haven’t seen all summer  Namaste – (bow to each child in the circle and say “Namaste”) Bridge of Diamonds

In October we celebrate Halloween.

Pumpkin – A French explorer in 1584 first called pumpkins “gross melons,” which was translated into English as “pompions”. (roll like a ball using your fingers on the top of your head as a pumpkin’s stem.)  Poses as Pathways, Laughing Language

In November we celebrate Thanksgiving, and give thanks for all that we have to be grateful for.  Let each child share something they are thankful for. Bridge of Diamonds

December is the time to celebrate New Year’s Eve with Party Blower Breath  (have the children pretend to blow slowly into a party blower, and take several silent breaths)  Quiet Quests

It is time to set some resolutions for the new year.  Resolution Magnet Visual Vignette

How to make it:  Cut a sheet of white construction paper in half.  Across the top write “I RESOLVE”.  Choose your resolution (i.e. “to keep my room clean”).  Draw a colorful picture depicting your resolution below the words.  Glue your artwork to a piece of construction paper.  Glue a magnet strip to the back of your resolution art and hang on the refrigerator.

Relaxation and guided visualization – Take the class on a journey of the past year, ask them to think of an experience they had that they really enjoyed.  Have the students re-live that experience.  Ask the students to share their experience if they wish.  Quiet Quests

Fountain of Oms (Chant several “Om’s”) Quiet Quests


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Holiday Lesson Plan

It’s that special time of year again! It’s time to celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and Las Posadas. Teach your YogaKids the story of these special holidays through movement with this FREE Holiday Lesson Plan from YogaKids! It’s the perfect teaching tool for the home, studio or classroom.

 

Holiday Lesson Plan

AGE GROUP:  7-11, 12 +

MATERIALS:  Cotton balls, straws, Christmas tree cutouts, markers or crayons.

KEY ELEMENTS:  Poses as Pathways

SHORT DESCRIPTION/TOPIC:  Children will learn about holiday traditions around the world.

DISCUSSION POINTS:  We will learn about holiday traditions from different areas around the world including Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and Las Posadas.

CONNECTING CIRCLE:  Share a holiday tradition in your family.

POSES AS PATHEWAYS/INTEGRATE THE ELEMENTS

Peace Breath Send peace to peoples of every nation Quiet Quest, Bridge of Diamonds

Sunrise/Sunset – The winter solstice occurs when one of the earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern).  Ecological Echoes, Math Medley

Cat/Cow In Iceland, there’s a special Christmas tradition that involves a very special cat that roams the streets one time per year.  Poses as Pathways, Ecological Echoes

Downward Facing Dog (Inn pose) – Las Posadas means “the inn” or “the lodging” and is a Mexican Christmas tradition that symbolizes the Biblical journey of Mary and Joseph as they searched for shelter in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus.  Poses as Pathways

Warrior Series with Affirmations – Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights and symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.  “I am the light” “I share my light”.  Affirmations, Poses as Pathways

Tree Pose –Evergreens are a symbol of eternal life and rebirth. Latvia is home to history’s first decorated Christmas tree, back in 1510.  Ecological Echoes, Poses as Pathways

Half Moon Pose – Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between January 21 and February 20.   Poses as Pathways

Star (Jumping Jacks) Wise men from the east were inspired by the star of Bethlehem to travel to Jerusalem to meet baby Jesus.  Ecological Echoes, Poses as Pathways

Caterpillar to ButterflyIn South Africa, every December locals feast on a seasonal delicacy, deep-fried caterpillars!  Poses as Pathways, Ecological Echoes

Birthday Candle SeriesThe menorah is the nine-branched candelabra used during the celebration of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. Poses as Pathways

Circle of Friendship FlowersThe poinsettia is native to Mexico and Central America, where it was known as “Flower of the Holy Night”. It is believed to have been used as a holiday decoration as early as the 17th century.  Ecological Echoes, Poses as Pathways, We all Win

Table of Contents – Kwanzaa is a week-long annual celebration to honor African heritage and is celebrated with gift-giving and a feast.  Poses as Pathways

Bubble Fish – The Feast of the Seven Fishes is part of the Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration.  Don’t push too hard on your cranium which is part of the skull.  Poses as Pathways, Ecological Echoes, Awesome Anatomy

WE ALL WIN

Traveling Snowballs – Have students blow a cotton ball across the circle with a straw, have them see how far they can move their cotton ball.  Quiet Quest, We all Win

VISUAL VIGNETTE

Have the kids color Christmas tree cut outs making two that match perfectly.

MUSICAL MUSINGS

Play “Let it Snow”, “Frosty the Snow Man” or any holiday song while the kids draw.

WE ALL WIN GAME

Partner Christmas Tree Matching Game – Lie the Christmas trees face down and have the children take turns trying to find two trees that match.

QUIET QUESTS – Winter Meditation

Lie down, close your eyes, and begin to relax.  Each time you exhale, feel more and more relaxed.  Pause.  Imagine lying in the snow in your back yard on a cool winter night.  You are all bundled up with your warm winter clothes, so you aren’t cold, you feel warm and safe.  Pause.  You look up and see the night sky full of stars.  Pause.  Each star sparkles bright in the dark sky lighting up your whole yard.  Pause.  Imagine feeling safe and warm, as if each star is protecting you.  Pause.  Imagine that it starts to softly snow.  Pause.  You feel soft, wet snowflakes fall on your cheeks…..your chin….and each hand.  Pause.  Imagine feeling safe and warm.  Pause.  Stay and rest here for a few minutes.  Pause.  Now bring your attention back to the room, wiggle your fingers and your toes.  Slowly roll onto you side.  Come to sitting.

 

CLOSING CIRCLE

Share Time – allow the children to share their experience during the meditation.  Quiet Quest

Grug – Hugging releases pleasure hormones, it makes you feel good.  Body Benefits, We all Win

 


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Celebrate the Season with Edible Poses

Girl in Swinging Pretzel Pose

If you’re planning a kids yoga class about Thanksgiving, you might want to include a few fun facts about the holiday. You may also want to include poses that are inspired by food! Here are some facts to share and some of our favorite YogaKids’ “edible” poses! In addition, you can include this very cool Mandala coloring page featuring a few of our favorite healthy foods!

