In the second semester, I decided to introduce yoga to my kindergarten students. Once a week, I’d put on some calming guitar music from Youtube and my little darlings would say to each other, “today we will do yoo-guh!” In this post, I want to share some of the funniest, sweetest moments of my practice with 5-year olds.
The first time they heard the guitar music, Jennica came up to me and said, “I want to sleep now.” And I thought to myself perrrfect. I also dimmed the lights. I wanted to create a beautiful calm space, which is not exactly an energy kindergartners tend to embody. In our Montessori class, some days we get there, but given the choice, they’d typically rather run, leap, spin, shout, and chase their friends. (Read on below the video)
We started out with basic pranayama breathing, simply watching the breath. I had them sit up nice and tall. I showed them how; I pulled my hand up from my head like there was a string attached and straightened my spine up into a tall seat simultaneously. MawRein said, “do me!” They thought it was magic, not muscle.
Then I asked them to close their eyes. Lincoln peeked at me with one eye the whole time. I told them to slowly, quietly breath in and out. I said innn and ooout a couple of times watching to be sure they did, then also closed my eyes to breath. Modeling is sometimes the best way to get them to keep doing what they’re supposed to. Just as I was starting to relax into it, Patrick’s eyes snapped open and he shouted “FINISHED!” I learned to say 10 breaths or more and emphasize quietly.
Next we talked about a cow’s big round belly and how a scared cat arches its back. We did some cat/cow and made the animal sounds with the motions.
Later, outside of yoga time, I saw Vebeak on hands and knees saying to a friend, “and drop the belly down” just the way I say it. He’s an adorable yoga instructor.
When we did cobra, as they say “snake,” we looked around and talked about what snakes see. Lincoln wiggled his body so he could move forward, slithering side to side clumsily. It’s a comical challenge for them to stay in one space.
They liked to flap their leg-wings as butterflies and talk about “drinking the flowers.” When we folded over our legs in butterfly, James said “so hurt.” They didn’t know sore yet. I told him to move his feet out a little and he went “ahh-hhh, so good!”
Their favorite pose by far was tree. When ever we stood up, they would guess tree was coming next. “Now, do the tree-pose?” (they said it as one word, not two) They loved to wobble in the wind and sometimes hopped a little.
When we attempted triangle, one of the shorter boys struggled. He looked at his friend and said, “because he is long he can do so nicely.” He meant tall.
They also liked the idea of savasana: “now dead pose?” though they struggled to stay still, even for exactly 60 seconds. They did like to be zombies coming back from the dead though as they made their way to the circle. And they also loved to end with saying “na-ma-ste” and bowing to each other. Their little hands pressed in anjali mudra were super cute. I’m definitely going to miss yoga with kindergartners!
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