A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to have a professional yoga instructor come to our classroom and provide a yoga experience with our students. We (the kindergarten teachers) were blown away! This was such a wonderful thing for our students on so many levels!
Here is the background. I began studying and enjoying yoga a little over a year ago. As with anything I enjoy, I wanted to find a way to bring it into the classroom. So last year we had a yoga session in my class a few times a week. I muddled my way through it and taught the kids some of my favorite poses. However, I was not sure what yoga with kids was really meant to look, and sound, like. It was nothing akin to the deep, introspective experiences I had at yoga class, so I wanted to learn more.
Thus, our guest. And, sure enough, yoga with kids is different. There is talking, laughter, animal noise, and fun. But the thing that really inspired me was the way that our instructor turned yoga into an oral story. By slightly renaming the poses and using a carefully planned succession of poses, the kids were moving, breathing, and visualizing a story. It was amazing!
The story we went through was all about a baby dragon hatching. You can imagine how gripping it was for the kids. And for every image that the story contained, they were moving and shaping their bodies. This is unbelievably powerful for the brain. The more ways we can experience something, and the more senses we call upon, the more connections are built in the brain.
Our teacher also used “breathing buddies,” which I thought was so clever. She gave each child a beanie baby which became their breathing buddy. They used these buddies to help them balance, position their bodies, and, best of all, focus. (They were very motivated not to drop their buddies, which helped them to concentrate.)
I put together the Baby Dragon story, coupled with photos and scripts, if you are interested. It is available here for $3.50. I have been so inspired by this that I hope to build and create even more yoga stories in the future. Here is a sneak peak of what comes in “Baby Dragon.”
Have you ever done yoga with your kids? How do you use movement activities in your teaching?