Instructor: Tiffany Chapman
Community: Ages 4-5, School Setting, 30 minutes
Plan Creation Date: January 20, 2016
Yoga Calm Principle/Lesson Goal: Strength
Additional Theme: Inner & Outer Strength
- Intro – Go over ground rules quickly.
- Theme – Introduce the theme of strength. Ask, “What does it feel like to be strong? What things help you feel strong (in your heart, mind and body)?” Tell children that inner strength is having a strong heart and mind, outer strength is having a strong body. What are some examples of each? I.e.- having a strong mind might be when your friends are making bad choices but you decide not to copy them, etc. Say that yoga helps us with both inner and outer strength. What are some other things that help you feel strong? I.e.- Family, friends, teachers, animals, nature, etc. Segue- “Taking a deep breath can also help us feel strong.”
- Belly Breathing – Hoberman Sphere Breathing + compliments (have a student lead and another one count). Have students notice how their bodies feel after taking a deep breath. Does hearing compliments help us feel strong? This is a good way to help a friend who is not feeling strong that day.
- Mountain Pose + Check – Have students visualize that they have “superpower gravity” sticking their feet to the ground. Make sure to ask students before touching for mountain check.
- Mat 20 – flow abridged (mt. to mt.). Make sure that when students are in the lunge part of the flow that their knees stay aligned with their ankles. Say, “Please make your leg stick straight up and down. Keep you knee behind your toe- it never goes past your toe- that is bad for your knee.”
During the flow, say that these movements help your body warm up and help you be strong to hold the other poses.
- Woodchopper – “Lumberjacks are strong!” Tell students that this movement also helps warm up their bodies. Tell students to keep their bellies tight during this exercise. It helps to say, “Hua!” when chopping. Say, “Hua!” as a group.
- Warrior I – Have students stay in their strong lumberjack stance and take one step forward. Say, “Now keep your tummy strong like you were in woodchopper and send laser beams from your tummy out through your arms.” Make sure their bent knee doesn’t pass their toe. Say, “Now step back up into your strong lumberjack stance and step the other leg back. This is warrior I. Look how strong your warriors are!”
- Star – Have the students pivot their feet to a parallel wide-leg stance. Tell them to keep their feet in straight lines like the top and the bottom of a capital “I”. Now have them shoot laser beams out of their arms to the sides and keep their trunk straight up and down. Imagine the strength of the sun (our nearest star) pulling our head up like we were mighty trees growing toward it. Say, “This is star pose. Your lights are shining so strong and bright!”
- Warrior II – Say, “Now pivot your foot closest to me toward the front of the room. Good! Now, bend that knee so that your knee is right over your ankle. Keep the rest of your body the same- shooting laser beams out of your arms still. This is called warrior II Good! You all look so strong!”
- Side Angle – Say, “Now bend your strong trunks over to the side. Rest your forearm on the calf of your bent leg- keeping your trunk strong. This is side angle. You all look like strong trees that are bent over to the side!” Do other side, moving through star and warrior II as guiding poses.
- Table – Say, “Uh-oh! The lumberjack came and chopped off the part of your tree that was bent over and made a table out of it. But you are still strong. We are going to make a strong wooden table with our bodies. Let’s start by sitting on our mats and putting our arms behind us. Good! Now bend your knees into a tent. Good! Now we are going to lift our bottom’s up to make a strong flat table with our tummies. Push into the ground with your arms and legs keeping your hands and feet flat on the ground. Good! Look at how strong you are!”
- Superman – Say, “Do you know who else is strong? Superman! Everybody onto their bellies please. When superman is flying, he keeps his tummy tight so that he can support the weight of his arms and legs in the air. Now everybody raise just your head and arms. Feel that? It’s your strong back muscles holding up your arms. Now go back down and just raise your feet. Good! Ready? Now we are going to raise our head and arms and feet at the same time. Shoot laser beams out of your arms, legs and eyes like Superman. Wow! You all look like superheros!” Then have students bend to one side and the other while in superman.
- Tree Circle – with tree challenge – Say, “Okay- are you ready for the ultimate inner and outer strength challenge? I think you are! You all looked soooo strong today.” Set boundaries of challenge- No: touching, yelling in ears or blowing on people. Yes: funny faces, silly sounds, running in and out of the circle. This takes great inner and outer strength!
Then have just the two teachers in the tree circle and let the children try to distract us!
- Relaxation – Have students lay back down on their mats and read the Japanese version of “The Stonecutter” as relaxation story:
Once there was a poor stonecutter. Each day he went to the mountain and cut blocks of stone, and then took them to the market to sell.
He was quite happy, until one day he looked through the gate of a rich man’s house. He saw the rich man sitting in the shade with servants bringing him food to eat.
‘Surely the rich man is greater than I am,’ sighed the poor stonecutter. ‘If only I were a rich man, then I would be truly happy.’
The spirit of the mountain heard the stonecutter and gave him what he wanted. At once the stonecutter found himself sitting in the garden of a nice house with servants bringing him food.
‘Now I will be truly happy,’ thought the stonecutter. But a few days later he looked out the window and saw the king’s palace. He saw many servants hurrying to obey the king, and he saw how great the king’s palace was.
‘Surely the king is greater than I am,’ he sighed. ‘If only I were a king, then I would be truly happy.’
The spirit of the mountain heard the stonecutter and gave him what he wanted. At once the stonecutter found himself sitting on a throne in a great palace, with servants hurrying to do whatever he wanted.
‘Now I will be truly happy,’ thought the stonecutter. But a few days later he was standing outside. The sun was beating down on his head. It was so hot that he had to go inside.
‘Surely the sun is greater than I am,’ he sighed. ‘If only I were the sun then I would be truly happy.’
The spirit of the mountain heard the stonecutter and gave him what he wanted. At once the stonecutter became the sun, burning in the sky. He shone down on the earth, and people cowered under the heat.
‘Now I will be truly happy,’ thought the stonecutter. But soon a cloud came between him and the earth so that no one could see him.
‘Surely the cloud is greater than I am,’ he sighed. ‘If only I were the cloud, then I would be truly happy.’
The spirit of the mountain heard the stonecutter and gave him what he wanted. At once the stonecutter became a cloud, raining upon the earth. Where the rain came, people ran for their houses.
‘Now I will be truly happy,’ thought the stonecutter. But he noticed that when the rain beat down on the mountain, the mountain was not affected.
‘Surely the mountain is greater than I am,’ he sighed. ‘If only I were the mountain, then I would be truly happy.
The spirit of the mountain heard the stonecutter and gave him what he wanted. At once the stonecutter became the mountain, strong and firm.
‘Now I will be truly happy,’ thought the stonecutter. But soon he noticed a small stonecutter coming up the side of the mountain. The stonecutter cut blocks of stone from the mountain and took them away.
‘Surely the stonecutter is greater than I am,’ he sighed. ‘If only I were a stonecutter, then I would be truly happy.’
The spirit of the mountain heard and gave him what he wanted . At once he was a poor stonecutter again. At this he was thankful, and never wished again to be something that he was not.
Substitute the word “greater” with the word “stronger”. Tell the children that the stonecutter was strong all along- he only needed to love himself as he was and appreciate his own strength. What are your strengths? I.e.- I am a good friend, I take care of animals, I am good at drawing, etc. There are all kinds of ways to be strong.