Yep. I did yoga with PRESCHOOLERS.
[Small background: I taught yoga in college for a semester and have taken yoga on and off again since high school. I do not have a certification, but I talked with my supervisor about whether or not this program would be covered under liability. It was decided that we ask patrons to follow movements in all programs (lifts, bounces, games, etc.) and would therefore be covered under the library’s general insurance policy. Please check with your administration before attempting this program.]
I broke up the day into Intro, Animal Poses, Shape Poses, and Cool-Down.
For your understanding of what I’m talking about, I’ve linked each pose to a picture from Namaste Kid. They are a wonderful resource for teaching yoga to children. I watched both “Once Upon a Mat” and “Yoga Motion” to help prepare for specifically teaching to children. [“Yoga Motion” is available to rent on Amazon Prime; another library in my system has “Once Upon a Mat” which I ILLed.]
I began class by telling the kids that we were going to do some yoga, which is a form of movement. I asked parents and caregivers to participate as best they could. I also said that the kids could opt out of any pose that they didn’t want to do. If they wanted to take a rest, they could sit cross-legged while the rest of us were in pose. Then, we practiced taking some deep breaths all the way from our bellies. I had the kids touch their stomachs to feel if their stomach moved. If their stomach was moving, they were breathing deep enough.
Book: From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
I started with “From Head to Toe” because it’s a great book about movement and getting kids to think about their bodies standing in for animals. I thought this would be a great way to kick off yoga poses and would also work with the plethora of animal poses available to teach!
Book: Round Is a Mooncake
I wanted, again, to introduce a concept to the kids that we would then mirror with our bodies. This is one of my favorite shape books ever. While there aren’t as many shape poses, I think the kids really responded to this section because the shapes were easier to see in their friends than the animals.
Since they did such an amazing job being still and calm, I put on some music and let them end with a dance party. Some kids left right away, others stayed for about fifteen minutes to dance with me!
How It Went
Preschoolers + YOGA. (Yes, it really happened!) Some tips that worked for my kiddos was counting out loud five breaths while we were in poses. I kept my voice low and calm to keep up the relaxation going on. Our meeting room has a dimmer installed on some of the lights, so I did use low-level lighting which also helped. Since the meeting room is carpeted, I did not ask parents/caregivers to bring towels or mats. Before we started, I had each child make sure they were three carpet squares away from their friends so we didn’t have any crash landings! I had so many compliments from caregivers and parents. And one Twitter friend said I should apply for sainthood, haha!