Instructor: Parker Deen

Community: Grades 3-5, School Setting, 60 minutes

Plan Creation Date: May 1, 2016

Yoga Calm Principle/Lesson Goal: Stillness

Setting the Tone: Lights are dimmed, yoga mats in a circle, R. Carlos Nikai flute music playing softly

Lesson Plan:


  • Names Circle – “I’m Parker and I’m here.” “I see you” option to add: “I’m thankful for…”
  • Introduce Stillness Theme – what does it mean to be still? Expand idea of still to include body, mind, heart. What does it mean to be still in your mind? In your heart?
  • Mindful Bodies – ring chime and let your body be still. If you notice your fingers moving, (etc, etc) let them be still.
  • Belly Breathing – with Hoberman Breathing Ball- breathe together as a community, notice how we connect by breathing together. Pay special attention today to the pause when you breath- notice how still your body is. Notice your mind. Is it still? If it’s not, that’s ok. Bring your mind’s focus to your breath- you can say to yourself “breathing in” when you breath in, and “breathing out” when you breath out. Choose 1 child to lead and have them choose 1 to count; compliments; choose another leader or have the child who lead choose the next person. Teach this if this is the first class, or demonstrate again as needed. Offer time to share about what they noticed about stillness in their bodies, minds, and hearts.
  • Check In – Did anyone use anything we’ve been practicing in Yoga Calm since we last saw each other? Consider sharing a way you’ve used something from Yoga Calm (like positive self talk, relaxation or energizing activities, etc).


  • Move Like Animals Game – Introduce the game. Rules, (go over ground rules of Yoga Calm if needed) Use a drum to cue when moving will start and stop. If anyone doesn’t want to play the game, they can play the drum beat. Using the 6 Developmental Movement Patterns from Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, shift from one animal to the next. Stop after each one to come to stillness. Cue that stillness is coming: “Your bunny starts to slow down, starting to feel tired. You crawl into your rabbit burrow, and curl up into stillness. It’s warm and soft, maybe lined with fluffy down or soft grass. You’re a still bunny, quiet and comfortable.” Drum starts again, count 1, 2, 3 and shift into the next animal pattern. Some ideas for animal patterns are: Core-Distal- exhale your breath and curl up in a little ball, now inhale and fill up your belly and lungs and move like you’re opening into being a starfish. Head-Tail- Your starfish is changing and shifting, becoming a snake or a fish, moving, bending your spine from side to side, slowly and gently (etc), bring this one to stillness. Upper-Lower- Like a rabbit (hopping with hands leading then feet following), etc. Homolateral- moving like a lizard, using one side of your body and then the other to crawl across the floor. Use language related to what a lizard might seek or enjoy to come into a place of stillness (like a warm rock in the sun). Cross Lateral- Shifting from a lizard into a cat or dog (or other cross lat. mammal), explore this way of moving as you maintain a drum rhythm and then bring to still using imagery related to that animal as it comes to relaxation. When coming to Stillness, notice your body, notice your breathing when you’re a “still rabbit”- explore these differences after the game has ended, and let kids share their experiences.
  • Mat 20 – Choose someone to lead if they would like to (for all or a portion- depending on how long the group has been learning Yoga Calm). Reminders: feel your feet on the floor, activate your muscles, let your muscles “hug” your bones to activate, breathe in poses. Can hold poses for a few breathes or to count, depending on what your group is more responsive to. Use language about stillness, especially in poses like Mountain, Forward Fold, Boat- how long can we be still together? Maybe counting to 5 or even 10? Can we do it? Let’s try! Bring your focus inward is a good prompt for noticing stillness. Notice those places and poses in our Mat 20 that remind us to find our still place. Remind them to use their positive self talk anytime, but especially when something is challenging.


  • Telephone Pole Relaxation – (“Pillar of Strength”) from Ready… Set… Relax (pg. 129). Gently take off your eye pillow, rub your hands together until they’re warm, gently put them over your eyes. When you’re ready, meet sitting up on your mat.
  • Volcano Breaths – to close- 2-3 breaths. Picture in your mind, something you’re thankful for in your community (or a way you add something to your community, a way you help your community, a way your community helps you, heart thoughts to someone/something in your community, etc). Fold mats, blankets, put away props and take care of our space.

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