Welcome to our Go Go Yoga for Kids: Kids Yoga Lesson Planning 101 Free Training! Throughout this training, we have learned how to put together engaging, successful, fun, and memorable kids yoga classes. Now we will answer what is savasana.
Video 8:Building Community comes toward the end of your kids yoga class. Everyone has had fun, learned a lot, and now it is time to bring the energy level down a little.
Stillness & Savasana
Miss Sara, I can’t wait to do the “sleeping pose” again!” That is what I hear time and time again at the end of our Kids Yoga Classes.
The children begin class so eager, excited, and full of energy. After moving and working their bodies in such good and healthy ways, they are truly ready for rest and relaxation. I tell my students that their bodies deserve this rest and that taking this time helps them repair and build the muscles they just worked.
Please do not get the idea that I simply call out, “Everyone get into Savasana,” and that the kids readily roll onto their backs, shut their eyes, as they go into deep stillness. Instead, slowly get kids into Savasana.
Savasana comes at the end of your class after you have practiced breathing exercises, learned yoga poses, played yoga games, practiced balance, built community with one another, and are now ready for a bit of stillness, relaxation, and time for some mindfulness.
Yoga is about movement and poses and postures but it is also about being still and quiet and mindful in savasana. This is such an important skill to learn in our busy lives and especially a wonderful one to model with children
Here are a few ways to help promote stillness and mindfulness with kids.
Change the Mood
I like to begin to speak in quieter tones and if possible turn the lights down lower. It’s also easy to play calming music or nature sounds. This change in their surroundings signals to children that a change is coming. As you build this into the class flow, children begin to recognize the signs and signals leading to Savasana.
Be a Melting Ice Cube
As Stillness & Savasna follows our Building Community component of class we are already seated in a circle. I like to challenge the kids to lie down as slowly as they can as if they are an ice cube melting into the ground. When they get down to the ground have them stretch out as long as they can with their toes pointed and their arms up overhead. See how long they can get by taking deep breaths.
Squeeze and Relax
While kids are lying down on their yoga mats preparing for savasana, I’ll sometimes have them squeeze a body part as hard as they can. Let’s say they squeeze their hands for a few seconds and then they relax it. Or also squeeze their shoulders up by their ears and then relax it. They’re actually able to physically feel the difference their body makes from holding it so tight and then relaxing.
Use Memorable Phrases
I challenge the children to stretch as “long as a pencil” or have them be “as still as a statue” or “as quiet as a mouse.” This gives the children a mental picture of how to pose and act.
I allow the children to lay however they feel comfortable. It could be on their backs, on their stomachs, curled up into a ball, but have a realistic expectation for how long the kids can lie still. 15 to 30 seconds is good for the preschool ages while older children can stay longer. The more they get used to Stillness and Savasana at the end of class, the longer they can stay still.
Bring Them Out Slowly
When it’s time to come out of this relaxation, I like to ask them to roll over on their side and use their arm as a pillow. Then they sit up and you can quietly lead them through a couple of big, deep, cleansing breaths while bringing arms up overhead, breathing in, and breathing out and placing your hands at heart center. We’ll do that a couple of times.
I like to give a few positive closing words that unite the class and set their path for the remainder of the day or the week. I also like to thank them for coming to yoga, taking care of their bodies, working together, and having fun.
Welcome to our Kids Yoga Lesson Planning 101 Free Training! Throughout this training we have learned how to put together engaging, successful, fun, and memorable kids yoga classes. Now we will learn how to build community.
Get all caught up here with the Most Important Parts Every Kids Yoga Class Needs:
Building Community comes toward the end of your kids yoga class. Everyone has had fun, learned a lot, and now it is time to bring the energy level down a little.
As a teacher, I know that it can be tempting to skip or rush this portion of class if you are feeling short on time. I encourage you to really make time for this building community portion of class. It is a very important part for your students as well as for you, their teacher.
As you begin to bring your yoga class to a close, it is important
and beneficial to reflect on all that you have learned and accomplished during
class. It makes the students feel stronger and more united as a class.
This is personally one of my favorite parts of class as it ties everything
together. The children share what they have learned and what they have enjoyed.
I love hearing about their favorite parts and often times I am surprised. Many
times it is not what I think such as mastering a difficult pose, but instead it
might be how they felt or how they connected with another student and maybe
made a new friend.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to Build Community in your Kids Yoga Classes. Give them a try. They love it and it truly begins to bring your class to a close.
Now you are ready for Part 7 of the Kids Yoga Lesson Planning 101 Training:
The Kids Yoga Challenge!
Congratulations! Now you are well over halfway through with your yoga class. Your students have moved, breathed, learned a lot and had fun! Now it’s time for Part 7 of your Kids Yoga Class with The Yoga Challenge!
With the Yoga Challenge portion of your kids yoga class, your students will have the opportunity to work on a challenge by themselves or together with the group. Select one of the options below and spend 7-9 minutes having fun with the Yoga Challenge.
