June 3, 2010

Endangered Animals Kids Yoga Class. ~ Donna Freeman

I love National Geographic. Always have. Maybe it was because my Dad insisted on having a subscription and keeping every single issue—I think they still have them on shelves in the basement. As a child I would spend hours looking at the amazing photographs and reading about the world and its many wonders.

As a family we also would watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom every Sunday evening and join Marlin Perkins as he traveled around the globe sharing his love of wildlife and the many dramas that unfold in the animal kingdom. And of course, there is World Wildlife Fund (WWF) working to sustain nature and save endangered and threatened animals. I can’t recall how many times I sent my allowance off to sponsor an animal.

Needless to say, I’m a big fan of protecting precious animal species. I figured with all the animal yoga poses it would be natural to mix the two. So, when I found some great colouring pages of a variety of precious species at Kids for Saving Earth I knew it was meant to be.

First I chose poses from among the colouring page options and came up with 12 that easily work with kids yoga. Be sure to print off the pages to use in class.

  •  lion (simhasana)
  • camel (ustrasana)
  • bald eagle (garudasana)
  • killer whale (dolphin pose)
  • snowshoe hair (rabbit pose-sasangasana)
  • gorilla (squat with gorilla antics including beating the chest with Tarzan yell)
  • ocelot (cat/cow pose – marjaryasana bitilasana)
  • crocodile (chataranga dandasana)
  • sea turtle (turtle pose-kurmasana)
  • flamingo (variation of tree pose-vrksasana)
  • wolf (downward facing dog – adho mukha svanasana)
  • walrus (seal pose)

During class we chatted about endangered animals. What endangered means and what we can do about it. There is always great conversation and the kids have lots to contribute.

From there we randomly picked from the various poses. You can make picture cards, draw names from a hat, use stuffed animals if your collection is widely varied or whatever works for you. For each animal share some information about the species, its habitat or other interesting trivia. For example: Did you know that a thirsty camel can drink 30 gallons of water in 13 minutes? Let’s try to avoid that kind of dehydration and make sure we drink water regularly.

After doing the poseswe have the students select a colouring page. They can work on their pictures during class if there is time or simply take it home.

You can then play Swami Says or Add One using only animal poses before ending the class in savasana (corpse pose) with a guided visualization to discover your personal animal guide.

And there you have it—a kids yoga class dedicated to endangered animals. Share the love, save the planet.

Donna Freeman loves exploring the world through yoga for kids and teens. She is a teacher and finds interesting ways to connect yoga to the classroom through her book Once Upon a Pose: A Guide to Yoga Adventure Stories for Children and website. She provides workshops to teachers, caregivers, parents and yoga enthusiasts on how to make yoga fun, accessible and enjoyable for all ages and abilities. Contact Donna on Facebook or Twitter.

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