Happy World Poetry Day! Kids yoga and poetry go hand in hand… Yoga has even been called the poetry of the body, so it feels very natural to include poems in kids yoga sessions. Here are a few kids yoga poetry ideas:
Laila’s Lullaby by Puja Shah
Puja Shah is a fellow kids-yoga instructor and blogger in Southern California. I met her at a Kids For Peace holiday party, and that night she performed some of her own poetry. It gave me goosebumps to see her spoken-word performance. There is something about poetry that makes the author so vulnerable, and performing it live just increases that intensity.
At that party, Puja told me that she had written a yoga-themed poem for her daughter and wanted to turn it into a book. And now she has! She has published a sweetly illustrated book called Laila’s Lullaby based on the original yoga-themed poem.
The pictures are colorful, peaceful, and dreamy, and it incorporates yogic themes of compassion, love, and courage. It also introduces and explains Sanskrit words like "ahimsa" (peaceful) and "vinyasa" (flow).
While this book is certainly one to read to the little ones at bedtime, I also think that prenatal yoga students would enjoy hearing the poem during Savasana. Afterall, Puja wrote the poem after a particularly profound meditation while she was pregnant.
Now if only we could get Puja to come to all of our yoga classes to perform it out loud!
Find the book here on Amazon.
Visit Puja Shah's website here.
Twist by Janet Wong
Another fun yoga poetry book is Twist. Each poem is about a different yoga pose, including Child’s Pose, Cat/Cow, Dog, Warrior, Cobra, Crow, Half-Moon, Triangle, Tree, Eagle, Mountain/Volcano, Lion, Bridge, and Twist. There are also poems for Breath and Finding the Center. The illustrations are beautiful with Indian imagery and patterns that remind me of henna tattoos.
I use this book in my classes by picking a poem, and reading it out loud while the kids do the corresponding pose and look at the picture. It is a nice way to incorporate a picture book into a class with older kids, too.
Find the book here on Amazon.
Kids Yoga Haikus
I am not a poet, by any means, but I have had fun coming up with some haikus to use in kids yoga sessions. You can try teaching your yoga class with haiku, too! It’s a fun way to make the “same old poses” feel a little different.
Prompt kids to do poses by reading haikus. You can tell them the pose before you read the haiku or they can guess the pose from the poem and then do the pose. If you have time, have kids make up their own, too, and read them to the group. The beauty of the haiku is that there is a structure you can follow, so it makes the idea of writing a poem less intimidating.
A trunk tall and strong
Arms up and wiggle your leaves
Breathe in, breathe out, ahhh
Flat on your belly
Heart opens, head lifts, strong arms
Hiss… Slither… Hiss Hiss
Upside down Letter V
Big ol’ fat paws and wet nose
Wag your tail! Woof woof!
Dog Pose 2
Trying to be good
My leg goes up and – Whoopsie!
Puddle on the floor
Round back, fur stands up
Purr Purr Purr Meow Meow Meow HISS
It’s time for a nap
I am tall and brave
Standing strong, head in the clouds
Nothing can shake me
Arms up, bend right, left.
Sliver of light in the sky
Or a banana
Enter the giveaway to win a copy of Laila’s Lullaby, Twist, and Imaginations 2 by April 1, 2015 Midnight PST on our Giveaways and Contests page.