Fun facts about Thanksgiving

  • The first Thanksgiving feast lasted an entire 3 days
  • The average American eats 4500 calories on Thanksgiving, 2500 more than most of us need.
  • Turkey is the traditional dish served because in the 1600s, Turkeys were the most plentiful wild game.
  • Speaking of turkeys, did you know they can drown if looking up while it is raining?!

November 27th is Thanksgiving which is a special day to spend time with family and friends, but most people associate this day with…EATING! Here at YogaKids we have many food-inspired yoga poses. To help you burn off some of the extra calories you will probably eat on Thanksgiving day; try this series of edible poses.

Peanut Butter and Jelly
Reach up and grab the peanut butter and jelly jars that have magically appeared in the air. Rub PB&J all over your hands and smear it between your toes. Spread PB&J on our legs and you belly. Wash you face and hair in peanut butter and jelly. Stretch your arms up again, fold forward at the hip hinge, and lengthen your spine and upper body over your lower body to make a peanut-butter-and- jelly sandwich. Press the backs of your legs into the floor. Press your chest into your legs. Squish those two pieces of bread together. Can you reach your toes to wash them clean?

Pizza
Sit with your legs wide apart. Get ready to make a delicious slice of Pizza. Roll out and stretch the pizza dough to the right by slowly sliding your hands down your legs from your right thigh to your right toes. Then repeat on the left side. Now spread some sauce on the slice by moving your hands from side to side on the floor in the space between your legs. Now let’s grate some cheese. Finger dance from the top of your head, to your chest, down your legs and sprinkle cheese all over that giant slice in front of you. Next add your favorite toppings. Make your pizza colorful and fun; olives, peppers, mushrooms, pineapple, red licorice sticks, whatever you want. Bon Appetite.

Popcorn
Start in child’s pose. Stay still and feel the warmth coming up from the popcorn maker beneath you. It is getting warmer and warmer. Your body is full of the heat and soon you will be ready to pop. Now if you are ready – jump high into the air and POP. POP. POP. Repeat and pop!

Table of Contents
Lie on your back. Bend your knees. Place your feet on the floor. Place your hands underneath your shoulders, fingers pointing towards your body. Press down with your hands and feet, lifting your body up until you are in table position. What is on your table? Set each other’s tables for a picnic, birthday party, smorgasbord, tea party, formal dinner, ice cream parlor, and any other ideas you can think of. Say each food or item aloud as you place it on your friend’s table.

Swinging Pretzel
Sit cross-legged. Take hold of your left ankle and foot and place them high up on your right thigh. Now you are in the half pretzel. If you can, do the same thing on the other side. When both ankles are on both thighs, you’re in full pretzel. Switch legs so that each gets a turn on top. Now swing your pretzel. Spread your fingers and palms flat on the floor just behind your knees. Press them down as you lengthen your arms. Lift your bottom and legs up off the floor. With strong arms and breathing, swing your pretzel back and forth.

Which edible poses are your favorite?


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The Importance of Connection

YogaKids class in Circle of Friendship Flowers Pose

YogaKids creator Marsha Wenig knew the importance of connection when she created the YogaKids program over twenty years ago. Marsha created 14 original Elements that YogaKids teachers weave into their classes to create fun, educational, creative lesson plans that are designed to help children thrive. Several of these Elements along with many poses, activities and techniques are designed to help children connect to each other, the world and to their own unique goodness.

Extensive research shows that having good-quality relationships can help us to live longer and happier lives with fewer mental health problems. A sense of connection helps children feel emotionally and physically safe and valued; they develop healthy social abilities and have a sense of sharing and caring for each other. The centerpiece of opening our heart is to remember that we belong to each other.

Professor Brene Brown says, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.” The YogaKids program helps teachers offer children this sense of belonging and connection. Whatever we practice gets stronger and when children practice compassion and love, that part of them grows immensely and they tap into that part of themselves that is full of light, full of love.

The Ecological Echoes Element connects children to plants, animals and the environment. This Element allows teachers to weave in fun facts while teaching poses. In Downward Facing Dog pose, children might learn that dogs have the ability to detect changes in the human body and are used to help diabetic and seizure patients. While in Tree pose, students might learn that California holds the record for the oldest living trees, with some thought to be 4,000-5,000 years old. Children get the physical benefits of these poses, but also learn to understand their connection to the world.

The Bridge of Diamonds Element teaches children that they are like a diamond: unique and brilliant in their own way. And every child can build a “bridge” from themselves to the larger world. Many YogaKids poses can be transformed into partner or group poses. For example, in Tree pose, children can hold hands and notice how getting a little help from their friend helps them find balance. Bridge of Diamonds poses and techniques give children the confidence to open their hearts and connect to others.

Connecting poses help children feel a sense of community. Many YogaKids activities offer children the chance to work together, while simultaneously celebrating their own unique qualities. In Circle of Friendship Flower (pictured above) children kneel in a circle, holding hands. They inhale and reach arms up, then exhale and fold down into Child’s Pose.  In this pose, when children rise up and back bend, it symbolizes opening their hearts to life. Often when we get hurt, we fold in to protect ourselves, and in the effort, we close ourselves off to life and love. YogaKids helps us to teach children to rise up and stay open to life, open to love and open to seeing their own brilliance.

Poet Thomas Merton said, “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” YogaKids helps children find their true destiny and bask in the beauty of their own true nature.


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Thanksgiving Lesson Plan

Thanksgiving Cornucopia

It’s that special time of year again! It’s time to celebrate Thanksgiving — and encourage the greatness of gratitude in our lives. Teach your YogaKids the story of this special holiday through movement with this FREE Thanksgiving Lesson Plan from YogaKids! It’s the perfect teaching tool for the home, studio or classroom.

AGES: 2-6, 7-11

MATERIALS

  • Music and music player (Suggested Music: Native American drums, Hallelujah by K.D. Lang, Colors of the Wind by Judy Kuhn, We Are Native American Tribes by Ella Jenkins)
  • Soft ball
  • Paper tree and leaves
  • Markers/crayons/pens

OBJECTIVE

To learn the story of Thanksgiving through movement. To learn a Sun Salutation as an example of how people from around the world celebrate and give thanks every day.

VISUAL VIGNETTE

Prepare a paper tree and leaves. Hang the tree on the wall, and as students enter the space, have them write on the leaves what they are thankful for. Have the students tape the paper leaves onto the tree.