The Yoga Challenge Options:
1. Balance Poses:
Select a single balance yoga pose for the children to work on. This could be Airplane Pose, Dancer Pose, Tree Pose or may others. We like to use The Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards to help provide a visual. When placed on the floor, they also provide a wonderful focal point.
Kids love to work on balance in yoga class because it is fun and challenging. They often don’t realize that they are acquiring a skill that improves each time they practice. This is good news because studies have shown that our balance decreases as we age beginning at age 7. With practice, we can maintain this balance.
I understand that Inversions can sound scary to try…especially with kids. The great news is that Inversions do not need to be difficult to do and the benefits are enormous. Find out how to practice our favorite Kids Yoga Inversions here.
3. Partner Yoga Poses:
Kids love partner yoga poses! Partner yoga poses help teach children the importance of teamwork and working together plus they are fun to do and build trust and community with one another. Check out our all-time favorite Kids Yoga Partner Poses here.
4. Group Yoga Challenge:
This type of yoga challenges are some of my favorites. Do not overthink this, it can be anything from standing in a circle and passing a hula hoop without letting go of hands. It can also be a Group Tree Pose or a Down Dog Tunnel. The point is to get the children working together to achieve a goal while having fun!
The Yoga Challenge is an important part of your kids yoga class for differentiation and meeting the varying needs of your students. Everything can be modified.
This challenge allows the children the opportunity to work on more difficult poses by themselves or within the group. This builds trust and community.
Kids love yoga games! Yoga games are often a favorite part of the class as children naturally love to play games. Games are also another great way to get kids moving, build strength, follow directions, work together and practice yoga poses in fun and engaging ways.
I also love how games help break the ice with new groups and allow kids to get to know one another. Games also lead to laughter and provide opportunities to maybe step outside a comfort while working together to achieve a goal.
I like to have a repertoire of yoga games that can be played and used in a variety of situations such as varying group sizes, ages, indoor, outdoor yoga games. I also like to include games with partners, quiet and mindful games, games that bring the energy level up and games that bring the energy down.
These games could be used during a yoga class, a school setting, camps, during other kid-related activities, or a home with your children.
I do recommend having a set of yoga pose cards to when playing the games. We useThe Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards and they provide a great visual and are about the only prop or material needed.
As you dive in deeper with some of our favorite kids yoga games, please feel free to adapt for varying age levels, setting, age appropriateness, and number of children. This can be done by making a few simple adjustments.
A huge tip is that you spend no longer than 10 minutes playing a yoga game. Keep the interest level and excitement high. Always end on a high note which leaves them wanting more
The goal of yoga games is to get kids excited about practicing many different yoga poses, while they gain strength, improve balance, experience teamwork and have fun!
Part 4 of your Kids Yoga Lesson Plan: Active Movement
There is a reason that Active Movement is near the beginning of a kids yoga class. The children are so excited to be there from The Welcome then after theirBreathing Exercisesand Sun Salutations, they are good and ready to move their bodies around the room and use their large muscle groups.
Why Active Movement is Important
Active Movement provides the chance to put all of their well-intentioned energy to good use and let the kids have some fun while moving their bodies and making them strong.
The main benefits of Active Movement are to get students’ hearts pumping, build strength, and get their wiggles out (especially in the younger ages)! They will then be good and ready for the Themed Yoga Poses that will follow.
Yoga is more than breath, it is also about strengthening your whole body as well as your mind!
Follow the Leader
Do Not Overthink
Just move your body in good and healthy ways! That’s it! Turn on some music and for sure join in the fun! The kids love it! After a few moments, turn the music off, settle the children back into a circle. Have the children place a hand on their heart and feel it pumping energetically.
Make Your Heart Happy
I like to explain to the children how they made their hearts so happy. I tell them that sometimes their hearts get very bored when they are sitting for such a long time in front of the TV or video games. I ask them to put their hand on their heart and feel how happy they made their hearts now! Look around the room after you do this. Light bulbs are going off! The children have definitely made a connection with how to make their hearts happy!
Now, grab your Kids Yoga Lesson Planning 101 Guide and jump right in!
Part 3: Sun Salutations for Kids & Connect With Breath
After you and your students have focused on their Breathing Exercises, you can begin Part 3 of your Kids Yoga class with Sun Salutations.
The Sun Salutation portion of a yoga class and is wonderful for warming up the whole body. It is also exciting because your kids yoga students are now ready to connect their breath with this movement.
Keep it Familiar
I like to keep
the Sun Salutations relatively similar for each class. Familiarity builds
confidence. Similar to adults, kids like to feel as if they are in control and
can really pay attention to their breath and movement during the Sun
Salutations if they are comfortable and familiar with the flow.
Sunrise to Sunset
I like to use the analogy of sunrise to sunset with I introduce Sun Salutations to kids. They breathe in and raise their hands above their heads for the sunrise and the dive forward on the exhale over their toes for the Sunset.
At the end of our Sun Salutations, we talk about how we feel stronger, lighter and more focused. This simple exercise is a wonderful way to get their bodies warm and ready for the next Active Movement portion of the class.