Take a Yoga Nap with Your Little Yogi
by WYC teacher, Jessica Hufnagle
In February I had the privilege of teaching yoga to a room full of little yogis and their caregivers. It was our story-time yoga program that we hosted during February school vacation and it's a program that I have taught in various formats over the past year but the result is always the same for me--fun!
It's fun to prepare!
It's fun to teach!
It's fun to watch!
I want these storytime yoga programs to not just be a place where kids learn about yoga but I want them to also learn about themselves (really this is my goal for any
yoga class that offer). During a traditional "grown up class" an adult might move through their own meditative experience. Perhaps they set a personal intention and discover how it feels to move through each of the postures while focusing on breath, or strength, or peace, or balance. In the story time classes I ask the little yogis (and big yogis too) to move through each posture and imagine that they are clouds, or rain, or puppies, or warm sunshine. They can connect with their imagination and appreciate the stories that they create with their bodies and their minds. This creativity may be a departure (and a break) from their worlds full of visual stimulation and they are sponges ready to soak up the experience again and again.
Each class has a theme-last February's was "weather" and all of our yoga related back to that theme, sometimes very loosely, the ability to improvise is a must with little yogi classes! First, I let them know what they can expect from our time together. Then we do some breathing and we move through some yoga poses set to the
theme; a forward fold is a rainstorm, wide-legged squats are great for building snowmen, some side bends will do for rainbows, there was some lightening and thunder too (kiddo classes tend to be a lot noisier than grown-up classes)! After that, we might read a book with those poses incorporated, or play some games, or do some partner poses, or some more breathing. And then, just like in adult classes, we always end with Savasana (or as I tell the kiddos) a special yoga nap.
You can try this special yoga nap at home with your little ones too! Select a special object like a small stuffed animal or car (I use rubber duckies) and create a story about this object. "This car wants to go for a ride but is looking for smooth wavy roads." "My ducky needs a pond to live in but it needs to be a smooth pond with gentle waves." Explain to them that when they lay on their backs and make big gentle breaths, their belly will rise and fall and then the car/ducky/toy will be able to land for a while. You might need to go first and let them decide when your breath is smooth enough for their special toy.
Let me know below if you were able to take some "special yoga naps" at home!
How did it work out?