CONNECTING CIRCLE

Introduce the Theme – We will start celebrating around the world with yoga today. We will start in the United States, celebrating THANKSGIVING!

Centering Circle – Say your name and your favorite thanksgiving food and roll a ball to another student and ask them to share. Go around the circle until everyone has shared.

POSES AS PATHWAYS/INTEGRATE THE ELEMENTS

Take 5 BreathLet’s learn about yoga first! Let’s learn yoga breathing…

Sit cross-legged. Lift one finger at a time as you breathe in through your nose and count in your mind: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Pause for a second with your hand up. Slowly breathe out through your nose and count backward – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, putting down one finger at a time for each number. Repeat.

Warm-up– Include any warm up poses you like here.

Volcano – Once upon a time, about 400 years ago, some English settlers were angry with their king!They were not allowed to worship the God they wanted to, so they decided to leave!

Begin in Mountain pose. Bring your fingertips together at the chest. Jump your feet apart. Place your palms together at the center of your body in Namaste Position. Breathe in. Watch your hands as you raise them over your head. Breathe out as you explode your arms outward. Lower them to your sides and return your hands to Namaste. Erupt and release again and again. Make big, exploding volcano noises. Jump your feet back together when you’ve finished erupting.

BoatThey bought a boat called the Mayflower. And sailed it across the ocean.

Begin in L-Sitting pose and place both hands, palms down, alongside your hips. Lengthen your arms and spine. Lean back and lift your legs up. Balance. Stretch your arms forward, palms up. Breathe in and out. Row your arms forward. Reverse, and row your arms backward.

WavesIt was a hard journey because there were a lot of waves.

Sit on the ground and bend your knees, placing your feet on the floor hip-distance apart. Move your knees and legs back and forth to the left and right, as they ebb and flow like waves. Use this as a transition pose between the wet poses. It is a fun and accessible hip opener.

Moo and Meow and Yawn and FlopAnd they did not have much room to stretch out on the boat.

Begin in All Fours Pose. Line up your wrists under your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide and arch your spine to the sky. Loosen your neck and drop your head down. Breathe out long as you meow. Now lift your chest forward and look up with big cow eyes. Dip your belly down and tilt your sitting bones up. Your back will sink down like a cow’s. Make cow lips and moo deeply from the back of your throat. Go back and forth, meowing and mooing.

Stand in Mountain pose. Yawn as you stretch your arms upward with a big yawning sound and then flop forward in Rag Doll. Repeat several times.

Sunrise/SunsetThey were in the boat for 60 days and nights.

Sit on your heels. Open and close your wings several times. Then open your wings and interlace your fingers above your head. Stretch your arms up as you lift your buttocks off your heels with an inhalation. Exhale and drop your hips to the right as the arms drop left like the setting sun. Inhale and arch your arms overhead like the rising sun. Then, drop your arms to the right as the hips drop left. Repeat.

Tarzan’s Thymus TapThey tried to stay healthy.But many got very sick and some died.

Start in any of the base poses, seated or standing. Make two fists and pound your chest. Pound and tap under your arms, too. Howl, yowl and yodel. Feel the power and vibration of your sounds.

Child’s PoseAfter 60 days, they reached America at Plymouth Rock.

Begin in Heel-Sitting pose. Open your knees a little, so your belly relaxes between your thighs. Bend at the hips and fold forward, letting your shoulders drop down away from your ears and spine. Your arms lie back along the sides of your legs with open palms facing upward. Place your forehead on the floor. Turn your head to one side and take a few breaths. Then, turn to the other and do the same.

Tree/Leaf and Woodchopper – They needed to get warm, so they started to chop down the trees.

Begin in Mountain Pose. Lift one foot and press your foot against the inside of your other leg. You can use your hand to place your foot anywhere between your ankle and inner thigh. Avoid the knee joint. As your balance gets stronger, you’ll be able to raise your foot higher up your leg. Bring your hands to your chest, palms together in Namaste position. Then raise your arms up above your head. Stretch them out wide, like the branches of a tree. Separate your fingers. Balance and breathe. Now repeat on the other side.

Take a stance like a woodchopper with the feet hip-distance apart. Interlace the fingers and swing your ax over your head with an inhale. Exhale as you bring your ax down and split your log. Come back and forth several times. Remain down and then roll up slowly. Repeat.

Warrior SeriesThey had a long, hard, hungry, cold winter, but they tried to stay strong.

Begin in Mountain pose. Step one leg back while bending your front leg. Keep your hips facing frontward as you raise your arms straight above your head. Say, “I am bold!” From Bold Warrior, turn your back foot slightly outward and bring your arms down parallel to the floor. Keep your front knee bent directly over your ankle. Say, “I am brave.” From Brave Warrior, shift your weight onto your front leg. Pick up your back leg and stretch it behind you. Keep both legs as straight and strong as possible. Stretch your arms forward and say, “My own power I can hold!” Repeat on the other side.

Child’s PoseWhen it got warm out, they needed to plant food, but the land was different here, and they had trouble. They also needed seeds.

Acorn to TreeThe Native American Indians had been watching the settlers, and they decided to help. So they shared their seeds and taught them how to plant.

Pretend to dig a small hole. Place an imaginary acorn in the hole. Pat it down and water it. Now pretend to be the acorn in Child’s Pose. Act out the process of an acorn becoming a tree, ending in Tree/Leaf pose.

The settlers were so happy and the Native Americans were too, because they grew so much food, and the settlers wouldn’t have to be hungry anymore! So they celebrated! And we still celebrate that friendship and cooperation today! If we take time each day to be thankful, we are happier and healthier.

Sun SalutationIn India, many people do a Sun Salutation each day to be thankful for the sun rising each day – let’s learn it!

There are numerous styles of Sun Salutations. This is one example. Start in Namaste, raising your arms overhead and stretching upward. Fold forward into Ragdoll pose. Step back with one leg into a lunge. Step back with the other leg into Lizard pose. Slowly come down to the floor with your knees, chest and chin. Bring your hips down to the floor, and lift up into S is for Snake pose. Curl your toes under and stretch into Down Doggity Doggy Down pose. Repeat, beginning with the opposite leg and finishing in Namaste.

Cool Down –Include any cool down or closing poses here.

