The Lion King is a beloved Disney movie – first the cartoon from 1994 and then a live-action remake in 2019. Filled with humor and heart, it is the perfect theme for a fun-filled yoga class! Here are some ideas:
- Sleeping Lion: Form a circle. One child is the lion and he/she curls up in child’s pose in center, eyes closed. There is a “bone” behind the sleeping lion – use anything, like a bean bag. One child from the circle is quietly chosen to sneak up and take the bone and put it behind their back. All of the children put their hands behind their backs and wake the lion by doing a lion’s breath. Then the lion has 3 guesses at who has the bone. Then that person is the lion, or rotate to let everyone who wants a turn have one.
- Jungle Charades: Using yoga deck cards or just their own imagination, have one student stand in front of the group and silently come into a jungle-themed pose (tree, flower, crocodile, etc.). The rest of the group guesses what pose they are doing. When the pose is correctly named, everyone comes into the pose. This works well for younger kids just learning poses. To make it more challenging, have children create a pose from their imagination (gorilla, hyena, giraffe, etc.) to have the other kids guess.
- Jogging Through the Jungle: Kidding Around Yoga has the perfect song for The Lion King theme – Jogging Through the Jungle! Play the song and follow along with the instructions (the video below also shows the choreography).
- Pass-A-Laugh: Channel your inner hyena and do some big laughing! Players sit in a circle. Player 1 looks at Player 2 and does a silly laugh. Player 2 mirrors the laugh back at Player 1. Then Player 2 turns to Player 3 and makes up a new funny laugh. Player 3 mirrors it back to Player 2. Then Player 3 turns to laugh at Player 4, and so on.
- Circle of Life: This song is inextricably linked to The Lion King and has a powerful message. It’s all about how we are all connected to each other, animals, people, plants, planet. While the song plays, stand in a circle. Start with the teacher as the leader. The leader comes into a pose and one-by-one, like a wave, the rest of the circle comes into the pose. You’ll have to decide ahead of time which direction the pose will move (clockwise or counter-clockwise). When the wave gets back to the leader, he/she could come into another pose or the next person could have the opportunity to be the leader.
- Jungle Grove: To build cooperation and non-verbal skills, have each child come into tree pose with arms reaching up to touch the palms of the child next to them, forming a circle of trees. Try to balance on your tiptoes, using each other to stay upright. Then, switch legs and put palms together. This time, try to bend your standing knee as much as you can while staying balanced.
- Guided Meditation: At the end of class, dim the lights and have children rest on their mats with their eyes closed, staying very still. Guide the kids on a trip with Timon and Pumba as they explore the jungle, meeting new friends. Be sure to include the phrase Hakuna Matata which means no worries, reminding children that they are safe and happy here in the jungle. Use vivid imagery, including sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and sensations. Maybe you visit a watering hole and visit some warthogs and hippos. Perhaps you climb trees with monkeys.