Using themes in kids' yoga classes can not only make class more engaging and fun, but it is also a great way to explore places, ideas, concepts and character traits with children in a safe, mindful and non-competitive environment.
This year the Chinese New Year begins on Monday, February 8th and lasts through January 2017.
2016 is the year of the monkey and there are so many fun poses, stories, games and activities we can do to celebrate! I listed some of my favorite ways to share the Chinese New Year in my yoga classes below. What are some of the ways you incorporate other traditions and celebrations in your classes? Let me know!
I tuck Chinese New Year coloring sheets under the top of each students yoga mat before the enter the yoga room. While we are waiting for all the students to arrive I instruct the students to find the year they were born and circle the animal that matches the year on the front of the coloring sheet. For younger students I make a guess at what year they were born based on their grade/age. On the backside of the coloring sheet is a great picture of a monkey they can color if they finish early.
Once everyone has had some time to find their animal we go around the circle one by one and say the name of our animal. I lead the group in the animal pose and sound! This usually leads to a lot of giggles and laughing.
Download my coloring sheet from 2015 - year of the sheep below!
Yoga Sequence, Partner Poses & Games:
Mountain pose > forward fold > Monkey Pose (halfway-lift) make monkey noises! > forward fold > dragon (step left foot back AKA lizard or runner's lunge) > dragon breath (breath of fire) > plank > snake (hiss) > downward facing dog > frog > forward fold > Monkey Pose > forward fold > mountain > repeat (step back with right foot on second round)
Partner Monkey - have students pair up and stand back to back with their partner. Instruct the student to take a wide-stance, extend their arms to a "T" shape, inhale, exhale forward fold. Have the students wave "hi!" to their monkey friend, bend their, knees and reach between their legs to grasp their partners hands (see pic below). Make monkey noises, hop around, have fun!