The seasonal and cyclical nature of gardening is necessary for the perpetuation of the plant world. Why shouldn’t this same idea apply to the human world? We evolve within our lifetimes, and humanity evolves over generations, with the intention of perpetuation. Wouldn’t it be interesting, and fun, to translate the idea of this evolution by using the analogy of what occurs in the garden annually, in a yoga class? Allow me to provide some inspiration for creating a garden-themed yoga class for the kiddos.
Sounds of the Garden = “Om” time: Make your opening Oms become part of the garden world. Bees, birds, a cat or dog in the garden, the hum of the universe, and the sounds of summer are a few to get you started. I always ask the kids to come up with some ideas. Sitting together, turn the sounds of the garden into a chant, like “buuuuzzzzz” or “whooooooosssshhhh”. It becomes the most favorite part of the class.
Roots = Meditation: Just like the roots of a plant, the importance of grounding ourselves is critical for growth. And grounding time is quiet time. For instance, have you ever heard a plant grow? No! It’s a quiet dance with the elements of the earth. Let’s practice quietly pushing our roots into the ground with our mind. Remembering to breathe deeply as we go. When we ground ourselves, we cannot easily be moved.
Growth = Yoga postures: Emphasize the slow and steady growth of a plant/flower during the summer season by using various yoga positions (root to bloom/seated to standing). Ask these questions: Isn’t it amazing that growth like this can occur in one year? How much have you grown since last year (physically, emotionally, mindfully)?
Blooming = In-depth Posture Study: The bloom is our finest hour, it’s when all the grounding, and growth culminate into a beautiful finale. Start by pairing kids up to create yoga poses that look like flowers (lotus!!) or places that flowers bloom (trees, mountains, water). Throughout the workshop period, equate a flower’s bloom to our own blooming moments, like when we learn something new, when we have a good day, when we make someone feel better. Another activity in the workshop period could include the kids working together to write their own garden yoga story. The game Simon Says would work here too, with a focus on plant and animal poses. Look for a garden themed book that can be read while tying in yoga poses and ideas (like meditation, breathing, mindfulness). The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle is really sweet.
Pollination = Secret Garden (Savasana): Take the kids into the garden where they become the pollinators of the plants with a guided meditation. We root, we grow, we bloom, and then we pass it on, we reseed our growth in others. We teach others by our actions. We extend our bloom beyond ourselves by being mentors, and stewards of all that is good in the world. Guide the children to imagine themselves as the bees, visiting flowers and spreading the pollen. Or you could have them be the wind, spreading seeds across the world.
End class with the Kidding Around Yoga song ‘May the Long Time Sun’. Eventually the kids can join in singing.
Seed, Dirt, Water, Food = Homework: Bring biodegradable cups to class with dirt, seeds, and water source. Let the kids plant a seed in their cup that can be transplanted in their gardens when the time is right. Have instructions on where to keep the seedling inside, when to water, when to move outdoors, when to plant in soil. Explain that with the right conditions and care, the seed will grow to full bloom, just like us!! Sunflowers are a good option.