* Kidding Around Yoga teaches Yoga to children of all cultures, races, faiths and backgrounds. Yoga Yeladim is Kidding Around Yoga with a Jewish twist and provides Yoga methods for people who work with children in the Jewish community.*
Deep breathing exercises can have a profound effect on a child’s physical, emotional and spiritual health. One way we teach children to self-regulate in Yoga Yeladim is through deep breathing exercises, games and activities. Yogis call the practice of controlling the breath pranayama.
Try these fun and creative ways to reinforce breathing techniques with your little Yogi:
- food coloring
- a straw for each child
- piece of paper (we used finger paint or water color paper for best results)
- painter’s tape
- Use painter’s tape to make a design on the paper. You can make a recognizable shape or a unique design. In Yoga Yeladim, we use popular Jewish symbols for this craft. Star of David, Menorah or a Chai are fun suggestions.
- Drop a few colors of liquid food coloring on a piece of paper (thicker paper works best).
- Take a straw & blow onto the colors to make different designs.
- When the artwork is dry, carefully remove the tape and admire your breath’s masterpiece!
Experiment with what happens when you use long / slow breaths and quick/ hard breaths. Does is change the design? Each picture is beautiful and unique. Pictures can be used for holiday cards, gift wrap and lovely art to display.
Raisins on the Challah
- straws & paper plates for each child
- ten pieces of black scrap paper each
The plate is the challah and the scraps are the raisins. Pick up a raisin by inhaling through the straw and placing it on the challah. If it falls, begin again. To add an extra challenge, use a time and make this game a race.
When teaching in a traditional children’s Yoga class, this game can be easily adapted for your specific needs. Some fun suggestions are: Raisins on the Cookie, Spots on the Lady Bug or Freckles on my Face.
Hebrew Aleph Bet Breathing
(aleph and bet are the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet)
Lay in extended Child’s Pose. Inhale and come up to your knees, arms in the air, and say “Alef” as you exhale down into extended Child’s Pose again. Do it again for “Bet”, “Gimel”, “Dalet” etc.
Again, this breathing technique can be easily adapted for a traditional children’s Yoga class by changing what is said on “the exhale” to the letters or vowel sounds of any language. Use it to practice your child’s spelling and vocabulary lists. Make it a game by taking turns and listing items of a particular subject (ice cream flavors, mammals, countries, etc.)
Blow Your Shofar
This is the Yoga Yeladim song for breathing. Make sure to encourage children to take deep breaths in through their nose and out through their mouth. You can get as creative as you want by breaking out lots of props and fun instruments for your students to play with.
Before you start make sure to teach them the hand motions. Use traditional hand motions from “David Melech Yisrael”. Pretend to play all kinds of instruments, unless you actually have a bunch to hand out. Have fun.
Teaching a traditional children’s Yoga class? Check out the Kidding Around Yoga version of this song: Blow Your Horn Everyday.
There are many ways to teach children the benefits of Yoga and pranayama with a Jewish twist. Be creative and have lots of fun!!!!