QUIET QUESTS

“Waves” – Guided Imagery by Maureen Murdock

As you breathe in… and… out, imagine that you are on a wave on the sea going up… and… down… up…and… down. You are perfectly safe, either lying on your back in a sailboat being gently rocked by the motion of the sea. And as you continue to move up… and… down… back… and… forth, you will notice the warmth of the sun relaxing you and feel a gentle ocean breeze. You may notice the color of the sky, the smell of the sea air, and the sound of sea birds above. You notice a sense of calm throughout your entire body as you experience the gentle rocking motion of the sea. Allow yourself to feel nurtured and supported. Think about what you are thankful for. (pause 1 minute) Now it is time to come back. I will ring the bell 3 times. On the third time, slowly open your eyes. Now I will ring the bell 3 more times. When I ring it the third time, please slowly roll to your side. Now, begin to wiggle your toes and fingers, and when I ring the bell the 3rd time, please come to a seated pose.

CLOSING CIRCLE

Namaste Song – Use the song along with the movements to end your YogaKids classes.

Namaste, Namaste, Namaste, Namaste
(Put your hands together at your heart and bow to each other.)

I am the light and the light is me.
(Point toward yourself and then to the sun.)

Namaste, Namaste, Namaste, Namaste
(Put your hands together at your heart and bow to someone.)

I shine bright with all I see.
(Move your Namaste upward like in Volcano pose. Separate and arc your arms outward through the air, and return them to your heart in the Namaste position.)

The light in me sees the light in you.
(Gently touch your hand to your heart, palms down and extend your arm out to gesture toward another person with an open hand.)

Bow to me, I’ll bow to you.
(Place your hands together at your heart and bow to someone.)

The light in me sees the light in you.
(Point and bow to someone.)

Bow to me, I’ll bow to you.
(Place your hands together at your heart and bow to someone.)

Namaste, Namaste, Namaste, Namaste
(Repeat)


Learn to write and teach your own Thanksgiving Lesson Plan!

Losing Daylight: Help Children Stay Positive During this Season of Change

losing daylight - child playing in fall leaves

It’s finally fall! While the season brings with it exciting things like pumpkin patches, cider, candy apples and Halloween, it also means it’s beginning to get darker outside earlier. Losing daylight has the potential to impact kids and their mental well-being.

The term that accompanies the sadness which corresponds to the change in seasons and loss of sunlight, is Seasonal Affective Disorder. Known as S.A.D. for short, it affects the young more often than the elderly. S.A.D. is identifiable through negative thoughts, an increased amount of time sleeping and isolation once grey skies appear, and can lead to more serious depression.

It’s important for us to help children fight through S.A.D. and find ways to stay positive and motivated throughout fall and winter. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some ways to ensure kids are as happy as possible, no matter the weather outside.

Make Home Cozy

As the weather becomes colder, people spend more time indoors at home. Embracing the seasonal change and making home a comfy haven is one easy way to promote happiness in kids. Having your home be a relaxing place to spend time can have a tremendous impact on a child’s mood. Have plenty of soft blankets around to cuddle under while watching T.V. or having a movie night. With constant adult supervision, light a few candles to create a cozy atmosphere. Check any negativity at the door and ensure you and the kids have a calm space to bask in and forget the weather.

Keep Active

When the weather is dark and grey, it’s easy for kids to feel less motivated. Don’t let that impact the time they spend being active. Activity is not only healthy for their bodies, it’s also beneficial for mental health. Exercise, in any form, helps release endorphins and feel good brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine to help regulate moods and fight sadness and depression. One great exercise to start is yoga. Combining the physical poses and stretches with the mental focus and meditation, makes yoga a great exercise for children’s happiness.

Aid in Restful Sleep

Sleep is always important, but it becomes even more so when battling sadness and depression. We want to make sure kids are getting the right kind of sleep. This means a good and restful nine to eleven hours per night, depending on age. To help kids accomplish this, make sure they’re comfortable in their beds. This all starts with a good base; your kids mattress should foster a good night’s sleep and benefit the way they like to sleep. Then look to their surroundings. Instead of allowing them to sleep with the T.V. on for noise and light, buy a white noise machine and night light. Listen to what their preferences are and work with them to create it. Beware of oversleeping though, as this is a sign of S.A.D.

Get Creative

When they’re feeling sad, give kids an outlet to express themselves. Children are inherently creative, so giving them the tools to showcase this helps to grow that skill while also teaching them to channel their feelings. Have a dedicated craft box filled with supplies for your child to turn to when they’re feeling sad and need something to uplift them. This also offers the perfect opportunity for you to spend time together working on a project. Having your child explain their craft to you can also give you insight into their feelings so you’re able to understand why they’re sad and think of more ways to help.

Set an Example

You are a child’s biggest role model. In their eyes, you have all the answers and the ability to make anything better. Set an example as the seasons change and show your kids how to be happy. Embrace the fun activities that come along with fall and winter, instead of focusing on the increased grey skies and darkness. Spend more time with them to make them feel less lonely and talk to understand how they’re feeling. Being a positive presence in their lives during this time of year can truly make a difference in the way they view the outside.


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Halloween Lesson Plan: Celebrate the Spooky Season!

Halloween Lesson Plan

We love Halloween! And kids do too! Don’t let the holiday slip by without celebrating the season! And if you need a Halloween-themed lesson plan  for your kids yoga class to celebrate the spooky season? Look no further! Enjoy a witches’ brew of festive fun in this Halloween Lesson Plan. (And download a coloring page to go with your lesson!)

AGE GROUPS

2-6, 7-11

MATERIALS

  • Music player with fun Halloween music prepared
  • Halloween coloring pages or mini-pumpkins
  • Crayons or supplies for decorating mini-pumpkins
  • Witches hat

SHORT DESCRIPTION/TOPIC

To get the kids excited about Halloween!

MUSICAL MUSINGS

Play fun Halloween music in the background.

CONNECTING CIRCLE

Recite the YogaKids Pledge (or any classroom rules). Introduce the class theme (“Halloween Night in your town”).
Sit in Pretzel and do torso circles right and then left while you sing the Welcome song (sung to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down):

Welcome to YogaKids
YogaKids… YogaKids
Welcom to YogaKids
We’re so glad you’re here!

