Monday, March 15, 2010

Becoming a Yoga Pretzel

I recently introduced a yoga curriculum to my Kindergarten students. We started by sitting in a circle together "cris-cross applesauce" and breathing. I would tell stories about adventures we would take through the dessert, on the ocean, in a forest, etc., and we would make simple shapes with our bodies while we told the story. I recently invested in a set of Yoga Pretzel cards. One of my students had them and enjoyed using them with her sister. I was surprised that they actually read the step-by-step instructions (also in picture form) and recreated the poses together. I used the cards during my next group activity, and the kids loved them! Yoga Pretzel cards are now a choice during our exploration time. I was so surprised how many children wanted to have a turn! I was especially shocked at how capable they were of entering the poses using only the cards. I ended up monitoring the activity for support in case they needed help balancing or needed guidance getting into the pose. For the most part, they played independently.
I'm so surprised yoga hasn't taken a more mainstream role in children's media. I recall reading about the process of creating Ni Hao, Kai-Lan in the book Anytime Playdate. Originally it was a series of interstitials called Downward Doghouse based around a yoga curriculum. I've tried to find video footage, but it is nearly impossible! I haven't watched very much of the show, but it seems as if Chinese culture and language are the basis of the curriculum in the current incarnation of the series. This series teaches Chinese language in a very similar fashion as Dora teaches Spanish.
I look forward to seeing what kind of yoga program will become popular! I never realized what a wonderful experience it was for kids to participate until I saw my own students enjoying it.

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