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Movement and literacy. Active kids and a love of reading. Yoga and storytelling.
The first year I started teaching yoga at a K-4 Charter school that is focused on getting kids to and through college, I didn’t know how to join these things together.
All of these things were great ways to give my kiddos some movement and exposure to literacy at the same time.
We found ways to be active and do some movement games and then read part of a book.
But I really hit the jackpot when I discovered this amazing book called Journey.
Journey, by Aaron Becker, is a wordless book.
It has pictures depicting a young girl’s imaginative afternoon in which she journeys into a world of her creation. She has a nice red crayon that works a bit like Harold’s purple crayon.
Throughout her journey, she draws things that help her get further through the world and accomplish a goal of saving a beautiful bird, which she befriends.
After glancing through the book, I immediately knew that it would work really well as a yoga pose story.
I made up a PowerPoint of the yoga poses, and I created a class plan to teach my kids the sequence while going through the story.
The next two books by Aaron Becker, Quest and Return, are just as beautiful.
You can grab the whole trio of books here. They also lend themselves nicely to yoga sequences and class plans.
It’s fun to plan out the sequence ahead of time, but some kids are completely able to come up with poses as they read or tell the story to themselves. That is an excellent yoga and storytelling goal!
This format of teaching, reading books, and doing poses to go along with the story, was one that worked really well for me a couple of years. I found lots of books that were adaptable to teaching yoga sequences.
I also had visuals of yoga cards scanned into my computer that helped tremendously in creating PowerPoints to flip through so the kids knew which pose we were on. I’m working on my own set of cards and visuals that will soon be available to purchase for use on PowerPoint for this very purpose!
Here’s the outline of the kid’s yoga class I taught using Journey
Journey Yoga Lesson Plan and Sequence of Poses
Opening Question and Warm Up:
If you had a magic crayon that could draw you anything, what would you make?
Mime drawing that item, if it’s really big. Pretend you have a crayon and draw some big things to help you get from place to place.
Introduction to the story
The child in the story we are going to read has this wonderful crayon that opens up a door into a new world. She goes on a Journey into the world and finds some incredible things to do and explore. Let’s read it together and find out what she does.
Do the poses with me, staying in your own space.
A little girl is feeling very bored one day in the summer. All of her family members are busy doing things and no one will play with her.
Scooter (pretend to ride the scooter) She doesn’t want to ride her scooter
Kite (crescent moon pose) It’s not nice enough
Ball (rock and roll on your back) No one wants to throw the ball around
Door (seated forward fold arms lift to open the door) So, she picks up her magic crayon and draws a door in the wall, opens it up, and walks through!
Forest (tree pose) She comes to a beautiful forest lined with fairy lights and walks along the path through the trees.
River (upward plank pose) At the end of the path, she comes to a gently flowing river. Wondering what the river leads to, she decides to follow it.
Boat (boat) She draws herself a boat to ride in up the river. She rides in the boat quite a way and comes to a big walled city, almost like a castle. She rides along, looking at all the buildings and waving at the people as they pass by.
Waterfall (standing baby backbend to forward fold) All of a sudden the boat goes over the edge of a big waterfall!
Hot air balloon (dancer pose) Luckily the girl is a quick thinker and starts to draw, and draw and finally makes herself a nice safe hot air balloon to ride in. She floats down for a
Bird (airplane pose) A big beautiful bird is soaring below her. And it’s purple! Kind of like the red things that she has been drawing, but a different color.
The bird is captured (woodchopper action to mime catching bird) She continues to watch the bird, and is startled when it is suddenly captured in a big net!
Bird in a cage (Eagle pose) She watches sadly as the bird is put in a big cage, on display for the ones who caught it.
Girl saves bird (running in place) She decides to act. Her hot air balloon lands, and she makes a break for it, running to grab the cage, and just in time she throws open the doors and frees the bird!
The girl is captured (sit with knees up and head down) Unfortunately, though the bird has been saved, the guards capture the girl. They put her in a giant cage and throw away her crayon! She is caught! She sits, devastated, locked in the cage looking out at the huge world beneath her.
Bird brings the crayon (jump for joy) All of a sudden, soaring up from beneath her, the beautiful bird returns to her, bringing her magic crayon with. She is saved!
Magic carpet (locust pose) The girl and the bird devise a plan, and the girl slowly crafts a large rectangle that turns into a… magic carpet! She soars out of the cage and is free to fly across the countryside with the bird at her side.
Stars (sanding star pose) They fly along for a while, day turns to night and the stars start to come out.
Door (seated forward fold) In the distance, they spot another door and fly down towards it. They open it up and step through. They are home! Back in the little girl’s real world. And who does the bird belong to?
The girl meets the owner of the bird, another young child with a crayon of his own as well. Together they decide to create something new, something with one circle, then two… (Draw to big circles with your arms)
Bicycle (reclining bicycle legs) They made a bicycle! They can continue on to new journeys and worlds together. Two crayons are better than one 🙂
Closing (savasana, or resting pose)
As you lie here, I want you to imagine what it might be that the two children see together on their next journey.
First, calm your body with a deep breath in through your tummy, and out through your nose. Put your hands on your tummy, and imagine your breathing helps you ride the bike nice and slow.
Now, close your eyes and think in your brain about where YOU would go if you were on that bicycle. What would you see? What would you hear? Would you smell anything new? How would it feel to be riding freely to someplace new?
Think about all those things as you lay still. Imagine those pictures in your brain. Take another deep breath in and out through your tummy. Slowly sit back up and be ready to raise your hand if you would like to share where it is you would go.
So there is my class plan for a yoga sequence to go with the beautiful book Journey, by Aaron Becker.
I have done this yoga sequence and lesson plan with Kindergarten through Fourth grade, and I have built other lessons on to the end to make a nice unit on creating stories with yoga.
Let me know if you’d like ideas on how to create that plan for kiddos that you work with!
Here is another storytelling yoga lesson that I created with all of the pose images and a cute song! Check it out:
Want some tips on how to teach yoga sequences with Storytelling? That post is here:
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