Increasingly, schools are buying up yoga mats the way they once stocked up on dodgeballs. Kids’ yoga is a hot commodity — instructional books and videos aimed at little ones line store shelves. Though statistics aren’t yet available, many believe that many schools nationwide have already incorporated yoga into their curriculum, benefiting hundreds of students. And it’s not just for “big kids” — many preschool programs offer classes for the youngest yogis. Yoga teaches children relaxation while improving coordination and self-esteem. Yoga crafts incorporate elements of the practice into a creative activity. The craft projects enhance a child’s enjoyment of yoga practice, whether she does it regularly or only occasionally. The yoga craft projects are best for children ages 5 and older who are able to handle the craft materials.
Yoga teaches kids ‘alert tranquility.’ The children are relaxed, but not dull, because they concentrate.
A personalized yoga mat gives the child a customized space that makes yoga more meaningful. Keep the decorations near the edge of the mat so they don’t interfere with the child’s usable space. Acrylic paint is an option that will stick to most yoga mat surfaces. Glitter glue is another option for adding sparkly designs to the mat’s edge. Hot glue objects like sequins or rhinestones around the mat. A decorated length of ribbon gives the child a customized tie to keep her mat rolled up when not in use.
Another item to decorate is a yoga bag. Bags that fit a yoga mat are one option for decoration. Another idea is to decorate a canvas bag that the child can use to store and carry all her yoga supplies, like clothing, her mat and water or snacks. Use fabric paint, glitter, sequins and similar craft materials to decorate the outside of the bag. Shapes cut from fabric also work and can be sewn or glued onto the bag using fabric glue.
A silhouette of the child doing a yoga pose is another option as a craft project. Hang a piece of paper large enough to trace the child’s entire body. Place a source of light in front of her so her shadow reflects onto the wall. Trace her body as she stands in a yoga pose. Another option is to place the paper on the floor and trace around her body. Let the child decorate the outline of her body to include clothing, facial features and other details.
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Here are a few yoga poses for kids!!
In yoga, we move as we breathe. For example, we stretch on the inhale and relax on the exhale. The Sunrise/Sunset pose is a good all-over warm-up for any activity. 1. Stand up tall. Take three to five deep breaths. 2. On the next inhale, lift your arms above your head. Press your legs and feet down toward the ground and stretch your spine and waist toward the sky. 3. As you exhale, bend the upper half of your body at your waist down toward your legs, as if you were diving into a pool. Bend your knees a little at first, to avoid straining your back. Bend as far as you comfortably can. As you inhale again, open your arms wide and stand up slowly, stretching your arms to the sky. 4. Repeat this six to 10 times. As you inhale and stretch, think of the glowing, rising sun. As you exhale and fold, think of the setting sun. These two work together to mark the passing of the day.
1. Stand up straight and tall. Breathe in and out and feel your legs reaching toward the ground and your head reaching toward the sky. Look at one spot in front of you to keep your eyes steady. 2. Now lift your right leg by bending your knee. Breathe evenly, looking at one spot in front of you. Place your right leg on your left leg, above the knee (or below the knee if that’s more comfortable). Imagine roots growing from your left foot into the ground. Let your left leg be strong like the trunk of the tree. Now stretch your arms up like branches. Don’t worry if you start to fall; just smile and start again from the beginning. 3. Breathe in and out while in the Tree pose. When you are ready to come down, lower your arms, place your right leg on the ground, and stand in the Mountain pose. Then try the Tree pose on the other side.
1. Stand up straight and tall. Take a big breath in. Reach your arms out to the sides at shoulder height as you breathe out. 2. Take another breath in and tip forward as you point one foot behind you. Exhale slowly. As you inhale again, lift your chest and lean forward while you lift the pointed foot in the air behind you. Try to keep your chest and back in line with your lifted foot. 3. Try to keep your eyes on one spot. Stretch your arms to the sides and try to balance while you breathe in and out. Now try Airplane pose on the other side.
1. Stand with your legs wide apart. Bend forward at the waist, bending your knees a little bit. Let your arms hang down in front of you and swing your upper body back and forth like a gorilla. You can also just hang forward over your legs without swinging.
Ideas: Try walking side to side and back and forth with heavy feet like a big gorilla. Take a big breath in and stand up. As you lean back, beat your fists on your chest and make a big gorilla noise! Draw a picture of a family of gorillas in the jungle.
1. Sit on the floor and place the soles of your feet together. Hold on to your feet or ankles, and let your knees drop toward the floor. Sit up with a tall spine. 2. Imagine that you are a butterfly with beautiful wings stretching out from your spine and with long antennae reaching out from your head.
Ideas: Make a butterfly painting. Fold a piece of paper in half and then draw the same design on both sides, for the wings. Color or paint the designs and cut out the butterfly. Put a string on it and hang it from the ceiling, and watch the butterfly move in the breeze.