I’ve bragged about my kids’ elementary school before, noting the creativity of the PE program and its focus on finding ways for every child to develop an interest in a life-long sport. New this year is a parent-led Yoga Club, which meets each Tuesday from 7-7.30am. The group is open to students, parents, and teachers….no yoga experience required!
I volunteered to teach one meeting per month, and I brought my fourth grader along to the first class. He’s my super physical kid, The Monkey, the one who has never done anything with his body that he hasn’t enjoyed. I wasn’t so sure yoga would be his thing, though.
My class plan included asana that mimic animals. I wanted kids to think about how the spines (or lack thereof!) of animals align with their movement patterns. We were able to move through the invertebrates—fish and cobra—to the small animals—rabbit and frog—to bigger creatures like camel and horse. We finished with the pranayama of the lion.
As it turns out, I was wrong about The Monkey. He didn’t say much after the class while I walked him to his classroom, but after school he told me that the yoga helped him wake up and feel ready for the day. I explained to him that breathing deeply and thinking about how he moved his body with intention was a great way to fire up the brain/body connection.
Fast forward to the next week, when I wasn’t going to be the Yoga Club leader: Monday night at dinner, The Monkey says, “Don’t forget, Mom. Yoga Club is in the morning.”
So, there we were again—this time with The Stowaway in tow. She wants to do anything her big brother does, and she’s the one I often find having stolen my aqua yoga class plans trying to mimic the postures.
The mom who lead this class had a deck of yoga cards and let each kid pick a card to determine the flow of the class. The kids got really excited about choosing each new posture. We finished the class with a game of “yoga freeze”—a variation of freeze tag in which the tagged person had to hold one of the yoga poses we’d done earlier in the class until they were tagged again by a free player. As you might imagine, this was a big hit with the kids.
If you’re interested in starting a Yoga Club at your local elementary school, I highly recommend it. It’s a great way for kids to be introduced to yoga in a familiar setting; furthermore, the inclusivity of yoga allows kids to practice alongside their parents and teachers. Kids love anything that makes them feel part of a group, and Yoga Club does that without any of the pressure or expectation of competition.