It's Thanksgiving! And as we all know, gratitude is a major practice in yoga. Here's how you can incorporate gratitude into a fun, Thanksgiving-themed kids yoga practice.
"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." -- Meister Eckhart
It’s great to tailor your kids yoga classes this week to include some gratitude practice. Remembering to be thankful is a practice, too!
Gratitude Check In: After your 'Om, Om Song' or regular, ritual way of beginning a child yoga practice, take time for a gratitude check in. I like to pass a ball around the yoga class...when you receive it, share one thing you are thankful for, right now, in your life. Perhaps introduce the concept of dedicating your practice (the fruits of your efforts) to someone else. Who or what would you like to dedicate your practice to? Who or what are you thankful for?
Turkey Pose: There are so many animal poses in yoga, but no Turkey! It’s fun to ask kids to invent a Turkey pose, alone or in groups. The only criteria I set is the pose must include balance, flexibility or strength, and focus. Kids then get to take on the role of teacher and share their Turkey with the whole class. Because I’m a vegetarian, I might also invent Tofurkey pose. :)
Gratitidue Flags: I like to bring in Prayer Flags and show them to the class. In a public school environment, I may call them Intention or Wish Flags. We celebrate the colors and talk about the tradition of displaying these flags. Then we break normal yoga class routines to create Gratitude Flags together.
- Give each child a piece of paper (colored construction is best) with three crayons (you get what you get and you don’t get upset!) If you want to exchange crayons with another friend at some point to get more colors, practice kindly asking...remember the yoga practice of Asteya, nonstealing!
- Fold the papers in half and have kids draw or write what they are thankful for on the paper.
- After all of individual flags have been created, string them by lying them over wire or yarn, using the folded edge. By stringing our gratitude flags in a yoga classroom, studio or home, we celebrate the power of all of our individual blessings, tied together.
Highlighting the acknowledgement of abundance for kids is a powerful lesson. No matter how difficult our lives may be, it is a worthy project to take the time to acknowledge what we are thankful for. Somehow, that makes these blessings grow.