Thursday, November 1, 2012


It's ThanksGIVING! We have this special day each year to concentrate and give thanks to the blessings that flow through our lives. We return those blessings to family, friends and the community by kind thoughts and acts. 

Gratitude is a major practice in yoga. I have put together a few fun ideas for a Thanksgiving-themed kids yoga class. My ideas are inspired & tailored around gratitude and how we can incorporate it into our daily lives throughout the year. 

Gratitude Check-in
After students have checked in and are ready to begin class, take time for a gratitude check in.  I like to pass a ball around the yoga class...when you receive it, share one thing you are thankful for, right now, in your life. Perhaps introduce the concept of dedicating your practice (the fruits of your efforts) to someone else. Who or what would you like to dedicate your practice to? Who or what are you thankful for?

I included a couple books that I love. You can read them before you begin your practice OR afterwards to close your practice. These are just ideas, you can defiantly add your own choice of book to read aloud to the students. 
Great for ages 3 - 12 years old. Humorous and cute! 

Great for Ages 4 - 5 years old. Very cute!

Breathe! Breathe! Breathe!
Floating Feather Game: Using only your breath (no fingers or toes), keep your feather afloat. Don't let it touch the floor. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, play feather-volleyball with a friend. With a controlled breath, have students blow the feather to each other. They will be practicing giving and receiving. If you have room and want to really throw in a twist with breath, have the students stand in a circle and try passing the feather around using only one breath per student. (I like to use fall colored feathers (red, orange, gold), but feathers of any color will work) 

Poses of Gratitude
Ask the students to silently think of the who or what they are dedicating their practice for/to. As they move through each yoga pose, ask them to think about all the things they are thankful for. 

I am grateful for our fruit tree. It provides our family with delicious fruit. What type of fruit is your favorite? Imagine how it will taste. Yummy in your tummy! 
(Tree Pose: start in Mountain Pose. Imagine roots are growing down into the earth to anchor your left foot. Lift your right foot as much as you like. You can place it on the floor next to your ankle, to lean it against your calf or thigh. Never rest it on you knee. For more of a challenge, reach your hands towards the sky.)   

I am grateful for rain showers. It makes helps the flowers grown and makes the grass green.  (Imagine the pretty flowers, what colors are they? What do they smell like?)
(Lunge: start in Mountain pose. Slowly bend forward. Allow your body to hang for a breath or two. Place hands on either side of your left foot, step your right for back. Look up and feel the rain drops hit your face.) 

I am grateful for our beautiful Earth. She gives us so many treasures. Can you think of some? Sparkly crystals and minerals. 
(Peak -a-Boo: Start in butterfly pose and place hands under each knee. Slowly moving hands forward, lower crown to the floor. Breathe for 4 counts and slowly come back up.) 

I am grateful for the warm sun. It greets me every morning with a smile. What other things does the sun do for us?
(Rock and Roll: lie on your back, pull your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around your legs. Give yourself a nice hug. Be grateful for you. Pull your head up so your body is tight so you can rock with  more energy. Energy from the sun. Rock your body back and forth 3 times.) 

I am grateful for shooting stars in the night sky. What makes a star shine so bright? What is the star closet to Earth? (The sun). Lets make ourselves into stars giving off a lot of energy. Imagine making a wish - and your wish coming true! (words to the teacher or instructor: Watch the students faces light up as they are imaging their wish coming true. As a yoga instructor, that very moment makes me so happy and grateful for what I am doing brings joy to others. 
(Star Pose: . Stand and spread your feet apart. Press your feet into the earth. Raise your arms and reach out, as if someone is gently pulling your arms into space. Raise your head tall. Take a deep breath. Do you feel the energy moving from your arms and legs. You are a bright - shining star. Repeat 3.)

Visualization and Savasana 
(If there is not enough room for children to lie on the floor, have the children sit in their chair with their head on the table. 
Floating and Sinking: (courtesy of Yael Calhoun)
"Okay, now just let your body float. You are floating on a cloud. You are floating on a magic cloud, gently and safely holding you up and all cares are leaving you. The cloud is taking you to a resting place of comfort, but don't worry about where right now. Just enjoy floating...resting...and you are now gently resting on the earth. Gently sinking into the soft, safe earth. You are getting heavier and heavier  and more and more relaxed, sinking down into the deep, calm, resting place. Let your body restore itself and rest. 

After many gentle breaths have passed, say, "Now slowly start to wiggle your fingers and toes. Stretch your hands over your head and stretch from tip to toe. If lying on the floor, roll over on to your side and take several deep breaths. When you are ready, help yourself up and still in easy pose. 

Remember: Gratitude is an everyday practice. 

Being Thankful Song/Chant

I'm thankful for my friends 
And my family. 
I'm thankful for the food I eat. 
I'm happy to be me!

Namaste ~

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