Inside: forest yoga.
My happy place is in the forest!
There’s nothing like a stroll through the forest with the sun streaming through the trees, the sounds of the birds and little creatures, and the smell of the earth and flowers. There’s something magical about being surrounded by the energy of the forest. It seems to melt away the stress and worries.
In this busy tech-oriented world, we can still bring the benefits of nature to us by going on a pretend journey to the forest through yoga—such a great way to combine learning and play! It’s a fantastic way to bring the outdoors inside if you can’t actually go on a forest walk nearby.
Exploring forest yoga can develop creativity, increase emotional regulation, and teach children healthy ways to move their bodies.
You can practice these five yoga poses below—each inspired by forest animals—and then add your own breathing techniques (ex. Flower Breath) or mindfulness activities (ex. What do you hear?). Transform your learning space into a mini-forest with forest animal stuffies or animal figurines, forest photos, forest videos, or forest-themed music.
You could even serve a nut-free trail mix to get in the mood. Your students could even dress up like hikers for their forest walk yoga adventure!
5 FOREST ANIMAL YOGA POSES
Below, you’ll find five yoga poses inspired by animals you might see on a forest walk. Try these postures and then make up your own. Focus on having fun and learning through movement—don’t worry about perfectly aligned poses. So grab your “hikers” and a mat! It’s time for some forest walk yoga fun!
1.Pretend to be a moose: Warrior 1 Pose
How to practice Warrior 1 Pose: Step one foot back and bend your front knee. Reach both arms up overhead like a moose’s antlers. Pretend to be a moose in the forest. Switch sides and repeat the steps.
2. Pretend to be a squirrel: Squat Pose
How to practice Squat Pose: Come down to a squat with your knees apart and your arms between your knees. Touch your hands to the ground. Pretend to be a squirrel collecting nuts.
3. Pretend to be a skunk: Three-Legged Dog Pose
How to practice Three-Legged Dog Pose: From an all-fours position, lift your knees, straighten your legs, and send your buttocks up into an upside-down V shape. Gently lift one leg up at a time. Pretend to be a skunk and that your leg is your tail.
4. Pretend to be a cardinal: Pigeon Pose
How to practice Pigeon Pose: From an all-fours position, bring your right knee to rest behind your right hand, angling your right foot slightly inward. Gently take your buttocks down to the ground with your left leg extended straight out behind you. You might try placing a block under your right thigh. Keep your palms flat on the ground on either side of your right knee and look forward, keeping a straight spine. Pretend to be a cardinal on a branch. Repeat on the other side.
5. Pretend to be a woodpecker: Hero Pose
How to practice Hero Pose: Come to rest upright on your heels with your palms resting on your knees. Pretend to be a woodpecker pecking the trunk of a tree.