Earth Yoga: Inspirations for Celebrating Earth Day with Kids and Teens
April 8, 2010
Childlight Yoga founder, Lisa Flynn, recently asked the kids yoga community for tips to celebrate Earth Day in kids yoga classes. Thanks for inspiring this blog post, Lisa!
Teaching yoga on and around Earth Day is always extra fun for me since Earth Day, April 22nd, is also my birthday. I love to offer celebratory, exploratory classes during the end of April.
Earth Connection A great way to get started with Earth Day Yoga explorations is to ask students what parts of the Earth the connect to most. Ask them to think about the time they have spent in nature: on walks, at the beach, in the forest, etc. Guide them to contemplate if they feel more like the sky, an ocean or a volcano today. Or maybe they feel like rocks or trees or earthworms. Let each student share the part of Earth the feel most connected to and make a list on a poster or white board.
Now, act out each suggestion in a yoga pose. The poses can be variations of yoga poses they already know, or there may be opportunities for teaching new poses.
Earthscapes Create landscapes and scenes using as many of the suggestions as possible. One year, I had a few children creating a range of mountains (Mountain Pose), while others lined up to create a river running through the mountains (seated forward bends). Others became trees (Tree Pose) with eagle’s (Eagle Pose) nesting near them. There were small rocks (Child’s Pose) with lizards on top and snakes (Cobra Pose) slithering through them. The possibilities are truly endless. Creating these scenes allows students to choreograph a live homage to Earth with yoga poses!
Dancing with the Elements Ask students to name the different elements that make up everything on Earth. Explore each element with movement. Here are a few suggestions:
Water: Turtle Pose, Boat Pose
Earth: Child’s Pose, Mountain Pose
Fire: Volcano Pose
Air: Crow Pose, Sailboat Pose
Earth Cradle This is a perfect time to enjoy a long Rest Pose (Savasana) and really explore the practice of letting go. Starting with the feet, allow each part of the body to surrender into the Earth, moving all the way up to the crown of the head. Guide students to feel the Earth as a “cradle” that supports them fully. There is no need to hold on, simply let the Earth hold you.
Be creative and get your students involved! Ask them how they would like to celebrate the Earth in yoga. Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments section.