I had a visit from a Girl Scout troop this week and was requested to provide a short yoga/book program for the girls. I was well-prepared and created an entire lesson plan the week before, but about an hour before the girls came, I switched everything up and I’m so glad I did!
Here’s what we did:
First, I talked with the girls about yoga and asked them to share what they already knew. This helps me better understand the group and it gives the girls a chance to talk with me instead of just having me lecture them.
What Is Yoga?
- Originated in Ancient India
- Longest surviving practices of holistic health care
- Came to America in the late 1800s
- Practiced worldwide by all cultures and religions
- Translated from Sanskrit means “to unite”
- Connecting the whole self – body, mind and spirit
Benefits of Yoga
- Healthy body – stretching, improves digestion, increase circulation, motor development, relaxes the body
- Healthy Mind – reduces stress, expands imagination, calms and clears the mind, increases concentration, and relives tension
Caution – If it hurts, stop doing it!
After our conversation, we started working on breathing. I stressed that yoga is useful for when you feel stressed or have too many thoughts in your brain or if you body wants to keep moving , but you have to be still or if you’re really angry – you can use yoga to calm yourself down.
We started with a few breathing exercises from Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children by Lisa Flynn.
- Conductor Breath
- Bumblebee Bee Breath
- Lion’s Breath
Then I read, You Are a Lion and Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo and we practiced each pose as we came to it in the book, guessing what animal it would be.
After our story we did a few sun salutations – the girls were really receptive to breathing at the right times and really trying their best, especially when we got to the plank pose and had to engage our core muscles.
Then we settled down and I read, I Am Yoga by Susan Verde – a beautiful story with a female protagonist as she learns how to use yoga to improve her imagination and understand where she fits in.
Then we used Emily Arrow’s song based on I Am Yoga and went back through the story and did all the poses with the pictures. The girls loved the balancing poses the best and did such a great job!
Finally, we did a few calming poses and a gratitude meditation from the same book, Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children by Lisa Flynn.
The girls did a great job and I think they had a lot of fun and many of the parents were very thankful as well and thought that yoga is a missed opportunity in the school system. I think teaching kids to be able to identify their feelings and mediate those feelings are two concepts that are needed more than ever as kids are feeling a lot of pressure from their parents, peers and themselves. Maybe meditation and yoga could help!