It's spring! And that means new beginnings for flowers, trees, and you. What better way to celebrate the change of season than by doing some springtime yoga poses?
This is a seated balancing pose we can do alone or with friends, linking hands to form a flower garland! Begin seated with a tall happy back, feet crossed at the ankles. Inhale and stretch your arms up high, then exhale and weave them under your legs. Inhale, tip back to balance on your seat, touch your feet together at the heels, and allow your toes to blossom open. Try chin mudra with your hands, or hold hands with a friend. Keep your face and heart open to the sun in your flower. Use your belly muscles to stay up! Sometimes we tip back on purpose to see if we can rock back up to sit. Falling by mistake is ok, too!
This is a forward fold with butterfly style. Begin seated with a tall back and shoulders relaxing away from the ears. Bring the soles of your feet to touch in front of you so your legs make a diamond shape. Take a big breath in and reach for the sky, then exhale, bringing your hands to your feet. Sometimes we open the soles of our feet like a book (which book are you reading?) We can sit up tall with our butterflies and flap our wings (knees) or forward-fold into sleeping butterfly, leading with the heart.
Spring is the time when trees turn green, blossom and bloom again. You might want to use this opportunity to teach yogis about different kinds of trees and then ask them to embody one in particular during practice. We begin by rooting into one foot, really imaging roots under our toes, reaching into the earth to make us strong and stable. Then, we bring the other foot to rest above or below the knee. (Important: not on the knee! We want to practice kindness to our knees). I like to bring my hands in front of my heart and then reach my arms upward toward the sky and sun. This is a great time to teach the word drishti, or focus point. Ask kids to find a drishti to softly look at to help them with balance. And don't forget the other side.
In kid yoga land, side-plank is often called rainbow pose. We start in plank, or kid-lizard pose, with hands under shoulders and toes curled under, like we're about to do a push up. I like to see how straight and strong kids can be in their planks and encourage some big breaths here. Rainbow practice is also a great time to introduce the chakras since they correspond with the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet.
You can weave all of these poses together into a springtime yoga class for kids, or practice one or two, in yoga class or at home. Bring in flowers, pictures of poses and their namesakes, ask kids what other poses feel like spring to them (how about Bunny Breath?) Celebrate the sun, energy and big inhale of spring!