Using Storybooks: Rachel’s Day in the Garden

If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you know that I LOVE the books from Kids Yoga Stories written by Giselle Shardlow. I have always used storybooks in kids yoga classes, and now we are so lucky to have yoga-themed storybooks like hers!

When you teach a lot of children’s classes, you realize that you don’t always have the energy to keep up with the kiddos. Maybe you have an injury, maybe you are under the weather, or maybe you’ve taught a million classes in a week, and you are SO tired. My solution is any book from Kids Yoga Stories! You read a beautiful story, and the kids follow along with the poses that are illustrated on the colorful pages of the book.  It gives you a moment to honor how your own body is feeling, while still keeping the kids active and engaged.

My favorite book right now is Rachel's Day in the Garden: A Kids Yoga Spring Colors Book. It is beautifully illustrated, and it has a timely springtime theme that incorporates all the colors of the rainbow.  I used it today, while teaching at a Montessori preschool that had just planted its spring garden. 

First, I asked the kids to tell me what they planted in the garden. They were growing tomatoes, carrots, eggplant, cucumbers, and flowers. Lucky kiddos! After we talked about planting a garden, we planted our own yoga garden, by becoming seeds (Child’s Pose). We imagined the rain gently watering our seeds (Use your fingertips to mimic raindrops on their back).  Then we sprouted into seedlings (Standing on your Knees). Finally we stood up to grow into our plants (Tree Pose).

After this fun flow, we settled into reading Rachel’s Day in the Garden, and following along with the character of Rachel (and her puppy!) as she did yoga. Extended Mountain, Standing Forward Bend, Tree Pose, Warrior 3, Squat, Caterpillar, Hero Pose, Butterfly Pose, Flower Pose, and Savasana are all poses included in the storybook’s flow.  The poses are sequenced well, and the story is sweet.

Since the book includes Savasana, we transitioned nicely into relaxation time after reading the book. I guided them through a progressive muscle relaxation using “Tight and Soft” (from Imaginations 2), and then I read the “Rainbow Flower Garden” guided meditation (also from Imaginations 2).

If my class had been longer, I would have had the kids plant a bean seed in a Dixie cup, or color a flower mandala.

You can find out more about Rachel’s Day in the Garden, and all the books from Kids Yoga Stories here.

You can learn more about guided meditations from Imaginations 2 here.

Happy yoga-ing!