Yoga classes do not need props, but boy are they fun! There are so many props to choose from that it is hard to narrow down my favorite. After teaching for a few years, I have a better idea of which I tend to use the most and why it is my favorite. Maybe that will change in years to come, but for now, it’s my go-to staple. Plus, the kids always love it! Drum roll…it is the pinwheel!
The pinwheel is my favorite prop. You remember them, right? They have mesmerized children for generations now. Most people associate them with summer only, but I love them all year-round. I always bring my pinwheels with me. I have two or three with me at all times because they just resonate with kids and their parents so well. I love going to various stores, markets, and localities in search of some of the prettiest and ornate pinwheels. I have noticed that intricately designed wheels grab the attention of the kids and they love the ones with stripes and dots!
I love the pinwheel because it can be used different ways and because I find that it is one of the most effective props for teaching pranayama. I constantly talk about how breathing is probably more important for kids to learn than poses…I know, I know! When a child learns different ways to breathe that can help to calm them, they have learned a skill for life. Kids tend to hold their breath when they are upset or stressed and adults too, which has a negative effect on our ability to cope and on our actual physical health. Learning to breathe helps us to be healthy. To live a healthier life, learn a skill that is lifelong; breathing!
Try these ways to use the pinwheel:
1. Have kids sit in criss-cross applesauce with their backs tall. Instruct them to take a deep breath in and then out right into the center of the pinwheel. Tell them to count to three and then breathe again. Do this a few times. Then ask them how they feel when they are done.
2. Have kids pass the pinwheel around. Instruct them to breathe into the center and then to pass it immediately so that the pinwheel never stops. Explain that we can never stop breathing! Our life force is very literally in our breath! This helps with building teamwork too.
3. Get a giant pinwheel made of bright colors, holographic material, or something else eye-catching. Place it in the center of the room and instruct all of the children to breathe “big!”. Move the petals and as it moves, teach the children to focus only on one as it rotates and rotates and rotates. With each rotation, their belly should rise and fall. Now, you have just helped them to meditate and breathe!
There are multitudes of other ways to use pinwheels, which is another reason why I find them in my “favorite prop camp”. People have come up with creative uses for them that could easily be ‘yogafied’.
Lastly, pinwheels are easy to find, super affordable, and light! They make great gifts and also serve as an alternative to “time out”.
Do you have a favorite way to use the pinwheel? Share with us! Get more ideas for using pinwheels on our other blog posts.