Continue with Magic Witch’s Hat Breath – inhale hands in prayer over head, exhale hands to heart. (several rounds)

POSES AS PATHWAYS

Sun Salutation is a way of thanking the sun for coming out every day, for providing us with warmth and light and vitamins D. It gives us healthy bones, allowing us to grow. It allows our food to grow… giving our pumpkins and apples color and vitamins. This dance makes us strong, flexible, alert, and coordinated… and it’s good for the heart!

Sun Salutation – Do any variation of sun salutations you like.

The sun is setting on Halloween night, and we are ready for a night of fun. The moon is bright, and shining down on our Halloween night.

Sunrise Sunset – Sit on your heels. Open and close your wings several times. Then open your wings and interlace your fingers above your head. Stretch your arms up as you lift your buttocks off your heels with an inhalation. Exhale and drop your hips to the right as the arms drop left like the setting sun. Inhale and arch your arms overhead like the rising sun. Then, drop your arms to the right as the hips drop left. Repeat.

We are a witch’s broomstick! Take in a deep breath, and then float around the room on the broom stick blowing out all our air. When all our air is out, our broom turns into a mouse.

Witch’s Broomstick (Mountain) – Stand with your feet together or hip-width apart, whichever is most comfortable. Arms are at your sides, fingers stretching towards the floor. Press your feet into the ground.

Repeat Witch’s Broom to Mouse a few times.

Child’s Pose (Mouse) – Begin in Heel-Sitting pose. Open your knees a little, so your belly relaxes between your thighs. Bend at the hips and fold forward, letting your shoulders drop down away from your ears and spine. Your arms lie back along the sides of your legs with open palms facing upward. Place your forehead on the floor. Turn your head to one side and take a few breaths. Then, turn to the other and do the same.

It is time to make our special Halloween Witch’s Brew. Stand in a wide stance Mountain and begin stirring the pot clockwise then counterclockwise. What will we put into our brew this Halloween? Let’s add some bugs!

Bug Pose or Happy Baby – Lie on your back. Bend your knees into your belly. Open your knees as you grip the outsides of your feet. Bring your needs toward your armpits. Gently rock from side to side.

Stir the pot! Next, let’s add 4 large green lizards…

Lizard – Lie on your belly. Place your hands under your shoulders. Spread your fingers out like lizard claws. Bend your lizard toes forward. Push up until your arms and legs are straight in Plank Pose. Draw your shoulders back and away from your ears. Walk like a lizard, slowly and carefully.

Can you say, “Large Lucky Lizards Land in our Witches Brew?” Stir the pot! Next, we can put in two twisted twigs from an Oak tree…

Tree Pose – Begin in Mountain Pose. Lift one foot and press your foot against the inside of your other leg. You can use your hand to place your foot anywhere between your ankle and inner thigh. Avoid the knee joint. Bring your hands to your chest, palms together in Namaste position. Then raise your arms up above your head. Stretch them out wide, like the branches of a tree. Separate your fingers. Balance and breathe. Now repeat on the other side.

Stir the pot! Now, let’s reach down into our pockets and pluck out two eyeballs and throw them into the brew!

Ball Pose – Have the children roll back and forth on their mats.

Stir the pot! Next, let’s add in the skull of an eagle…

Eagle Pose – Begin in Mountain pose. Lift your right leg and wrap it over your left leg. If you can, hide your right foot and toes behind your left calf. Bring your bent arms up in front of you and place the right elbow on top of your left. Twist together your forearms bringing your palms together. You can also interlace your fingers. Bend your knees. Untangle yourself and change sides, bringing your left leg over your right leg and your left elbow on top of your right.

And a handful of feathers from a wise old owl…

360 Degree Owl – Roll up your yoga mat and turn it into a tree branch. Bend your knees and perch on your branch. Find your balance and sit as upright as you can. Tuck your arms behind you. Gently flap your wings. Turn your head from side to side, opening your eyes wide. Make a gentle “who” sound.

And stir the pot! Now, let’s add two wings of a magic butterfly…

Butterfly – Begin in L-Sitting pose. Bring the bottoms of your feet together, with your heels close to your body and your knees out to each side. Stretch your neck and the top of your head toward the sky and make your spine longer. Place your hands at the sides of your head and stick up your pointer fingers to make antennae. Pull your arms back like they’re your wings. Breathe in and out as you flap your wings forward and back, up and down.

Ask the children if they have anything they want to put in, going around the circle and putting in their ideas with or without doing yoga poses to go along with what they come up with.

And now our last two ingredients… two shells of a snapping turtle!

Turtle – Begin in L-Sitting pose. Open your legs wide. Flex your feet and lift your knees. Place your hands on the floor inside your legs. Spread your fingers wide. Slide your hands and arms under your knees, as far away from each other as possible. Bend forward at the hips and lengthen your chest along the floor. Lift your head and look from side to side. Say “hello” as you stretch your arms and legs as far out as you can. Now, tuck in your chin and retreat retreated into your shell. Pull all of your senses inward and rest. Stay in your shell as you breathe in and out. Repeat.

Turtles have been on the earth for more than 200 million years. Several species of turtles can live to be over 100 years old. The oldest documented turtle lived to be over 200.

Stay sitting with wide legs and stir making big circles in both directions. Then do a Magic Spell together — saying softly at first, then repeating getting louder and louder…. Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Laugh together like witches! HAHAHAHA! Now let’s be a witch’s hat!

Witch’s Hat Pose (Down Diggety Down Dog) – Begin in All Fours pose. Bend your toes forward. Spread your fingers wide. Press your doggy paws and heels downward as you lift your hips and tail to the sky. Lengthen your spine. Stretch your arms and legs as long as possible. Let your head hang down.

Now let’s be a dog howling at the moon!

Up Uppity Doggie Up – Drop your hips and lift your chest forward with an inhalation. Drop your shoulders away from your ears, broaden your chest and keep your arms strong. Keep your legs up from the floor if you can.

Howl at the moon. Go back and forth between Witch’s Hat to Up Dog several times.

Now that all our work is done, let’s take a rest in a pumpkin patch.

Have the kids lie down and take 13 breaths. Expand the belly like a pumpkin It is time for us to celebrate Halloween with some Trick or Treating. Repeat the mantra as the do the pose:

Trick or Treat (clapping feet on floor), Smell My Feet (hands and soles of feet clapping)

Row Row Row Your Boat – Begin in L-Sitting pose and place both hands, palms down, alongside your hips. Lengthen your arms and spine. Lean back and lift your legs up. Balance. Stretch your arms forward, palms up. Breathe in and out. Row your arms forward. Reverse, and row your arms backward.

