Thanksgiving Day Yoga (Designed by Your Children)

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Get ready to eat, watch the parades on television, and eat some more.

This year, why not start your festivities with a kid-led yoga session centered around the concept of thankfulness, or gratefulness?

Directly tied to aparigraha, gratefulness is a recognition of our abundance no matter our actual circumstances. Do we have air to breathe? Thank you! Do we have clothes to wear and a roof over our heads? Thank you! Do we have something to eat today? Thank you! 

I personally look forward to the Thanksgiving season because my oldest child in particular struggles with her attitude of gratitude.  I don’t wholly blame myself in this, either.  After all, I firmly grasp and verbalize the ideal of thankfulness, and she is a disciplined child.  It is in her nature though to want, regardless of satiation, and we also happen to live in a time of EXTREME instant gratification.  It’s like putting a day’s worth of food in front of a puppy and expecting them to save some for later.  (Can you tell we just got a new puppy?) 

 My point is this: when given opportunities to teach, let’s teach.  And the holidays are ripe with opportunity for conversations and lessons regarding our philosophical beliefs.

I am sure you have well established Thanksgiving Day traditions, and a rhythm to your day, but may I
suggest an idea?  How about handing over the yoga baton, and let the kids come up with a yoga class expressing, through movement, breath, quiet, and craft, their ideas on what gratefulness means. Let’s create an outline they can use to essentially fill in the blanks with their ideas. It might look something like this:

We are Grateful
A Thanksgiving Yoga Class
Led by: (your child’s name)

Directions for Circle Time and Breath Work:
Lotus pose
Om breath work (hint: for each breath, tell your ‘students’ to think of items of gratefulness)
Share the theme of the class

Directions for getting everyone to standing position:
Make up a gratefulness story stringing together a series of poses moving from lotus pose to mountain pose. (Ex: start your story in frog pose, then move to cat pose, then to rag doll pose, then to star pose, then to tree pose, weaving in a story that ties all those poses together.  Use your imagination!  And if you don’t know a pose, look it up or create one!)

Directions for creating the Main Game/Music time:
Provide your ‘students’ with a fun yoga game that gets them stretching and moving. (Maybe pick a song to play or sing. What about setting an old tune – Frere Jacques – to new words, like “I am grateful, I am grateful. For this day, for this day. What are you grateful for, what are you grateful for? Please share, please share.”  Everyone adds their ‘thing’ when the song comes to them.)

Directions for Quiet Time:
Lead your class onto their backs for quiet, restful close. What will you have them imagine? remind them to breathe deeply and slowly! You’ll also have to bring them back to reality, and have them rejoin you in circle / lotus pose.  End with: May the whole world be filled with peace, and joy, love and light, and lots of peaceful people!  Namaste….

Directions for Craft:
Research some easy craft ideas centered around the idea of gratefulness. What is something you yourself would like to make? 

With this outline, the kids can simply fill in their ideas and present it on Thanksgiving Day. What a way to celebrate all that we have, and all we have to give each other with our thoughtfulness and creativity.  Who knows, you might ignite the yoga teaching spark in one of the kiddos leading the class.

What are you grateful for this holiday season?



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