Friday, 31 March 2017

Yoga for kids - spring practice

Spring is a wonderful time - there are new born lambs, spring flowers such as crocuses, daffodils, tulips and primroses, the birds are pairing up and nesting, the days are getting longer and it's getting a little warmer.  You can spend more time playing outdoors.  

In our practice today we are really going to embrace all that is good about the springtime. 

Lets' take a cycle ride to see what signs of spring we can spot. 

Lie on your back and bring your shins level with the ceiling. Now pedal as if you are riding a bike.  We come to a sunny spot and stop to smell the beautiful flowers. 

Sit on your mat and taking a few deep breaths.  Imagine your are smelling the scent of a beautiful flower.

Sit back on your heels and bring your forehead to the mat, sweep your hand round to your heels.  Imagine you are a seed that has been waiting under the soil all winter.  At last the sun shines, the earth becomes warmer and the spring rains swell the seed.  Slowly the seed starts to uncurl and grow (breathe in, start to uncurl and come up). Eventually it will grow into a tree.  

Tree pose - continue to 'grow' as you slowly come up to standing.  Imagine you are growing roots from under your left foot into the ground.  Bring your right foot to rest against your left ankle, shin or thigh the 'grow your branches' by breathing in and lifting your arms high.  Find a spot to gaze at that is not moving - this will help stop you wobbling.  If you do wobble, that's okay too - trees sway in the wind.  When you are ready to come out of the pose, release your right foot to the mat and lower your arms as you breathe out. Repeat balancing on your right foot. What sort of tree will you be - maybe a pussy willow or a hazel catkin.

The birds are beginning to build their nests - blue tits, black birds, collared doves.  Look out for them taking twigs from the borders in your garden.  If you have a bird box, you may be lucky enough to have blue tits nesting in it.  We are going to be birds now in 
Warrior 3 pose - stand facing the short edge of your mat.  Breathe in and stretch your arms up, breath out and bring your arms down as your left leg lifts. Breathe in to come back to your start position. Don't forget to be a bird again, this time lifting your right leg - maybe you could take your arms out to the sides and flap your 'wings'.

Now let's build our nest.  Lie on your tummy, your forehead on the mat and your knees bent. Reach round with your hands to grab your feet .  Breathe in and press your feet up and back so that your chest lifts off the floor and you make a nest shape with your body.  Breathe out to lower down again. Soon the birds will be laying their eggs.

What other signs of spring can we see?  There are baby rabbits hopping around the fields. Shall we pretend to be baby rabbits nibbling the grass?  Come on to all fours, bend your elbows out to the sides and lower your head. When you are ready to come back up breathe out and push into your hands. 

As we walk by the brook, we spot some frogspawn and there are the parent frogs waving their arms and legs to aerate the eggs.  These are common frogs, browny green in colour (although their colour can vary).  Did you know they can lay up to 2000 eggs.  To be a frog come to kneeling in the middle of the mat facing the long edge.  Bring your hands down in front of you then take your knees wide and flex your feet.  Maybe you can come to your elbows. Can you croak like a frog?  To come out of the pose bring your knees in and slowly come up.

There a butterflies on the flowers sipping the nectar with their proboscis (their mouthparts). Come to seated and bring the soles of your feet together.  Hold onto your ankles and flap your butterfly wings by bringing your knees close into your body then back down.  What sort of butterfly are you - cabbage white, brimstone, tortoise shell, red admiral, or peacock? To come out of the pose, take hold of the outside of your legs and bring your knees together. 

The hedgehogs are coming out of hibernation now.  All winter they have been tucked up under some leaves and twigs.  They must be hungry and thirsty- maybe you could put some meaty cat food out if you have one in your garden and some water.  Hedgehog numbers are reducing so they need all the help they can get.  To be a hibernating hedgehog, sit with your knees bent, your feet just wider than your hips.  Thread your hands behind your ankle and hold onto the fronts of your ankles.  Lower your head.  When you are ready to come out of hibernation, breathe in and slowly come up.  

Time to go home now - just time to see the bees gathering pollen from the spring flowers. Can you see the pollen sacs on their legs?  To be a bee lie back on your mat and take your hands and feet towards the ceiling, keeping your elbows and knees bent.  When you are ready, lie back on your mat.

Enjoy the springtime!

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