If you have time, play the Yoga Freeze and Flow Game. When the music stops, take turns having each child wear the Witch’s hat and teach a yoga pose to the group.

Sunrise/Sunset – Same as before!

The sun is setting on our spooky Halloween night, time for us to sleep…

Twist and Blow – Lie on your back with your knees bent. Stretch your arms out to each side, in line with your shoulders, palms up. Drop your bent knees over to the right and up towards your armpit. Turn your head to the left as you breathe out. Breathe in and bring your knees back to the center and across your belly. Drop your legs to the left side, turn your head to the right, and breathe out. Do several continuous rounds. Then, relax for at least a minute with your knees on one side and head rotated in the opposite direction. Change sides and relax again. Then relax for at least a minute on each side.

SAVASANA

VISUAL VIGNETTE

Have the children color a Halloween coloring page, or decorate mini-pumpkins. You can download one here! coloring page.


Learn to write and teach your own Halloween lesson plans with YogaKids!

Rock Your Chakras Halloween Style!

black cat with pumpkin

Need a Halloween-themed class for your older students? This is a Halloween twist on a chakra lesson plan. Having knowledge about your chakras gives you a guide on how to interpret the experiences in your body. Listening to your body and directing your energy within in a conscience way so you feel safe, creative, empowered, loved, heard, connected and spiritual.

AGE GROUP

7-11

MATERIALS

  • One hollowed-out pumpkin
  • Cooked spaghetti
  • Gummy candy
  • Fangs
  • Cyclops eyes
  • Scarves
  • White 8.5 x 11 paper
  • Markers the colors of the chakras
  • Pencils
  • Wet wipes
  • Cotton balls
  • Clothespins
  • Cedar and lavender oil
  • Green marker
  • Music player and prepared music
  • Blocks

DISCUSSION POINTS

What are chakras? Why do we care about chakras? Where is each chakra located in the body? What are some things associated with each chakra (i.e.: color, sense, emotion, etc.)?

CONNECTING CIRCLE

Place a skeleton in the center of the circle.

Take a moment close your eyes and sit tall on your sit bones. Think about your spine. <Pause.> Look at the skeleton in the center of the circle. There are 33 bones in your spine and 5 sections. The cervical spine is your neck, thoracic is where the ribs attach to the spine, lumbar is lower back and sacral is where your spine attaches to your pelvis and then the tailbone region. When one of those bones becomes misaligned, we feel discomfort.

So, alignment of our spine is essential to our health. We have wheels of energy along our spine called chakras. Energy is what makes all things exist and move. Our body receives energy from the sun, food we eat and the air we breathe, and that energy is sent throughout the whole body. Our chakras are those places where that energy comes into the body and is then sent throughout the body. We want to keep these wheels of energy spinning and balanced so that you feel good, much like spinal alignment. Yoga poses can help keep our spines aligned and our chakras balanced.

Name Game – Go around the circle, say your name and an adjective that is scary that begins with the same letter as your name: Howling Heather. Say all together after each child says their name.

POSES AS PATHWAYS

Sunlight is absorbed through our skin, so we can produce Vitamin D, which in turn allows us to absorb calcium. Calcium strengthens our bones.

Sunrise/Sunset – Sit on your heels. Open and close your wings several times. Then open your wings and interlace your fingers above your head. Stretch your arms up as you lift your buttocks off your heels with an inhalation. Exhale and drop your hips to the right as the arms drop left like the setting sun. Inhale and arch your arms overhead like the rising sun. Then, drop your arms to the right as the hips drop left.

Pull your hands around your face to make it dark. Darkness is scary. Your sight is limited, and you might hear things you wouldn’t hear during the day because the world is quiet. Our first chakra’s sense is smell. Pass around a cotton ball held in a clothespin with cedar oil on it, The essence of our first chakra is meeting our basic needs; feeling stable and secure in our environment. 

Polar Bear – Begin in Heel-Sitting pose. Open your knees wide apart, toes touching behind you. Bend forward at the hips and slide your chest along the floor. Place your chin on the floor and put your paws over your nose to keep yourself warm. Breathe in and out.

We are going to be the moon rising. Make wide arms circles to draw the face of the full moon. Moonlight is sun reflected off the surface of the moon. 

Volcano – Begin in Mountain pose. Bring your fingertips together at the chest. Jump your feet apart. Place your palms together at the center of your body in Namaste Position. Breathe in. Watch your hands as you raise them over your head. Breathe out as you explode your arms outward. Lower them to your sides and return your hands to Namaste. Erupt and release again and again. Make big, exploding volcano noises. Jump your feet back together when you’ve finished erupting.

What comes out when the moon is full? WEREWOLVES!

Play Thriller by Michael Jackson. Howl at the moon.

Transformer Series (modified to become Werewolves) – A vinyasa is a flow of poses linked together through breath and movement. In YogaKids, we call vinyasa flows “transformers.” This example of a Transformer Series transitions through the following poses: Lunge, Lizard, S is for Snake, Down Diggety Doggy Down, and back into Lunge.

When our root chakra is balanced, we feel centered and grounded. “I am rooted to the Earth, I am Safe.” 

Mountain – Stand with your feet together or hip-width apart, whichever is most comfortable. Arms are at your sides, fingers stretching towards the floor. Press your feet into the ground. This downward action through the legs allows the torso, neck, and head to rise like a mountain above the clouds. Notice how tall and light you feel.

Put your hands on either side of your hips and you can feel the ilium bones that make up your pelvis, which is like a bowl. These bones connect to your spine at the sacrum which is a large triangular bone that helps support the weight of our upper body. This is also where our second or sacral chakra is housed which enhances your ability to feel. When it is in alignment your creative energy flows. Orange represents this chakra. Let’s become pumpkins.

Pelvic Bowling – The pelvis is like a bowl, holding the reproductive and abdominal organs. Tip your bowl forward and backward several times. Now realign and lengthen your spine as you return to center. Feel your legs strong and supportive. Feel your pelvic bowl sitting on the pedestal of the legs, supporting the upward mobility of your torso. Stand tall and walk without spilling anything out of your bowl.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself as an orange pumpkin. Make a scary mouth with fangs and everyone reveal their scary face at once by opening their eyes. Do the Darth Vader breath: Try to inhale/exhale through your nose even though your mouth is open. Use your tongue to stopper your teeth. Count to three on inhale, five on exhale. 

