Free Kids Yoga @ Local Libraries!

Tuesdays 4:00-4:45 pm 

Kids Yoga & Stories
@ San Carlos Library
7265 Jackson Dr., SD, CA 92119

Thursday 9/12 and 9/26 10:30-10:45 am 

Yoga Storytime
@ Lemon Grove Library
3001 School Ln, LG, CA 91945

Mondays 9:45-10:15 am (Starting next year 1/6/2020)

Toddler Yoga Storytime
@ Mission Hills-Hillcrest Library
215 W Washington St.,SD, CA 92103

Bring a mat or cushion for comfortable seating. All ages welcome; parent/caregiver participation encouraged. We weave yoga-inspired movements with age appropriate music, toys, and stories to encourage body awareness, creativity, and social/emotional development. Most importantly we have fun!

Q: How do you make kids do yoga?

A: You don't.

If  I've learned anything from working with kids in this capacity, it's that you don't (shouldn't and if we get really honest about it, can't) make children do anything if want them to enjoy it, embrace it, learn it voluntarily AND create a healthy relationship with them. Not only does forcing or requiring obedience go against the yogic principle of ahimsa (non-harming), but it creates mistrust between children and the teacher. Yes, the teacher must lead (by example, not fear of reprisal), but by releasing the expectation (from them, as well as from parents/caregivers) that the child has to do exactly as I
do, the children (teens, etc.) can experience the "yoga-oriented play" and garner the same benefits as from any traditional hatha flow class. The unconventional looking classes actually follow the same energetic arcs as traditional yoga classes, and incorporate the same lessons but in an age-appropriate package.


I use music to move the classes along at a child-oriented pace so that I don't sound, to them, like a voice that just drones on and on and on about something. 90 second to 3 minutes bites of aural flavor set a mood (fast, slow, syncopated, jaunty, groovy, etc.) and a theme to which I can them weave physical moves to match what we need at that time. It's a joy when the kids start to ask for certain songs by name, and especially when they hear one of the "resting time" songs and just lie down on the mat and ask for a "snuggle animal."

Books * Stories
Yoga, importantly, doesn't have to be about poses and postures, or even being quiet. We can start to help children develop mindfulness by reading books to them that capture their attention. The books don't have to be about yoga poses either, but can be about principles we all know come into play in our every day lives; like, taking care of our bodies, caring for our planet, being kind, learning to read, eating healthy, or even cultural parables.

Some of my favorites have been the Pete the Cat (Eric Litwin and James Dean) and Pigeon/Elephant and Piggy (Mo Willems) series. Eric Carle's illustrated books are always winners and can be used for quiet time resting) or even made more active. I'll often take the expert opinion by picking up one of the librarian's monthly recommendations already out on a shelf!

I like to foster creativity by asking them questions about the story, to come up with yoga/movements that match what is happening or even have them read a page out loud. Asking them to sit perfectly still is an exercise in futility. But when I tell them they can participate (but offer rules for polite behavior, guidelines for respect and participation, and allow for appropriate silliness and wiggliness) it makes the experience more memorable and far more engaging.

With kids older than five I like to use story telling cards that show pictures to inspire the students to tell their own story, or and show/teach a "new yoga pose" about the picture. 

Here's a short list of other activities and crafts I've used in classes for visual, auditory, fine motor sensory stimulation, as well as just plain fun!  I've used most of them at either birthday parties (especially the messier more supply intensive ones), but also in libraries and in preschool classes. Some of my best games came from things my own son had outgrown!

  • Maracas (clean plastic bottles with lids and plastic eggs, beans/rice/plastic beads, plastic spoons, Duck tape to cover and seal, Washi tape and stickers to decorate)
  • Slime (borax, water, glue, food coloring, adding plastic spiders, eyeballs, etc. for halloween slime or glitter for space slime)
  • Lotion (unscented lotion, essential oils/extracts, plastic bottles and stickers to decorate)
  • Yoga eye pillows (fabric markers on precut cloth, ready made beanbags for inside)
  • Sticker posters/cards/door knockers (Foam bases and stickers)
  • Shaving foam prints (shaving cream, food coloring, heavy duty paper for "printing")
  • Yoga mat decorating (yoga mats, paint markers, foam stickers)
  • Grounding rocks (outdoor rocks, acrylic paint)
  • Healthy eating surprises (fruits and veggies, plastic knives for cutting different ways)
  • Yoga spiders/insects (pipe cleaners, pompons, stick-on eyeballs, burlap for "mats")
  • Yoga Twister (using a parachute or other large colorblocked surface)
  • Yoga Limbo (no "outs", can go under any way, use multiple sticks)
  • Crazy Yoga Walking Path (add a mat at a time to make a crazy path, every does different yoga "walks" down it)
  • Storytelling (each person adds a new part to a story)
  • Who's the Teacher? (make up a new pose and describe/teach it to the class)
  • Wedgits (use patience and cooperation to build towers out of square and pyramid "rings")
  • Suspend (balance differently bent wires on one center tower)
  • Orbeez "egg toss" (use hydrophilic beads instead of eggs for a more ecological and cleaner version of the game. Beads dissolve with more water or can be swept up and thrown away. Also, fun to just experience the "squish")

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