Instructor: Jill Essner-Dodds, OTR/L

Community: This lesson is developed for students who are messy eaters, seek oral input and/or for the children that are limited to trying different foods and have food aversions. This lesson is for a middle school small group who are also working on functional skills such as setting tables, cleaning, preparing food, etc. The students have been working on making wise and more mindful decisions about lunch choices along with the special education teacher teaching about nutrition. The middle schoolers also are learning and practicing social skills, i.e., manners, ways to interact with others, etc.

Plan Creation Date: January 14, 2012

Yoga Calm Principle/Lesson Goal: Community  This lesson will allow the students to practice their functional skills during Mindful Snack. It will support good eating habits, increased awareness of good manners, gratitude of delicious foods, friends, community, etc. This lesson will be presented the last week of school during their last occupational therapy session. I am hoping the students have fun and enjoy being together.

Lesson Plan:

Setting the Tone/Environment: The music will be playing soft soothing music that is slightly upbeat like Vivaldi. Fresh flower will be brought in for a center piece and to provide a nice natural spring scent. Small pedals or flowers can be passed out on each place mat. The students will help with setting the table and the dishes will be passed around. Prior to being at the table the group will participate in a short yoga sequence for centering and calming.


Breath Work/Calm: Belly Breathing with the Hoberman Sphere 10 breaths. (“I want you to sit on your mat and rest one hand on your low belly and the other on your upper chest. Look at the sphere or close your eyes and breathe. Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose or mouth, whatever is comfortable. Take this time and relax and think about your year here at school. Remember all the fun times and fond memories with each other. Does anyone want to share their favorite memory this year at school?”)

Opening Remarks: “Today will focus on the principle ‘Community’. Let’s think about this year and how this group grew together. Think about how your teachers, paras, friends, principles supported you this year. I want us to end this year with a special activity called Mindful Snack. During this time we can feel gratitude toward others, things we have learned and experienced. First, let’s start with a short yoga sequence before we begin.”


  1. Pinwheel breath: “Try to blow the pinwheel with pursed lips. See how slowly you can make the pinwheel move. Now see how long you can make the pinwheel move. Let’s slowly walk around the room blowing our pinwheels to the music.”
  2. Partner Pull: “I will place you with a partner. Grab each other’s arm and step back two to three feet and sit your bottom back a little like you are sitting on a chair. Gently pull back with your hip and feel the stretch. Switch your arms.”
  3. Shoulder clock: “Now, let’s try one more pose with your partner called shoulder clock. Stand side by side with a space between you. Lift arms up and pretend you are at 12 o’clock, one o’clock, etc. Breathe in and out. As you breathe out slowly, go to the next level. Work together and let each know how it feels.”

Mindful Snack: This snack will include various organic seasonal fruits with nice chocolate or some dense flavorful cookies. The students will also have some all-natural juice. The snacks discussion will be related to what we are eating, how it tastes by using our senses, i.e. smell, look, and taste. The special education teacher can have a role in encouraging respect, manner, nutrition, etc.

Community Circle or go around and discuss favorite memory or summer plans/vacations.

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