by Lauren Chaitoff
We all share this beautiful planet we call Earth. This year, Earth Day falls on Wednesday, April 22, 2015. For those of you new to teaching kids’ yoga, Earth Day is a terrific time to offer your services at an Earth Day fair or festival as a way of sharing your love for the earth with kids and also gaining exposure for yourself or your kids’ yoga business. For those of you already teaching yoga to kids, consider holding your classes outside on Earth Day. If that is not an option definitely try incorporating an Earth Day theme into your lesson plan. Below are several ideas that can make for a fun and memorable Earth Day. Enjoy!
EARTH DAY BREATHING
Flower Breathing: You will need a real flower for this activity. Begin sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position. On your inhale smell the flower. On your exhale thank the trees, the plants and the animals for sharing this beautiful earth with you. Continue passing the flower around the circle until everyone has had a chance to smell the flower and give thanks to the earth.
EARTH DAY POSES
Mountain Pose: Stand straight with your feet together or slightly apart. Place your arms by your side. Picture yourself as a solid, stable and strong mountain.
Tree Pose: Begin by standing in Mountain pose. Shift your weight over to your right foot while lifting your left foot off the floor. Bend your left knee, bringing the sole of your left foot high onto your inner right thigh (it helps to focus on something that does not move to help keep your balance.) Now, reach your arms up in the air as if they are branches on a tree. Repeat on the opposite side. If you are swaying, imagine it is a windy day and you are a tree swaying in the wind!
Butterfly Pose: Begin in a seated position. Bend your knees bringing the soles of your feet together and letting your knees fall away from each other. Keep your spine long and strongly press the outer edges of your feet together. Flap your wings and fly somewhere beautiful!
Flower Pose: Begin in Butterfly pose. Raise your feet and legs off the floor and balance on your bottom. Bring both arms under and through your legs. Ask kids which type of flower they are! You can also incorporate breathing by asking kids to take a deep breath and smell their flower.
Waterfall Pose: Begin in Mountain pose. Slowly begin to bend forward. Imagine that your spine is a beautiful waterfall cascading down over your legs. Allow your head to hang as you rest in the pose. You can sway your arms side-to-side as if the waterfall is flowing into a brook below you.
EARTH DAY GAME
Crossing the Line: Begin this Earth Day game by making a line on the floor using masking tape or a yoga strap. Next, try asking children questions related to taking care of the earth. For example, “do you turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth?” Or, “do you recycle?” If they answer yes to the question then they should cross the line. Remind children that even if they did not answer yes to some of the questions, it is never too late to change our habits and take care of our earth!
EARTH DAY BOOK
I am a huge Todd Parr fan. The first Todd Parr book I ever purchased was The Earth Book and I still read it every Earth Day. The book includes many simple yet effective ideas on how we can all work together to make the earth feel good; for example, by bringing our own bags to the market, using both sides of paper when printing or writing, and loving trees. The book also includes a back page with tips and reminders on how kids can “go green” every day.
EARTH DAY MEDITATION
Below is a simple script you can use to seal your Earth Day kids’ yoga class:
“Imagine you are in a spaceship flying in space. You look out the window and see our planet earth spinning in the galaxy. It is a perfect round blue and green circle. As you get closer you notice the mountainous ridges and rocks that make up the earth. Your spaceship lands on a mountaintop. You look up above you and see the infinite blue sky and white cotton candy clouds. As you hike down the mountain you see all different types of animals, insects and plants that live in, under, and between all the rocks. At the base of the mountain there is a river. There is a sailboat waiting for you. The gentle wind helps steer the sailboat down the river. The water is crystal clear and you can see below the surface. You notice fish, plants and other organisms living in the water. Then you see something floating in the river. It looks out of place and you realize it is a plastic bag. You reach your arm into the water to retrieve the plastic bag. Your journey through the sky, mountain and water has helped you recognize that you share this earth with every other living creature and it is your job to help care, protect and love the earth so we can all live together in harmony.”
Lauren Chaitoff is a mind-body-fitness expert and founder of Yogi Beans, a company devoted solely to teaching yoga to children of all ages in and around New York City. In 2010, she fortuitously met Alexa Klein, Yogi Beans’ CEO & Co-Owner, and the two united to open Yogi Beans Kids Yoga Studio in NYC. Lauren currently oversees and trains the stellar Yogi Beans Instructor team, leads regular Yogi Beans’ public teacher trainings, and teaches weekly classes to beans of all ages. She continuously evolves Yogi Beans’ programming from her extensive experiences in the classroom, on her mat and through her love and nurturing of her own baby bean, Vivienne Bell. Find Yogi Beans on facebook and follow them on twitter @YogiBeans.
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