Squat & Breath – Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Bend your knees and squat down. If possible, bring your heels to the ground and keep your feet parallel to one another. Bring your hands into the Namaste position, with your thumbs lifting the breastbone and your elbows opening your inner thighs. Drop your shoulders away from your ears and keep the torso upright. Breathe deeply and quietly as you balance. Continue to increase the duration of time you can squat and breathe.

Sing the following as you do the pose:

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate,
the first one said, “oh my its getting late,”
the second one said, “there are witches in the air,”
the third one said, “but I don’t care,”
the fourth one said, “I’m ready for some fun,”
the fifth one said, “let’s run and run and run.”
Woo went the wind and out went the lights and
the 5 little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

Rock ‘n Roll – Sit cross-legged. Take hold of your toes from the outer side of your knees. Breathe in and lift up your chest. Breathe out and tuck in your chin. Breathe in and out. Rock your back and roll backwards. Extend your crossed legs over your head. Roll forward, tuck in your legs, and sit up again. Do this a few times to loosen up your spine, back and legs. Re-cross your legs the other way, then roll a few more times.

A pumpkin is in the shape of our pelvis and where our guts are. If you are brave enough to reach inside without looking, there are some prizes. Pass around a carved-out pumpkin that has “guts” (cooked spaghetti) inside. Within the guts, put in gummy organ shaped candy and eyeballs. Share this folktale:

There is an Irish folktale of how Jack-o-lanterns came to be a Halloween tradition. A man named Stingy Jack invited the devil to have a drink with him. But Jack being stingy didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the coin, and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form.

Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for another 10 years. Soon after, Jack died.

As the legend goes, God wouldn’t allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by Jack’s trickery but keeping his word not to claim is soul, wouldn’t let Jack into Hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved out turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since. The Irish refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern” which became simply Jack-o-Lantern. When the Irish brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, they adopted this fruit for their carving activities. 

Row your Boat – Begin in L-Sitting pose and place both hands, palms down, alongside your hips. Lengthen your arms and spine. Lean back and lift your legs up. Balance. Stretch your arms forward, palms up. Breathe in and out. Row your arms forward. Reverse, and row your arms backward. Try the pose while singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Our navel chakra is our power center which fuels your will to act. Let’s hold hands in this pose as we work to recharge and reconnect with this energy center.

Feel the energy that flows in your body. See if you can connect to your neighbors’ energy like an electric current that flows from one to another. 

Electric Circle – This pose is done with at least three people. Sit cross-legged with your hands on your knees. The left-hand rests palm up, and the right-hand rests palm-down. Breathe deeply into your heart space at the center of your chest. Feel the breath move across your chest, flow down your arms and into the hands that you are holding. You might feel or hear tingling. Whenever you feel this electricity, gently squeeze the hands you are holding. That is the signal to let each other know that the circuit has been made and the current is flowing. With your lips closed and your tongue curled upward to touch the roof of your mouth, start humming or buzzing to imitate the sound of electricity. Get louder and louder, then break the circuit by letting go of each other’s hands. Sit quiet and listen to the silence.

Electricity has transformed us into Frankenstein! Play Monster Mash. Try to walk with arms and legs straight like Frankenstein. Try to cross one leg over the other as you step sideways. Go in both directions.

Ankle/Heel/Toe/Walking – Put on your favorite music or make your own. Lift your toes in the air and walk on your heels. Then, lift your heels and walk high on your tiptoes. Balance on the inside edges of your feet and walk around. Balance on the outside edges and walk around.

When your navel chakra is balanced you feel confident and courageous in your decisions.

Warrior Series with Affirmations – Begin in Mountain pose. Step one leg back while bending your front leg. Keep your hips facing frontward as you raise your arms straight above your head. Say, “I am bold!” From Bold Warrior, turn your back foot slightly outward and bring your arms down parallel to the floor. Keep your front knee bent directly over your ankle. Say, “I am brave.” From Brave Warrior, shift your weight onto your front leg. Pick up your back leg and stretch it behind you. Keep both legs as straight and strong as possible. Stretch your arms forward and say, “My own power I can hold!” Repeat on the other side.

Our spine isn’t straight, it is curved like an S so it can better support the weight of your upper body. Convex is the shape of our cervical and lumbar areas and concave is the shape of our thoracic region We are going to make those two shapes with our back: stretch our chest muscles by opening our arms wide and arching back: then stretch the back muscles by bringing our arms to the front and rounding back. A good way to remember it, concave has the word cave in it and when you cave in, you cave inward. 

Draw a heart with washable green marker on hands of child and dab some lavender oil in center. Our heart chakra fuels our ability to give and receive love.

When we take our heads below our hearts we bathe our brain in oxygenated blood. 

Did someone say BLOOD! (Put your fangs in for Dracula.) Make the shape of Dracula’s cape. When our heart chakra is open and balanced, you feel a deep sense of love, gratitude and connection to all beings, including yourself.

Standing Partner Stretch – With a partner, stand back-to-back in Mountain pose. Both partners take one “baby step” forward. Reach back and take hold of each other’s hands or wrists. Keep your feet rooted to the floor. Lean gently away from each other, as you stretch your chests and shoulders. Come back to center and release your hands.

Dracula is transforming into a bat to fly away. This pose strengthens your arms and core. 

Crow Pose – Begin in Mountain pose. Bend your knees and squat down. Place your arms to the inside of your bent legs and press your hands with outstretched fingers into the floor. Lean slightly forward. Bend your elbows to make a shelf for your knees. Lean forward and balance with your feet off the floor. With patience and practice, you can increase the time you can stay balanced.

We are going to Hiss (tongue behind two front teeth) like a mad black cat (Moo pose) and Purr (as you breath air out of your mouth, flutter your tongue against the roof of your mouth) like we are happy. (Meow pose) 

Moo/Meow – Begin in All Fours Pose. Line up your wrists under your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide and arch your spine to the sky. Loosen your neck and drop your head down. Breathe out long as you meow. Now lift your chest forward and look up with big cow eyes. Dip your belly down and tilt your sitting bones up. Your back will sink down like a cow’s. Make cow lips and moo deeply from the back of your throat. Go back and forth, meowing and mooing.

