I love the beach! My favorite thing to do is to go to the beach. The ocean, the breezy air, the warm sand, and the bright sun in the sky… being at the beach is blissful. Now add some yoga to a beautiful beach day, and there is nothing better than that.
Yoga at the beach is one the most fun ways to practice. The beach by itself is exciting enough, and a little yoga coating makes everything better! The best thing is that the beach has tons of cool things you can use to make Kids Yoga even more entertaining than it already is.
Now first thing’s first, to have a great Kids Yoga class at the beach you’ll have to take a few things into consideration. Before you start the class, make sure that the kids have sunscreen on. Ask your kids if they have it on. Check with their parents and practice some mindfulness with it. Remind them how we have to protect ourselves from getting sunburnt. Another thing to take into account when doing a Kids Yoga class at the beach is that they MUST bring fresh water to drink during the class. Give them a short break to take a sip and cool down a little bit. It is best to set up the class in cool shade out of the direct sunlight. But sometimes that’s not possible. So adjust by having tons of water, and let the kids wear beach stuff: sunglasses, hats, long sleeve Lycra shirts, etc. Let them have fun with that. There is one last thing you need to decide before you start your class: Are you going to have mats or beach towels? Are you going to do the class on the sand or on a deck or dock? Take all that into account when you select your activities. Running with shoes in the sand is quite a hustle, but if the sand is too hot then it’s no fun to be barefoot! To make your Kids Yoga class at the beach a success there make sure to take these things into consideration before you start planning what to do. Luckily, it’s easy to get inspired at the beach. And if you follow the few safety tips I’ve given you, you’ll be fine and able to get creative.
So now that you are all set and ready to start your class at the beach, you have to make it special. Use the surroundings to make an amazing and unique Kids Yoga class. You can take advantage of the ocean to make a short kid’s meditation by inviting your students to listen to the ocean, feeling the breeze in their faces, the warmth of the sun on their skin, listening to their own breath, and matching it to the sea. Ask them if they listen to the birds around them. Another great meditation technique to do at the beach is walking meditation. If the students are big enough to get their feet in the water, you can even have them walk on the shoreline. The beach is the perfect setting to do walking meditation. Give it a try yourself and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Use a marine topic. You can use Crab pose, Dolphin pose, Boat pose, pirate pose (Tree variation), Fish pose, etc. My students love doing Warrior I as surfers. Then I told them to do the Plank (which in Spanish we actually use the same word for surfboard). A wave comes by and turns their plank upside down. You can use yoga binoculars to see what’s in the sea. You can ask them how they got there. Tell them that you got on a bike and how you lost a wheel on the road.
Now for games! Any game is fun at the beach. Just remember that sometimes when they are running and having fun, sand can get very messy. Watch out for the kids’ eyes. I try not to get them TOO crazy running and jumping around. SONGS? A Yogi Went to Sea is made for it. Any song works as long as there isn’t too much movement and no lying on the ground with their face in the sand.
One great stress management technique for children that you can teach at the beach is making a folded paper boat. Place it on their tummies. Then they have to breathe in and out with their bellies rocking the boat up and down. They can listen to the waves at the ocean and see if they can match the timing of the waves with their breath. If you want to make an arts and crafts activity you can make them do their own paper boats and decorate them with sand! Concentration develops in every art and craft, especially in origami folding and sand gluing. The beach is great for arts and crafts. Decorating with sand, making malas, add some sea shells to it, and you get an original beach creation.
Another concentration activity is Tratak with sand. It basically consists of focusing on one thing, in this case, the sand or water, for a long period of time. They can focus on the shining sparkles in the sand or on the water.
You can make a yoga pose sand building show. The kids copy the poses you do, or they can even pose for you to copy. You can build a race track on the sand and have the kids race it doing the Table pose, or Downward dog, or even have them Try a few balance poses in the sand – balance changes your support base and it is more challenging than doing it on the ground. It is good for them to challenge themselves.
Another idea is to get some beach balls and teach some poses with them. Have them do the Chair pose while squeezing the ball in their hands. Try it with the beach balls between the legs. Squeeze it so that they learn to activate their muscle to hold poses. Do some Sun Salutations with the beach ball between their legs, jump back and forward, do Downward Dog, Upward Dog, and even Bow pose. You can use the poses as slides for the ball to roll down. You can play beach ball soccer. One person does a Triangle pose while the other kicks the beach ball under the triangle.
You can talk about nature and mindfulness to teach them about the animals at the beach and how our everyday actions can affect their ecosystem. At the closing circle, you may ask your students to come up with ideas on how to protect the beach. Get serious and teach them about Karma Yoga.
I could go on and on. As you can see, a Kids Yoga class at the beach is a great idea. You can even have a kid’s birthday party or Kids Yoga camp with a beach twist. And guess what? If you don’t have a beach, just grab a few beach balls, get some hats, do the paper boats, breathe and beach up your class anywhere!
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