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Goal: To introduce the basic concepts of yoga
Note: Ask parents to ensure children are wearing comfortable, stretchy athletic wear for the meeting.
Enjoy your unit’s usual opening and explain to the children that they are going to become yogis/ yoginis tonight! Ask the children what they know about yoga. Is it a new invention? Can it be for everyone?
Answers: Yoga is exercise, breathing and relaxation all in one. It is not a religion, a diet or a competitive sport. A boy who does yoga is called a yogi, while a girl who practices yoga is called a yogini – and that will be us tonight! Yoga actually began over 5,000 years ago in India and has been passed down through generations to us today. Everyone can do yoga! All you need is some empty space to put a mat and your own body (bare feet are suggested). No special equipment or skills are required.
The concept of relaxation can be made easier for the kids with a relaxation prop. If you have different colours and fabrics of socks available allow each child to choose a sock for his or her project to make it more personalised. Have each child scrunch the tube of the sock down and keep it open while waiting for help with the next step. One leader can provide assistance with pouring the rice or flax seeds into each sock. A second leader may then follow behind and pour 2 drops of lavender essential oil into the sock, unroll the tube, hold the sock closed and shake it to mix the scent around. Tie a tight knot in the top of the sock to keep it closed. The sock should feel full, but not stuffed tightly. Encourage the children to sniff the sock and feel the weight of it against their foreheads, cheeks, eyes or hearts.
Note: Do not heat in the microwave.
Have the children stretch and wiggle around to loosen and warm up their muscles playfully for one minute before beginning.
To visualize something means to intentionally form a picture in your head using your imagination. Visualising is an important part of yoga.
Instruct the children to lie down on their backs and place their new sock pillows over their eyes, helping them to relax. Then, describe a scene for them to imagine in detail. For example, “Picture yourself lying on a sandy beach. It is peaceful and quiet; the only sound you can hear is the steady pattern of ocean waves rolling on to the shore. You can feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, making you happy and peaceful.”
Now it’s time to try out some yoga postures. It is best to have bare feet to reduce the risk of slipping. Move slowly and carefully and never do anything that is painful. Suggest that they visualize the animal or form each pose is named after, to make them easier. Narrate the following descriptions:
Begin by standing tall and straight at the top of your mat with your feet separated hip-width apart. Arms dangle comfortably by your sides. Keep your hands uncurled and relax as you roll your shoulders slightly back. Stand steady as a mountain as you slowly breathe in and out. Feel as if your feet are fixed to the ground, while your body towers upwards to the sky like a mountain.
From mountain pose, bring your hands together at the middle of your chest, palms together at the level of your heart. Your elbows point down. Now straighten your arms above your head palms still touching, like the top of a pointy pine tree. Breathe slowly in and out. After a few breaths, spread your arms apart like the wide branches of an oak tree. Hold for one more breath then release arms down.
Become a yogi or yogini by trying out the Cat Pose. Step 1: Imagine yourself as a stretching cat. Come onto your hands and knees with your hands just forward of your shoulders and knees under your hips. Breathe in and arch your back towards the floor, with your chest forward and tailbone reaching up to the ceiling so that your back is dropped in a curve.
Step 2: Look up. As you breathe out, curve your back in the opposite direction. Drop your head and look down as your back rounds and tuck your tailbone under. Repeat once more.
Imagine yourself as a stretching cat. Come onto your hands and knees with your hands just forward of your shoulders and knees under your hips. Breathe in and arch your back upward, with your chest forward and tailbone reaching up to the ceiling so that your back is dropped in a curve. Look up. As you breathe out, curve your back in the opposite direction. Drop your head and look down as your back rounds and tuck your tailbone under. Repeat once more.
Imagine you are as flexible as a snake. Lie down on your tummy with your forehead touching the floor and your legs straight out behind you. Place your elbows, forearms and palms on the floor, just under your shoulders. Push into the ground with your elbows, arms and hands as you slowly raise your head and shoulders off the ground. Slide your shoulder blades down away from your ears towards your hips. Look up at the ceiling. Slowly lower back down to the starting posture.
Become a yogi or yogini by trying out the Tortoise Pose. Imagine that the curve of your back is the domed shell of a tortoise.
Imagine that the curve of your back is the domed shell of a tortoise. Begin in a kneeling position, then lower your hips so that you are sitting back on the heels of your feet. Lower your forehead to rest on the mat. Stretch your arms out in front of you, palms facing flat down. Feel the weight of your body resting on your legs. Breathe and relax for as long as is comfortable.
Yogurt, fruit, and granola.
Congratulate the group on being open minded and trying something new and healthy!
Enjoy your regular Closing.
This Meeting Plan was researched and written by our intern Vanessa Day.
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Updated Dec 07, 2015
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