Zig Zag Breathing – Lay your head down on your friend’s belly pillow. Have someone use your belly as a belly pillow too. Make body zigzags on the floor as everyone breathes from their bellies. Close your eyes and relax. Feel your belly rise and fall with the weight of your friend’s head.

Our throat chakra is the energy center for sound and communication. Everyone wants to be heard. We make sounds in the front and back of our mouths. 

Play with tongue twisters.

  • If two big black cats could blow bubbles, how big of bubbles would big black cats blow.
  • Ghostly ghouls gather gleefully to golf on ghostly green golf courses.

Put cyclops eyes on everyone’s forehead while lying down.

Play Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. Musical Musings

Channel energy through our third eye chakra. This is our center for intuition and insight. Seeing and color represent this chakra. Give each child as a scarf and everyone will work together to keep the scarves in the air. It doesn’t matter whose scarf you rescue. Keep an eye out so you don’t run into someone!

Throw and Grab – Use two or more light objects like scarves. Toss them in the air laterally and try to catch them. Next toss them up laterally but reach across and catch them with your opposite hands. Notice when you add the words, ‘Throw. Throw. Grab. Grab,” it makes this mid-line movement and cross-lateral coordination easier.

These eye exercises will stimulate our Corpus Collosum, the connection between the two halves or hemispheres of our brain. 

Eyes Around the Clock – Use this technique anytime you need to soothe and rest your eyes. Take any seated position. Rub your hands together until they feel hot, then place the palms of your hands over your eyes. Let them soak up the heat. Keep your fingers close together so no light comes through. You can keep your eyes closed or open. Imagine a clock hanging in front of your eyes. Move your eyes to each position around the clock like this:

  1. Look up and down, from twelve o’clock to six o’clock and back to twelve o’clock;
  2. Look right to left from three o’clock to nine o’clock and back to three o’clock;
  3. Look diagonally from one o’clock to seven o’clock and back to one o’clock;
  4. Look from eleven o’clock to five o’clock and back to eleven o’clock.
  5. Now start at twelve o’clock and look at each number around the face of the clock.
  6. Then, start again at twelve o’clock and move in the opposite direction. Circle the cock clockwise three times, then reverse. Try to keep your head still and move only your eyes.

7th chakra is at your crown and it’s your connection to your thoughts and your understanding of the world around you and how you fit into it. 

Headstand (modified) – From all fours position, put top of head on mat. Put arms in an “L” shape position. Place one knee at a time on triceps. If able, straighten legs to ceiling.

Plough – Sit cross-legged. Take hold of your toes from the outer side of your knees. Breathe in and out. Roll backwards. Then, let go of your toes while bending your elbows. Use your hands to support and lift your back. Straighten your legs and lift them past your head until your bent toes touch the floor. Squeeze your shoulders and elbows together. Breathe in and out. To relax in this pose, bend your knees and rest them on the floor on either side of your head. Rest your hands at the back of your knees.

The sky is starting to get light and we are close to the sun peaking over the Eastern horizon. It’s time to return to our coffins to rest. Close your eyes and shut the lid. Imagine what the inside of a coffin must be like. There is no light; no sound; the interior is soft, the bedding you are resting on is comfortable; take a sniff of your lavender, the smell can be calming. Shutting out your senses can be calming on your nervous system. 

Corpse Pose – Lie on your back and relax.

Bring your awareness to the base of your spine, feel your tailbone and sacrum region on the mat. Feel the space between your lumbar region and the mat. Does it feel like you could drive a truck underneath your lower back or does it feel like only a bug could crawl under? <Pause> Feel your ribs expand into the mat as you inhale air into your lungs. <Pause> Press your shoulder blades into the mat and then relax. Let your cervical spine make a natural bridge between your collar bone and back of the skull. 

VISUAL VIGNETTES

Make Pop-up Cards. Fold 8.5×11” paper in half. Refold top half edge to folded edge. Draw half circle along second edge, make upper half of a scary face (no mouth). Draw a pair of short legs and feet on paper so that it looks like half face and legs are attached. Unfold paper and draw other half of circle to complete face and draw a smile. Draw rest of the body. Make sure your shoulders are the width of your legs. Draw arms at sides.

Write I AM…. in bold lettering above the head. Put a dot that represents each color of chakra alongside the body. Don’t put the dots above or below the two folded seams. Write words alongside corresponding color: Red: Safe, Orange: Creative, Yellow: Strong, Green: Loved, Blue: Expressive, Indigo: Connected, Violet: Divine.

CLOSING CIRCLE

We only have this one body to care for in our lifetime. Luckily, we have modern medicine to help us repair a broken bone, fix a tooth and make our eyesight better but the true way to stay healthy is by making healthy choices every day that keep you feeling at ease, peaceful and joyful.

Diamond Breath/Bridge of Diamonds – Begin in Heel-Sitting pose. Inhale as you lift your arms overhead. Form a diamond above your head with your pointer fingers and thumbs touching. Exhale as you lower your arms back down to your sides. Repeat. Then hold your diamond shape above your head. Close your eyes and envision a beautiful, sparkling diamond floating above your head. Feel it grow larger and more brilliant. Now open your thumbs and let the magical sparkly diamond dust flow into the top of your head, through the crown chakra and over your whole body. Feel the diamond light surrounding you. Now lift your torso off your heels. Join hands with the children next to you and feel the diamond light move through your group to create a bridge of diamonds. Imagine joining hands with children across the globe and forming a bridge of diamonds; a rainbow of beaming light that spans across the world. Together our love and light will shine in peace.

Share the following quote from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross:

People are like stain-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.


Learn to write and teach your own Halloween lesson plans with YogaKids!

Scenes from a YogaKids Training!

 

A YogaKids training is a totally unique and immersive experience. Because we believe that children learn better by doing — we ALSO apply this same philosophy to our training of adults! You — just like your YogaKids students — learn by engaging in activities and connections to art, music, literacy, and much more. If you’d like a sneak peek at one of our trainings, here’s an exclusive photo gallery of scenes from our recent Level 3 Transformations Training event in Newbury, Massachusetts at Roots to Wings Yoga and Healing.

And, remember, if you want to experience a YogaKids training — start your Certification today!

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