This moon’s sequence, September 19th 2013, at 4am, is for back to schoolers. Going back to school is exciting, fun, and sometimes produces anxiety in children. Adjusting from being outside, under the long, summer sun, to being inside more, during fall’s diminishing light, is a challenging change for everyone, and, yoga can help.
This sequence is short and sweet, it works on countering the effects of sitting, and can also be calming and focusing. This moon, we have 15 poses to color, with 2 minis and 1 partner pose. I would suggest it as a 20 to 25 minute yoga recess to re center your class and “reboot” the students energy. Check back in early October for the color, smartboard version of this sequence.
Preparation: To begin, set up the classroom, move the desks to the side and make some space. If desks are spaced appropriately, children can do this next to their desk safely, without moving, just have them stretch and reach in all directions first to become aware of their yoga and body space. Ask the children to become aware of potential hazards around them, other classmates yoga space. Giving them a mat or a yoga dot is great for this, to physically outline the space for them and separate their space from the other 25 kids in class :). Yoga dots are easy and quick to clean, and to put away and store, their one downside is that it is hard to do, low to the ground, hands and feet postures, on these very small surfaces.
The Sequence: First we start off in (1) Butterfly, feet together and wings in the sky. Spend some quality time in butterfly to center your students, ask them how they are feeling, give a few “Oms” or “Buzzes”. I like to do some gorilla breathing too, to loosen the hips up, because they tend to get stiff sitting in a chair. Create a visual of the butterfly flying through a beautiful garden and landing on a (2)Flower, to get the kids attention. Lift the knees and thighs off the ground, with the feet together, bring the arms under the calves, and, balance on the tail, breathing deeply and slowly, be a beautiful flower for several long breathes. After Flower, have the kids lie down and work their back core muscles in Alligator. Alligator is also a great for countering the effects of sitting and the slouch position that kids can easily fall into after several minutes in a chair. Lie on the belly, arms stretched in front, legs in back, start breathe into the belly and then lift the torso, arms, thighs and lower legs off the ground, snap the “jaws”, and swish the (3) Alligator “tail” through the garden pond, before turning into some boats!
From Alligator, roll on the back , slowly, raise and bend the knees, hold under the knees and thighs and lift the torso and legs off the ground, balancing on the tail, you have a fleet of (4) Boats. If the children have room and space to do so safely, rock slowly back and forth, like a boat, rocking on the waves in the pond. After gently massaging the back and having fun as a rocking boat, allow the waters to calm and your boats to be still. Remember the little ones abdominals are not as well developed as those of an adult, so, this will be much harder for them.
After boat pose, dock the boat, and, crouch on the feet, and, hop along the garden path, like a (5) Frog, first planting their feet hip distance apart in the mat, and turned out slightly, legs bent, bottom down, with hands on the mat also, in front and to the inside of the feet. Breathing in , and, breathing out, “ribbit” and jump up, slightly off the ground or not at all, depending on environment, space and experience, emphasize soft, quiet and gentle landings, like a graceful frog, or don’t leave the ground, if there is a lack of space and try kundalini frogs. Watch as your little frogs expend some of their extra energy in the imaginary garden and then take it the mat for some good old fashion (6) Downward Dog. Stretch and howl and you take several long breathes here, feel the children calm down as gravity helps the blood flow to the brain in this gentle inversion. Emphasize pressing down with four paws and up with the hips. After a good stretch as a dog get them to walk their hands back to their feet, and into a (7) forward fold position before taking a walk outside the garden into some mountains and trees.
After slowly rolling up from standing forward fold, kids can plant the feet hip distance apart or together, in (8) mountain pose and inhale, arms up at the sides, to (9) high mountain, reach up with hands, ground down with feet, exhale and bring the palms back infront of the heart to mountain. Try this several times, inhale, high mountain, exhale, mountain. Once done exploring the big and small mountains, introduce (10 & 11) tree poses, emphasizing the rooting of the foot and steady, focused breathing while balancing, and, of course, safety and space. Spend some quality time here, remind them that balances are a lot easier when you are quiet and focused and, ensure you try this on both sides before lying flat in Rock pose, #12 of the sequence.
After some quality time in the Trees, ask kids to return to the garden, lying on the back, and giving the knees a good hug in (12) Rock pose, because the knees do so much for us each day 🙂 Roll around, within their yoga spaces, let the kids massage their own backs in their great restful pose before placing their feet on the mat/ground below the buttocks and hip distance apart with the legs bent, in a hip tilt. Take a few breathes in this position, lower back flat on the ground, breathing deeply, out slowly and quietly, before lifting the hips up into (13) Bridge pose, feet hip distance apart, arms grounding on the mat with shoulders neck and back of head. Our garden pond now has a little bridge! Bridge pose is great for countering the effects of sitting. Take a few long and slow breathing cycles, pressing feet and arms down and hips up, in the opposite direction, feel the strength and stretch before slowly lowering the Bridge to a nice and restful (14) Log pose. Last but not least, become a (15) Hero, finish off with a meditation that will leave the students feeling centered, calm and ready to learn.
Be safe, don’t do this if you are not feeling well or your Dr has said not to do yoga,
Thank You very much for your time reading this and Happy Yoga!