In my last post I discussed how each one of us is experiencing a new month with a new moon. To many people this may mean nothing but to some, we look at this deeper and maybe find this as a chance to renew ourselves, to rest and recoup. I’ve been teaching all of my classes this week in a lighter style, no vinyasas, no arm balances and no deep backbends This has been giving us each a phyiscal embodiment of the feeling to release and slow down, and has also set an example for the mind and spirit to follow. But Can we convey this to Kids Yoga? When I teach Kids yoga it is all about keeping the childrem\n captivated, keeping them interested and engaged, so naturally we move a lot, we make a bunch of noises, we play games. So how could I keep the kids interested but remove the parts of our yoga that keeps focused and involved? I decided to teach a class about the 5 senses, no games, no physical movement, we just sat and discussed, and everyone participated and everyone had fun.
Kids Yoga, The Five Senses
I start all of my classes with the kids seated, Criss-Cross Apple Sauce at the top of their mats. Mats are arranged in a circle. We Inhale spreading our arms open into a big T and we exhale, clap the hands together and chant “Home”, we do this 3x.
Now I tell the kids the 5 senses: Smell, Hear, Touch, Taste, See
Smell: I brought in different essential oils and sage and introduced them to the kids. First we passed the Sage around and we each took a big sniff. I asked the Kids what it smelt like, they all described the odors they recognized. Dirt, Bad, Outside, Nature, Trees, Hay. I passed around Egyptian Musk Essential Oils, I got reactions such as old, Bad, smelly, grandma! Next I passed around Orange Blossom and the mood completely changed, I heard Yums, Mhmms, Good, Tasty. Then we did the Smell Breathe which was a big inhale through the nose and a verbal exhale, like a bull out of the nose. We did this 5x.
Hear: For the sense of hearing I brought in my Tibetan Singing Bowl. I played the kids a vibration and let them enjoy the sound. Afterwards they said how much they liked it and reacted to the sound with great surprise. I then passed the bowl around and allowed the kids to try and make their own sound. Many of them tried to hit the bowl very hard and others just gave it a small tap like myself. I believe the way the kids hit the bowl says something about them as well, letting me see that they are gentle, aggravated, upset, content. We finished exploring the sense to hear with the Bumble Bee Breathe. which for this lesson I called the Vibration Breathe, Using the same word we discussed when talking about the singing bowl. For this breathe we inhaled through the nose, and then exhaled though the mouth, but while keeping the lips sealed the entire time so that we produced a hum.
Touch: For the sense of touch I brought in a whole bunch of teddy bears. The teddy bears I have are very soft and very plush. I handed one out to each kid and had them hug the teddy bear and describe how we felt. The kids used words such as good, cuddly, soft, squishy. The kids were all very excited about the teddy bears and so I had them each tell the group a story about them and their bear. Some kids Talked about going on the swings and playing with friends while others told stories about fighting and kicking. By having the children tell their stories I was able to get a glimpse into their minds and how they are feeling. I also hope through story telling the kids felt they were able to release these emotions by getting them out.
See: For the sense of sight I brought in a mandala coloring book. I gave the kids some colored pencils and let them collectively color a page together. Then between the picture they colored and another which I had done myself, I asked them what they saw. They said they saw circles, swirls and colors. Once we discussed what we saw we did a breathe together. For the sense of sight I put a crystal in the center of the circle (yes, I just happened to have a crystal with me) but you can use whatever you like. I had the kids stare at the crystal and stay focused while we took 5 deep breathes.
Taste: For Taste I brought in some cut-up dried figs (was working with what I had and also trying to avoid any possible allergies). I gave each kid a piece and first asked them to just suck on it. Then I told them I wanted to take a full minute to eat the single piece that was in their mouth and challenged them to take the tiniest bites possible. Finally I said it’s time to swallow. They all fussed and squirmed and then I told them to stick their tongues out and say ahhhh! We talked about what it was like to chew so slow (Learning Patience) and what they tasted, what the texture was like. Afterwards we did Lion’s Breathe as the Ahhh! Breathe.
We did all of this, learned about ourselves, and didn’t do a single asana the whole time. The kids still loved it, they got to story tell and use their imagination in all sorts of different ways to understand the world around them.
Afterwards we got o our backs, did some simple twists and laid down for savasana.