By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
After centering, the warm-up is an important component for the beginning of any Yoga class. Students need that transition time to go from an active and noisy environment to a more soothing, quiet place. It is also important to warm up the body before stretching the muscles and joints to avoid injuries. Children, especially, need time to transition into the Yoga environment. Warm-ups for children should be engaging and fun. Accompany Yoga warm-up poses, with songs or other narration, to keep kids’ interest.
Knee to Chest Pose – Apanasana
This pose provides a gentle stretch for the legs and back. Students should begin by lying on their backs. Then, ask them to hug one leg into the chest. You might ask them to sing a little song to any tune, such as “I’m hugging my leg, I’m hugging my leg. I really, really love my leg, and so I hug it tight.” Release that leg, and then repeat with the other. Then, hug both knees to the chest at the same time. Release this hug after a few moments, and ask kids to hold onto their knees. Then draw circles with the knees, in both directions, to loosen the hips and massage the sacrum.
Happy Baby Pose – Ananda Balasana
Transition from “Knee to Chest” to “Happy Baby” by asking children to release their hands from the knees and grab the soles of their feet. The knees will widen and drop to the side. The children can then roll from side-to-side, as babies often do. This pose will, undoubtedly, unleash some giggles. Ask children to imagine that they are younger children again – allowing them to gurgle and coo.
Transition to a sitting position, with legs crossed. Children should place their hands on their shoulders, with fingers pointing down in front, and the thumbs resting on the back of the shoulders. Begin to turn slowly from side-to-side. Incorporate the breath, by inhaling to the right, and exhaling to the left. Add sounds, by having the children say, “Swish, swash,” as they move from side-to-side.
The Worry Tree
Help children leave their troubles behind at the beginning of Yoga class by hanging them on the “Worry Tree.” Ask children to sit or lie in a comfortable position. Lead them in a visualization exercise, imagining a tree where they can hang up all their worries for a time. Ask them to drop their worries one-by-one onto the tree. This will help to clear their minds before Yoga class begins.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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