Jnana Yoga is described as the yoga of knowledge. One of the best places to seek knowledge is your local library. Offering literacy based yoga classes to keep kids and parents excited about reading can create life long learners. JK Rowling’s timeless Harry Potter series has sparked the creativity of multiple generations of enthusiastic readers. You are encouraged to dress the part for this class, so grab your house colors and head to the library!
The use of props for kids classes can be an important ingredient for a most yummy yoga class. First, you have to make your magic wand, of course. Fans of the books will recall that wands are specific to their owners, so let your personal creativity fly! Start with simple chopsticks. Paint your wand and then glue (hot glue works best) on feathers of a Phoenix, seed beads, heartstrings of a dragon, and any other decorations to make your wand the most magical. They can be as simple or elaborate as your craft supplies allow.
Now teach your kids the following Potter-ish poses.
Gryffindor– Lions’ pose
Hufflepuff – Star pose as you puff out your cheeks
Ravenclaw – Crow pose and jump back to plank
Slytherin – Cobra on your exhale hiss as you come down
Hogwarts train – Do the Hiney Hustle (sit with your legs long in front of you and scoot forward without using your hands)
Chocolate frog jumps – Malasana have your little yogis hop back and forth or mat to mat
Crookshanks– Cat pose
Scabbers – Balancing table , both sides
Hedwig– Easy pose, as you twist look over each shoulder and hoot hoot like an owl
Fluffy the three headed dog– Down dog into three leg dog, both sides
Harry’s scar – Chair pose
Nimbus 2000 – Warrior 3 on both sides. Look out for the Golden Snitch!
After the kids have learned a few of these poses, you can play a Hogwarts’ version of Sherlock Oms. One child is Hermione in the middle of the circle, waiting in balasana. Silently choose another child to be Harry. Harry’s job is to transfigure into new poses without Hermione figuring out who he is. The rest of the class chants the spell, “Confundo” and slyly watches Harry. When he changes poses, everyone copies him. Starting the chant is the cue for Hermione to come out of balasana and tiptoe around the circle trying to guess who Harry is. Play as many rounds as time allows.
No yoga class is complete until we relax in the Secret Garden (a guided imagery meditation). Invite the kids to cover up with their Invisibility Cloak as they lie down. They close their eyes and stay very still and quiet. Take them through a fantastic journey to Diagon Alley or Hogwarts Castle. Use a lot of sensory description (What do you see? What do you hear? What’s the temperature?). While they are relaxing, they have time to absorb all of the knowledge and creativity that surround them.
In yogic philosophy, there are three stages of acquiring knowledge. First, sravna, is listening to stories or teachers. Second is manana, understanding the words to reveal the wisdom. And third is nididhyasana, the ability to rest in the experience of the wisdom, a quiet place of knowing. All children are born with wisdom. As parents, teachers and educators, we can encourage this relaxation time for them to tap into their own wisdom. The Invisibility Cloak allows them to disappear into a novel, creating a future dreamer, author, artist, educator, or peace maker. May the whole world be filled with love and light, peace and joy and lots of curiously creative readers!