I am excited to introduce you to our guest writer, Shelley Arthur, of Radiant Child Yoga and co-author of Holiday Yoga: Celebrating History and Holidays throughout the Year. Today Shelley shares with us her New Year Yoga lesson plan. Yoga for kids is a fun and active way to introduce children to making New Year’s resolutions to start the year.
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New Year Yoga Lesson Plan
Another new year is upon us. The tradition of making a positive New Year’s resolutions has been around since ancient times. Talk to the children about what a New Year’s resolution is and give examples. My personal resolution is to be “my very best human being in 2015”. This is a good time to talk to your children about self-love and the power of positive thinking.
Dr. Wayne Dyer has written many adult books on the secrets of successful lives. He has now interpreted his ideas into books for children. This lesson plan is based on Dr. Dyer’s children’s book Incredible You! – 10 ways to let your greatness shine through. It is highly recommended (but optional) to read this book while doing the lesson plan.
New Year yoga postures
You can help children live happier lives by teaching them good resolutions, along with corresponding yoga poses to help integrate these ideas and feelings into their mind and body.
Each yoga pose is performed separately as opposed to flowing from one pose to another. Encourage children to inhale and exhale through the nose and be sure to follow each exercise with a deep breath or two. This signals a definite ending for every pose and allows the yoga to integrate with the body. You can use the recommended resolutions or use your own.
Begin by saying the resolution, talk to the children about it and help them come up with ideas to incorporate this resolution into their own lives. If you have a child-friendly picture depicting the resolution you can show it. If you have Dr. Dyer’s book Incredible You the pictures for each resolution are readily available. Perform the suggested yoga pose after the children understand the resolution.
If you want to use another yoga pose, choose one that encourages the feeling of the resolution (ex. Warrior poses encourage bravery, heart opening poses encourages opening your heart to peace, love and understanding.) Descriptions of the yoga poses are from the book Fly Like a Butterfly by Shakta Kaur Khalsa. Most of the poses are also available on the Kids Yoga Poses page.
New Year Yoga Sequence for Kids
You can do your favorite breathing exercise (ex. balloon breath) or refer to the book Fly Like a Butterfly by Shakta Kaur Khalsa.
Bring the soles of your feet together and hold onto your feet with both hands. Your feet are as close to your body as is comfortable. Begin flapping your legs. These are your butterfly wings.
Lie on your stomach. Put your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Stretch your upper body up high, with your arms straight and your stomach resting on the ground.
Stretch your head as far back as you can and HISS! You are a very fierce cobra snake! Keep stretching and hissing on the exhale for a minute.
Lie down on your back. Bend your legs so that your feet are on the ground close to your bottom. Grab onto your ankles and push your body up by pressing your feet down.
Lie on your back with your arms and legs stretched out. Breathe and rest
Sit down on your heels. Put your hands on the floor in front of you. Lean forward on your hands, and squeeze your shoulders up toward your ears. Keep your eyes open, looking straight ahead. Open your mouth and stick out your tongue as far as you can. Begin a soft purring sound in your throat as you breathe in and out through your mouth. Remember to keep squeezing the shoulders up. You should feel very strong.
Cobra Partner Pose
Refer to Cobra pose above and face your partner. Instead of stretching your head back and hissing, look into your partner’s eyes.
“I AM” Swing
Stand up, stretching your arms to the side, inhale and at the same time twist your body to the left, keeping your left am straight. Touch your right hand to your heart and say “I AM” as you swing. Then inhale and swing to the right side, touching your heart with your left hand, and again say “I AM”. Feel that you are you. Repeat several times to each side.
Warrior I Pose
Stand strong and tall. Step one foot back, slightly angling it outwards. Bend your front knee and bring your arms straight up to the sky (from Kids Yoga Poses.)
Warrior II Pose
From standing position, step one foot back, placing the foot so that it is facing slightly outwards. Take your arms up parallel to the ground, bend your front knee and look backwards (from Kids Yoga Poses.)
Stand tall with legs hip width apart, feet facing forward and straighten your arms alongside your body (from Kids Yoga Poses.)
PIN IT FOR LATER
Shelley Arthur practicing Easy Pose, Cobra Pose, and Side Plank with her students.
Adapting the New Year yoga lesson plan for younger children
Where possible, bring each resolution down to one word that a young child can understand. The Sharing Song by Raffi is a great song for Resolution #1.
Share the Good. The child can do butterfly pose or simply dance around while the music is playing. There are also board books available to convey the meaning of the resolution to young children, specifically Sharing Time by Elizabeth Verdick. My favorite board books are available from Free Spirit Publishing. Another song that children love to dance to is Happy by Pharrell Williams.
Other books about good resolutions
These books are perfect for New Year’s or anytime you would like to speak to your children about making good resolutions:
I Think I Am, I Think I Am, by Louise L. Hay
The Angry Octopus by Lori Lite
The Affirmation Weaver by Lori Lite
Holiday Yoga Lesson Plans
Purchase Shelley Arthur’s individual holiday-themed kids yoga lesson plans or the whole collection of holiday lesson plans here. Some of the holiday lesson plans in her eBook are Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year,Mother’s Day, Father’s Day,Thanksgiving Day, President’s Day, Martin Luther King Day,Labor Day, and Halloween.
Holiday Yoga eBook by Shelley Arthur and Shakta Khalsa
About our Guest Writer
In an attempt to take better care of herself, Shelley Arthur began practicing yoga about 12 years ago. The first time she entered a yoga studio in Northern Virginia, it became very clear to her that this was where she needed to be. With regular practice, she began to experience the benefits of increased overall health, a profound sense of mental and emotional balance, a greater sense of well-being and greater patience. Always having a love for children, Shelley realized how these benefits, along with an increased confidence level, would benefit children at a young age.
In 2007, Shelley began teaching and writing imaginative yoga lesson plans for children. She completed the Radiant Child Yoga Program Levels 1, 2 and 3. In 2011, she completed The Radiant Child Yoga 200 Hour Certification Training. Who could be better to train with than Shakta Khalsa of Radiant Child Yoga? Shakta has been teaching yoga to children since the 1970’s. She teaches her students techniques to open their own hearts so they can tune in better to the needs of children. With this in mind, in 2013 Shelley was honored to collaborate with Shakta Khalsa on the ebook, Children’s Holiday Yoga Lesson Plans.
Shelley continues to teach yoga to children at studios, preschools and elementary schools in the Washington, DC Metro Area where she lives with the love of her life, her husband Jack.