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Monday, February 29, 2016

Give a Kid a Block...

Each time I teach yoga to the preschooler's it's a challenge to make sure I incorporate enough "old stuff" to reinforce memory, create consistency, and set the framework for the arc of class but also bring in enough "new stuff" to make the classes interesting, exciting, challenging, and unique.

The very young children (under 3) are quite content over the course of their school year to practice the yoga moves with my well-used songs by Karen K and the Jitterbugs, Laurie Berkner, Feist, and Elizabeth Mitchell to name a few. They are called to action by the music, the melodies, my (off key) singing - familiarity bring comfort and with comfort comes more exploration with how their bodies move in the space in which we do yoga.

But the children that are over 3, and up to 5, while they love the tried and true music and games, are open to using their yoga skills in new ways. Skills like balance, the ability to go from silly to calm, being creative, cooperating, and even teaching (each other).

Some days, offering them new tools like blocks or balls may prove to be too much so we simply continue to use our bodies (without any potential projectiles).

But some days, when the stars align and the mood is right, I can offer them one or two foam blocks each, and a yoga mat, and ask them "How can you do yoga with these?"

The results? See for yourself:

First we had a lot of just block stacking.
Then, the idea to stand on the blocks  trended.
Even on one foot.
Adding little arm and leg flair too.
Well, not just standing, kneeling too!
Then kneeling and leaning... 
And FLOATING. 
Floating on the belly was a big hit.
That idea proved quite popular
Group belly balancing

Superhero or Manta ray - awesome
And finally, on the back. 
Then truly restorative
Of course I had to set limits so that the blocks were used safely - no standing on blocks that were on end, no kicking/throwing, and no stealing other people's blocks. 

Sometimes, the Hoberman Sphere is a bigger draw. With absolutely no prompting from me, they find their own safe space inside it, using it to create a safe space for their mind and body, in true yogic style.

 

I can't wait to see what they will create with me next class.

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