The winter makes a lot of people feel reclusive, cold, and sluggish. Even kids sometimes just want to stay in, drink hot cocoa, and watch movies all day. There is just something about lounging in comfy clothes with a snuggly blanket! The darker days and the cooler temps just do that to us. As any parent knows, this becomes a smidge of a problem if you need to get the kiddos out. Yoga can be anything you want. Voila! You can have a cozy day with a themed class.
Find a venue that has large windows and a fireplace. Live in a warm climate? To recreate a wintry scene, you could decorate with snowflakes all around. Set up flameless tea-light candles, an essential oil diffuser with cinnamon and apples in the scent (make sure no one is allergic, of course!), and dim the lights for a wintry scene. Invite kids to come to class in their PJs beforehand and to bring a favorite lovey.
To introduce meditation and why we meditate, practice “crazy monkey” . Our minds are always going and are fuzzy. Our thoughts are like the dancing fire-it is hard to become still, so we meditate. When we don’t, our mind is like a crazy monkey! Instruct them to sit criss-cross applesause and close their eyes. Sit down for a minute with them, then suddenly jump up and BE a crazy monkey. Do this a total of three times, until they are tired out, THEN begin meditating by reciting “Peace Begins With Me”, over and over. Ask them to notice how it was easier for their minds to settle.
Use songs to get the kids running, jumping, and dancing as well as practicing asana. In keeping with the theme, include poses such as star, crescent moon, turtle, child’s, bridge, and happy baby. Try to avoid too many energizing backbends and stick with balance poses and forward folds. Partner poses are great too! Whether you have older kids who can pair up or child/parent combos, partner poses are nurturing to the spirit and a good way to make a class cozy.
A fun craft to do is to “make” hot chocolate or tea. Using pre-cut foam sheets in the shape of a mug, have the kids decorate their mug with various embellishments such as glitter, markers, and white pom-poms for marshmallows. Encourage them to share their cup of cocoa or tea and have them explain what their favorite part is. Listen when they inevitably describe it as warm, sweet, or happy. Explain how yoga is like a cup of cocoa/tea. How it warms our bodies and our hearts!
After the craft, do a fun activity such as the massage train. Since this is the perfect time for snuggles with their lovey, make sure you bring one too and tell show them how to do it! Read a story to them after massage train. “Goodnight Moon” is great for little ones while their caregiver holds them. “The King Who Wouldn’t Sleep” and “Sweet Dreams” are great for kids who are a little older. As you head into savasana or the secret garden, make sure that you encourage the tiny yogis to get really cozy by grabbing their lovey and blanket. Have bolsters and pillows ready for them too! Let them relax and drift while the (flameless) candlelight flickers, the room is filled with the smell of comforting cinnamon apple, and their hearts grow in peace and warmth.