Today’s post features Radiant Child Yoga teacher, Lorie Saltzman, who sent me her reflections of using what she learned in RCY throughout the past school year. Lots of good tips, inspiration, and insight here! Take it away, Lorie…
Hi! I have been teaching kid yoga classes in the Pre-K and K classrooms in area schools to children ages 3-6, in groups of 12-17 students. I have been using many tools and strategies that I learned from RCY resources. My classes always follow the same format as follows:
1-Tune In … kids repeat after me or we say together, “I say hello to my breath (take deep breath), Hello to the light all around me (like the battery-candle), and Hello to the love inside of me.” (tight self-hug)
2-Breathing… use different mediums including stuffed animals for prone belly breathing, feathers, cotton/puff balls and straws (i.e. prone propped blowing across mat and to partner), pin wheels, party blowers, real fern plants etc. – Encouraging slow deep, rhythmic breathing
3-Warm-up- Movement with Song…favorite songs are from Happy and Cozy: Getting Up for Yoga, I Love my Yoga, and the most requested song–Yogini Went to Sea. With the Yogini song, try this: 3 verses to this song- first verse use left hand, second verse use right hand, third verse use both hands together, with squats at every “bottom”-it’s a blast and we all love it! …
I always incorporate crossing midline (crossing with twist to opposing knee counting x 15-20, windmill, elephant X, draw lazy 8, washing machine with loud baritone-like HA’s!) and heavy work and vestibular movements (jump and twist, frog jump, bear walk, donkey kicks) for deep proprioceptive input to organize, focus and prepare body for poses.
4- Yoga Postures through a Story Line…monthly theme (same story repeated for 4 weeks encourages mastery of poses and story-telling); by month end, kids can lead story while I continually grade movements for challenge and incorporate partner poses; I mindfully create each story that includes elements/postures that provide full body activation/sensory input to the most systems= visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory, vestibular, balance, proprioception, deep touch pressure, crossing (brain balancing for improved processing …and keep it Fun, fun, fun!!!!
5- Meditation/Resting…This varies also depending on theme from quiet supine while I read a passage (promoting visualization/imagery), to sitting with SA-TA-NA-MA or I AM BRAVE/BOLD with associated gestures
6- Savasana…quiet resting on mat to The Longtime Sun song, administer deep pressure touch for kids as needed or upon request (lots of requests for spinal flush)
Reflections at the end of this school year:
Observations of the children during yogic practice…
Grew in Self-Confidence, more openness to try new things
Improved body awareness and motor planning abilities
Improved self-control and impulsivity
Increased sit time for meditation, calmness during savasana
Improved fluidity and rhythmic breathing
Improved task attention/focus
Improved endurance and core strength and balance
Last week, they graduated as “Little Yogini’s” who can go home and teach yoga to their parents, siblings, friends and toys
I made a simple picture book for each child to take home called, The Little Yogini Book of Yoga Poses. (A home program if you will, containing their favorites that they spent the last month really mastering as they took turns teaching to the rest of the class on my mat)- They were so proud to be called “teachers” too!
Hope this gives you some new good ideas!