The children walk in two straight lines giggling and smiling, trying to keep in their excitement. We stop right in front of the “yoga room” and I ask them, “What do we do when we walk into the yoga room?”
1. We walk in quietly.
2. We follow the paw prints and take off our shoes.
3. We find our mat.
4. We start in a quiet Mouse pose (Child’s pose).
The yoga room has become the special place for so many Kindergarten through 2nd graders at my school. As each child walks in, the child can greet with a high five, fist bump, hug, or handshake. I hear so many silly stories about their day and help them take off their tricky shoes.
I ring my bell and the children quickly sit in Easy pose with one hand on their heart and one hand on their belly. They beam with pride because they remember what to do when the bell rings. I remind the children that our mats are our “special islands.” Our islands are our safe place where we can imagine, move, and have fun!
We have special jobs in our yoga classroom. I look for quiet mice and children trying their very best in class to perform our special jobs. Our jobs are:
1. Breathing Ball Leader
2. Breathing Buddies Passer
3. Shoe Helper
4. Line Monitor
5. Mat Straightener
6. Light Switcher
7. Teacher’s Helper
(Breathing Ball Leader is a class favorite because the children lead us all in our breathing by opening the ball really big so everyone can see it.)
As yoga teachers, we know that the practice of yoga is so much more than the movement! The children learn mindfulness and how to self-regulate their bodies and understand how their bodies feel by focusing on mindfully moving each body part. Most importantly, the children have so much fun! This is a place where they can really express themselves. A passerby may be confused about how yoga can be noisy at times. Through their play and fun, the children are learning way more than someone may think!
The relaxation is arguably the class’ favorite part of yoga! The Light Switcher turns off the light, the Breathing Buddies Passer looks for friends lying down still and quietly to pass out the breathing buddies (little stuffed animals) on their bellies as they breathe, and I put on my relaxing music. I read a relaxation story as the children imagine their special places.
We slowly wake up and end with the affirmation of the day. The children usually have big relaxed smiles on their faces! I dismiss by ready rows and jobs then assist about 100 children a day with their shoes!
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