Instructor: Jill Essner-Dodds, OTR/L

Community: This lesson is developed for students who are more sedentary and choose not to participate in large motor activities. This student typically has a low arousal level and appears “sleepy”, so s/he has difficulty focusing on schoolwork and overall participation in activities throughout the day.

Plan Creation Date: January 14, 2012

Yoga Calm Principle/Lesson Goal: Listening  This lesson should provide more input to this student in order to change his arousal level to be in a more optimal level that is necessary for learning and interacting with others. The student will learn to recognize when his/her arousal level is too level and strategies that will help him/her become more alert. This child will start to understand regulation and listening to his/her body.

Lesson Plan:

Setting the Tone/Environment: The student will enter the room with natural light and fun, playful music. Cotton balls will be set out on the mat with peppermint sprayed on it.

Breath Work/Calm: The breath work will start with using the Woodchopper to wake and energize up his/her body. “Stand with feet hip-width apart with knees slightly bent. Bring your arms overhead and clasped them together tightly. Imagine you are going to chop a piece of wood in front of you. Use your voice as you swing and make a “huh” sound. Count of three and swing. Use big breaths and be as loud as you want when you chop your wood! Wake up your body and feel yourself becoming more alert!” Then after becoming more alert, the student will participate in Pulse Count to tune into his/her body becoming more alert.

Opening Remarks: “Today we are going to learn ways to regulate our body. Sometimes are “engines” are running slow, sometimes “fast”, and sometimes “just right”. We need to listen to our body within and learn ways to regulate our nervous system. Take a minute in sitting and listen to what your body is telling you now. Think of a time when your body was running fast…, slow…., and just right. Think about how that felt. Think about a time when your body was running “just right”, you had listened to your needs, and you respond to these needs. What did you do?”


  1. Arm swings: “Inhale deeply and reach up with your arms and exhale to your sides. Move smoothly like flying motion. As you reach up, say to yourself, “I am aware of my body. I am in control of how I feel.”
  2. Star Pose: “Now move your feet apart and keep your toes pointed. Lift arms out to the sides. Breathe in and out. Imagine that you are a star in the sky in the early light becoming brighter. Lift your tummy, chest and head high and shine bright.”
  3. Warrior II: “Turn your right foot to point forward and left in slightly. Arms remain up and palms down. Breathe in and out and bend that right knee forward. Keep your arms, shoulders strong. Listen to your body as you engage your muscles. You are becoming alert, strong and aware.”
  4. Side Angle: “Now press your feet into the ground become aware of your legs supporting you. Stretch your left arm out over the left ear. Place your right forearm on your knee. Breathe in and out as you hold this position. You are in control.”
  5. Triangle Pose: “Now, bring your upper body back up and point your left foot toward the other wall and lower your arm down. We are waking up our arms and legs and keeping them as straight as you can. Stretch your right arm up high to the sky. Wake your body up and hold this while we breathe. Listen to your body, how does it feel holding this pose?”
  6. Star Pose to Mountain: “We are ending in mountain pose. I want you to reach up to the sky one more time and take a breathe in and out. Bring your hands to heart center.” (Repeat three times.)
  7. Twist: “We are going to end on the mat, lying down on our backs. Pull your knees up to your chest, and then twist to the right, all the way to the floor if you can. Turn your head the opposite direction. Breathe in and out. Feel your body calm. What is your body telling you?” (Then, in the opposite direction.)

Mindful Moments Listening Card could be used at the end for organizing and calming or a Ready…Set…R.E.L.A.X. script. Scripts chosen for this population could include more playful, fun type visualization. Color Connecting would be appropriate since they use a visual image of a rainbow to connect feelings of energy, creativity, and relaxation. It is a shorter script, so the student will not get back into a low arousal state. This lesson would have a reflection part at the end discussing regulation and strategies we can use throughout the day to us maintain an optimal range.

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