I grew up loving miniature golf. My grandparents have had a camper at Alleghany Mountain Resort at Rainbow Lake since my mother and her brothers and sister were young enough to enjoy the fresh air and open spaces. Much of summer’s free time was spent with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins “at the Lake.” We did a lot of biking, canoeing, kayaking, and various other land sports; but when things were slow we would play round after round after round of miniature golf. My sister, cousin, and I even had a little tournament a few years running. As a “sport” it seems pretty mundane and overly simplistic: holes measure a few feet rather than hundreds of yards, there’s no water or sand, and rails help keep your ball always in bounds. But there is a great deal of accuracy, precision, timing, and careful observation required if you want to do it well. I am one to strive to do everything better than I have before!

PRANAYAMA PUTT-PUTT!

I’ve taught Pranayama Putt-Putt in a variety of classes, but the first chance I got—an eight-week Kids Yoga series at a local studio—I jumped at the chance to go all out! I spent the night before cutting and pasting cardboard and construction paper into starting tees and pin flags (the hole). I drew up designs for the nine holes—plus a few extras—and I showed up an hour and a half early to set up and test before my students showed up.

To pull this off you’ll need:

  • Yoga mats (at least one per hole; I had nine kids, I wanted nine holes)
  • Blocks (varying based on your plans and preferences)
  • Any other straps, ramps, and props you may like for your course
  • Something to mark the start (the tee, pictured as white construction paper) and the finish (the pin or hole, pictured as an orange circle) which you’ll want to tape down if you’re using paper
  • Pompoms, of course

The rules are simple:

  • Kids perform the pose or Sun Salutation or whatever task you set before they start the hole
  • Kids start with their pompom (anywhere) on the tee (the white paper)
  • They breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth
  • The pompom must roll across the pin (the “hole”)

I could go on and on in text, but I’d rather just show you a few examples to hopefully help get those creative juices flowing and a vision of your own course in your head.

#1. The Basic Block:

Pretty straightforward: a block (or two, or three, or four) obstructs an otherwise straightforward shot.

#2. The Camel:

Just a little hump between Point A and Point B:

You can have two humps…

The hole between the humps:

Note: With two or more humps you’ll likely want to make subsequent humps smaller than the preceding ones so that the pompoms roll down the first and over the one that follows. Otherwise, the kids will be clamoring over the humps, breaking them down, to get the pompoms out.

#3. The Table-Top:

This one will drive the kids crazy! It can be hard to find the balance between blowing hard enough and too hard.

I simply place two blocks under the mat and the pin on top. Be sure to give enough space between the tee and the pin so that the pompom can stray a little from the straight shot.

#4. The Dog-leg:

Fold the mat under leaving the bulge at the outside of the turn big enough that it will divert the pompom toward the pin.

#5. The Bumpy Road:

Simply put: small bulges along the mat alternating between sides. Technically, you are shortening the sides of the mat, distorting it from being straight to a slight zig-zag.

Now it’s your turn! Play around with what you see here! And share what you come up with!

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