This moon there will be many tricks, and, the treat is the great feeling you leave with once you are done this halloween themed kids yoga sequence. For the uninterrupted slide show, please visit the “color” tab. We will be trying on all the different yoga costumes, parading the streets as a zombies, and flying like bats to a graveyard where we will finish as corpse’s! Make space, be safe, and, breathe.
First, start off in hairy gorilla costumes, breathing, Have a seat with your kids and take a moment to say hello, see how everyone is feeling, and, center. Once you have chimed in, ask them to bring the feet into criss cross, or, soles together, and, take hold of the ankles. You are a pack of hairy gorillas, breathing in, making a grunting sound, and, bringing the chest up and forward, rolling the shoulders back. On the out breath, the opposite movement. Releasing the breath through a long neck, and, hiding the chest behind shoulders rolled forward. Repeating this movement and breathe mindfully until hips are loose, everyone is energized, you can also wave the arms in the air, tap the chest with hands, and, a screech, for added gorilla fun.
After some quality time breathing in gorilla suits, start prowling the streets as cats and cows. Ask the children to come to hands and knees (& lower legs) for this great torso and spine loosening mini sequence. Cat and cow are also great for breathing, moving and making noise, getting kids interested in the sequence. Set the scene, you are on your hands and knees, as cats and cows, looking for treats!
Start with the hips over knees, lower legs on the mat, hip distance apart. The shoulders over hands, arms extended, head looking slightly forward, tailbone back, torso long. Ask the kids to use their breathing to move from cat to cow, breathing in, rolling the hips, shoulders, and, neck up, dropping the torso, for cow pose. Breathing out and rolling the hips, shoulders and neck down, raising the torso and heart, in cat pose. Repeat cat and cow, several times, always grounding through the hands and lower legs, and coordinating the breath with movement. Being conscious not to move the neck too fast, or too much, before, lowering down to, Mouse pose for some calming, and, breathing. Head to the mat with lower legs, fore arms and hands, chest to the thighs, shoulders relaxed. Squeak a little! After being a field of mice, on Halloween night, before you become a ferocious lion!
While in mouse, breathe in, press hands and fingers into the mat in front, ground through lower legs, breathe out , spring up on all four paws, ROAR out like a loud, ferocious, lion, prowling the streets for treats. The mouse to lion movement is great fun for kids, a good reminder that they have the power to be calm, and, loud, and it really emphasizes the breathing and moving coordination. After a few mouse to lion transitions, add a little downward dog to make it a 3 move mini, pressing hands and feet in the mat, straightening the legs from lion and dropping the neck and head between outstretched arms. Howling like a pack of dogs on Halloween night! Stretch, and, give a few howls in down dog, before slowly walking the hands back to the feet, and pulling on Zombie suits, to walk with warriors, through crooked trees, to a graveyard.
Ask the children to rise slowly, walking their hands to their feet, from dog, and up their bodies to Mountain Pose, and then, extending the arms in front, hands reaching forward. Rise zombies, walk around and have fun, breathing in fully, while walking slowly, breathing out loudly, and making a moaning zombie sounds. Set the scene for Halloween, look up at the sky and see a star. For Star pose, ask kids to spread the legs out wide on the mat, while reaching the arms out to the sides, and, head and neck up. Take some long breathes in and out here while stretching the body from all five corners of the Stars (head, right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg). Star is a great starting point for Warriors. You can be sure to see lots of those costumes on Halloween night! For Warriors, I like to use small stickers on the mats to guide kids where they should have their feet. Legs are wide from Star pose and front foot points forward, and going with the long end of the mat, back foot is to the side and heel slightly back, heels are on the same line, front leg is bent, back leg is straight, arms reaching to the sky, hips down and forward.
After a few breathes in Warrior I pose, try Warrior II, moving the arms down, reaching one arm in front, the other in behind, gazing over the front fingers, foot moves a little back. Don’t forget to try this mini a couple of times, spending quality breathing time at each pose, and, on each leg, before flying like bats to a crooked tree in a graveyard.
Bat is me being a bit creative for Halloween and adding a little proprioception work, starting in mountain, with arms crossed, or wings, over the chest, breathe in, and out slowly, like a resting bat (only right side up). On an in breath, after a nice still bat break, raise the arms up in the air and to the sides, like bat wings, breathe out and flap them back down, take a jogging and moving break, for younger kids, these types of moving breaks are so importance for success in the sequence. The bats can stop rest, and, fly, a few times before going to a crooked tree in a graveyard, for some balancing. For tree, start off in mountain, ask the kids to make roots out of their feet and toes, breathe, and, raise one foot to the calf or inner thigh. Raise the branches, be creative with those branches! Have fun here for a few minutes, before, finishing up the sequence as balls and chains, candlesticks and corpses!
For Ball and Chain pose, another creative one, this is basically a one knee hug, so get the class to lie down on the mat, bringing one knee to the chest and leaving the other leg flat and long. Curl the head and neck and make a ball out of the upper body, roll around a bit like a ball, leaving the leg out and extended as the chain. Add a Halloween storyline, go around and loosen kids chains a bit, by gently pulling on the foot. Breathe slowly and deeply, in and out, several times, keeping the lower back flat on the mat, before switching, and, making a chain out of the other leg, and, then asking the class to move on to candlestick pose. Because in the graveyard the keeper needs a candlestick to get around at night (so he/she doesn’t trip over the balls, chains, and, corpses!).
For candlestick, make sure to have enough space, time and attention for the kids to explain, supervise and facilitate safely. From a lying flat position as balls and chains, ask kids to breathe, and, use their stomach muscles to slowly raise both legs in the air, while walking the hands up the back. The lower arms on the mat, hands holding the back and side ribs, grounding with shoulders on a blanket (perhaps), head resting on the mat, gazing up at toes. Candlestick is a great inversion to leave students calm, and, clear. After this great and gentle inversion, we conclude our Halloween sequence with, the final pose in the graveyard, Corpse pose, of course! Let’s do our ending meditation horizontally in corpse here, perhaps giving thanks to who ever created a great holiday like Halloween.