Tonight kicked off my October series of kids yoga! The weather was in the low 60′s and the leaves were slowly falling, which made this the perfect day to create a theme around fall. Here in North Carolina where summers are hot, humid and sticky we enjoy the welcoming of fall. As the leaves fall from the trees and the squirrels gather their nuts, we begin to notice the subtle changes within our bodies and minds as life begins to slow down. Yoga is a great way to connect with the body as well as all things connected to nature. In kids yoga it is best to create themes based around things children are familiar with.
Here is how I introduced the theme.
After warming up the bodies and preparing them for the class, I went around the circle and asked them which season we were in. Each of them knew it was fall. I then asked them what sort of things represent fall. They answered “leaves turn orange” to “leaves fall from the tree.” As each of them answered the question, I laid leaves and acorns in the middle of the circle. When I was finished I said “do you ever go outside and play in the leaves!? or do you kick the leaves and listen to them crunch!?” I let them answer the question and then we began to pretend we were kicking the leaves.
As we stood on are yoga mats and kicked pretend leaves, I then had the class go in a circle around the room as they still pretended to kick leaves. We made are own crunching and swooshing sounds, which added to the fun of kicking. Had we been outside I would have had them actually kick the leaves. I had them continue to kick leaves and then I added a game. I played music and they circled around kicking the leaves. When the music would stop, I had them go to the leaf pile that I had created and let them each take a leaf or an acorn. When the music came back on they would have the leaf or an acorn to hold while kicking (or at this point dancing around the room). I stopped the music three times, so in the end they were each holding about 2-3 leaves or acorns. They then put the leaves back into pile and we stood tall on are yoga mats.
As we stood tall, I then put them into the tree pose. This was a good opportunity to allow them to sway their branches and let their own leaves fall. As we stood in tree pose the arms would go up and then down. This was a good way to describe the leaves falling from the tree. We also did standing forward bends as a way to demonstrate this as well. Once we were done standing in tree, I sat them back down on their mats and had them close their eyes.
As their eyes were closed, I placed a leaf in front of each of them. Once they opened their eyes, I had them pick up the leaf and observe it. I then had them blow on their own leaf and watch it blow away from their hands.
Next, I asked them to describe what the leaf looked like to them and each of them had a variety of answers. The answers were as follows: “This leaf is orange and yellow. It has a stick on it!” to “This leaf has blue dots, is orange and fell from the tree!”
When we finished describing the leaves, I went around the circle and said “If the leaf were a yoga pose what would it look like?” Each of them created their own version of leaf pose. Their ideas ranged anywhere from the traditional eagle pose to the triangle pose! This gave each of them an opportunity to create their own yoga pose!
Next, I had them lay on their bellies and face the pile of leaves. We all began blowing on the leaves and acorns. As a group we blew hard enough to watch the leaves blow away just as they would if the wind were blowing on a windy day!
Once we were done blowing leaves, the children turned around and laid on their backs for savasana!
This was a great way to introduce fall by allowing the children to use their bodies, be creative and practice breathing!