When it comes to creating a yoga lesson plan for kids yoga classes, I’ve found that consistency and creativity are key. Each of my classes follow a basic structure to include a breathing exercise, a handful of poses, a game and/or activity, and a guided meditation.
Depending on the theme that day, each of those elements will tie into a bigger topic or idea. Coming up with a theme for each class will make it easier for you to create a dynamic and logical class that engages your students.
The following lesson plan is ideal for students in the 6-10 age range. I created this class with an animal theme to celebrate the Spring as the season of birth and renewal. This would also be a perfect lesson plan for the first class in a series because it uses a familiar topic to pique students' interest in yoga, and allows them to get creative and active in the design of the class.
If your students are a bit older, you can encourage them to sign-up to our free 30 Day Yoga Challenge. With classes designed for all levels, this is a good opportunity for them to improve their practice and learn new poses.
Intro to the Class
I recommend having students set up for this class by sitting in a circle.
Introduce the theme of the class. Explain how many animals are born in the Spring and it is a season of birth and growth. Explain that many yoga poses are inspired by animals and that we can embrace these qualities as we move into the poses. Depending on the maturity level of the class, you can ask them for input about spring time means to them or what animal qualities they can utilize in their lives.
There are so many animal-themed breathing exercises you can use with kids. I love “Bumblebee Breath.” Have students sit comfortably. Then ask them to slowly inhale for a count of 3. On the exhale they will buzzzzz like a bee. Repeat 3-5 times. Ask them to notice the sensations that they feel as they make this sound.
Use traditional poses but swap out the names to fit with the animal theme. In each pose, I discuss the qualities or sounds that the animals make to encourage engagement.
Use the following series of poses:
- Child’s Pose or “snail” - Discuss how snails are very small and still.
- Cobra pose- Inhale to rise, “hiss” as you lower back to the ground.
- Cat/ Cow - “moo” on cow, “hiss in cat”.
- Puppy pose - stretching long like a puppy waking up from a nap.
- Downward Facing Dog- walk out the heels like you’re walking a dog.
- Ragdoll or “Gorilla”- gently sway your arms from side to side.
- Dancer or “Flamingo” - find graceful balance on one foot.
- Squat or “Frog”- crouch low to the ground with great flexibility.
- Butterfly - gently flap your wings up and down.
Going around in a circle, have each student share their favorite animal and create a pose that looks like the animal. Have the whole class try each pose.
With all students laying on their back with eyes closed, read the following meditation:
“Imagine that you are your favorite animal settling in for a long night’s sleep. Think about where you might be sleeping. What does this place look like? What can you feel in this place? It is warm or cold, soft or hard, wet or dry?"
"What can you hear in this place? Are there waves crashing? Is there wind in the trees? Can you hear other animals around you? What do you smell in this place? Are there fresh flowers or a salty ocean? Spend a few minutes in this place feeling totally safe and calm."
Using this basic template, you can easily create classes that fit with any theme or concept. A few important things to remember are the ages and attention spans of your students to help dictate how long you will spend on each portion of the class.
Remember that each class and each student will be different. Be flexible enough to go with the flow if one activity just isn't working, and remember to keep things light. No kids yoga class will ever go just as planned, but these surprises can be even better what than you expected! Good luck!
Image credit: Tie Simpson