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!


Better Sleep Month for Kids with Yoga

Happy Better Sleep Month! This month we are having a Sleepytime Yoga Giveaway that includes  several tools to help kids relax at bedtime or before relaxation in yoga. Prizes include Good Night, Animal World book by Giselle Shardlow, Imaginations 2: Relaxation Stories and Guided Imagery for Kids, and a bottle of Lavender essential oil. We are also reviewing the matching Good Night, Animal World Yoga Cards.

Fun fact: Good Night, Animal World was the inspiration behind the “Nighttime Animal Adventure” story in Imaginations 2!

Review of Good Night, Animal World Yoga Cards


Description: Say good night to the animals of the world at bedtime with these yoga cards to match the book, Good Night, Animal World (previously reviewed here). Match and sort thirteen calming yoga poses for kids with their respective animals. Age group: Toddler, preschooler. Ages 2-5.

Price: $12.95

Where to Buy:

5 Things I Love About Them:

1. The 3x5 Notecard size is small enough and light enough to keep in my yoga bag as an emergency “Oh No I Have Nothing Planned” Activity.

2. The Index Card has a list of the poses in order from standing to relaxation as well as a color coded key showing the animal/yoga pose pair.

3. Calming poses are sequenced well from active to relaxing yoga poses. They are all good poses to settle before bedtime or before relaxation time.

4. The cards can be used individually, in a series, or as an animal matching game.

5. They come in a sweet, mesh bag that keeps them together, but visible.

As a yoga teacher, I think you will LOVE these cards as an addition to your classes. As a parent, I think you will LOVE how fun these will make bedtime.

More Info about Kids Yoga Stories:




Two Kids Yoga-Friendly Books on My Gift Giving List This Year

Check out these two great children’s books that I plan to give as gifts this year. Enter the drawing to win a copy of both books, plus an Imaginations book here. THE ABC’s of Australian Animals by Giselle Shardlow


Giselle Shardlow’s The ABC’s of Australian Animals is my new favorite ABC book for kids! Each colorful page includes an Australian animal, many of which were new to me, and a corresponding yoga pose. This book is so fun to read to kids because they are learning and moving at the same time! Check out all of these fun animal poses:

Anemone Pose

Brolga Pose

Crocodile Pose

Dingo Pose

Echidna Pose

Frilled-Necked Lizard Pose

Goanna Pose

Humpback Whale Pose

Ibis Pose

Jellyfish Pose

Koala Pose

Leadbeater’s Possum Pose

Magpie Pose

Numbat Pose

Octopus Pose

Platypus Pose

Quoll Pose

Red Kangaroo Pose

Sea Star Pose

Tasmanian Devil Pose

Ulysses Butterfly Pose

Venomous Snake Pose

Wombat Pose

Extinct Tasmanian Tiger Pose

Yabby Pose

Zebra Bullhead Shark Pose

As a kids yoga instructor, I find Giselle’s Kids Yoga Stories invaluable. Her book is fun, the pictures are colorful, and each page has a corresponding yoga pose, making it really easy to use in a children's yoga class . If you are a parent, you will love keeping your kids active and healthy while reading them a story. The book includes a guide for parents and teachers that gives tips on using yoga with kids. Thank you, Giselle, for another great kids yoga resource!

Softcover, 42 pages, Retail: $15.95

See sample pages and purchase here:

Win a copy here!

The Museum by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter Reynolds


Susan Verde’s The Museum is one of my new all-time favorite children’s books. The illustrations by Peter Reynolds are colorful watercolors that include clever reproductions of famous artwork, like The Scream by Munch and The Starry Night by Van Gogh.

The story is about a girl that goes to an art museum and is inspired by each piece of art she sees. She interacts with each piece of art in a different way- dancing, twirling, and making silly faces. Then she comes to a blank canvas, and after closing her eyes, she fills the white space with all the colors and magic she sees in her imagination.

Susan is a children’s yoga instructor, and that comes through in her book. There are lots of opportunities to integrate creative movement and yoga, and the book also empowers kids to tap into their own creativity. Yoga can boost creativity, so this book is a perfect way to transition from an active yoga session to an art activity. Thank you, Susan, for a fun and colorful addition to my library!

Hardcover, 32 pages, Retail: $16.95


Win a copy here!



Carolyn Clarke




Top Storybooks for Kids Yoga- Poll Results!

Image Here are the results of the poll with and!

1. Sophia's Jungle Adventure by Giselle Shardlow 2. Anna and Her Rainbow Colored Yoga Mats by Giselle Shardlow 3. From Head to Toe by Eric Carle & Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee MacLean 4. The ABCs of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Anne Power 5. Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry Lee MacLean & Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst 6. The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, It's a Tiger by David LaRochelle, The Three Questions by Jon Muth, Zen Shorts by Jon Muth, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds & Storytime Yoga: The Treasure in Your Heart by Sydney Solis.

I don't know about you, but I'm excited to have a new list of fun books that compliment kids yoga. I'm also looking forward to reading these books and writing relaxation stories inspired by their themes and stories.

Are there other storybooks you love using in your kids yoga classes or with your kids? Leave a comment below with some of your favorites! Namaste,


Carolyn Clarke




Luke's Beach Day Review, Giveaway, and Beach Yoga Lesson Plan

Review of Luke's Beach Day

luke beach day

In case you missed it on, here's what I had to say about Luke's Beach Day by Giselle Shardlow:

"Luke's Beach Day, by Giselle Shardlow at, teaches children's yoga and environmentalism with a sweet story and easy-to-follow yoga pose pictures on each page.

The story follows Luke and his friends at the beach, discovering sea life, boats, and litter! Luke is bothered by the trash and makes sure to put it all in the garbage can, setting a good example and teaching readers to do the same. The book includes a list of all of the poses used in the book, including Kangaroo pose (fun!) and Sun Salutations. There is also a list of tips that are helpful for people who have never done yoga with kids (it is definitely different than doing yoga with adults!).

I love all the books from Kids Yoga Stories, especially this one that has the corresponding poses listed on each page. I love that as I read a story to my classes, the kids automatically go into the poses that they see in the top corner of the pages. It is much easier than trying to hold a book and to demonstrate a yoga pose at the same time.

Giselle Shardlow has created another invaluable resource for parents, teachers, and kids yoga instructors wishing to share yoga in a fun, healthy, and eco-friendly way."

I think it's a great book for kids yoga classes (enter the giveaway below!), so I've put together a lesson plan using it (this lesson plan was originally created for an OMazing Kids lesson plan constest last year). The lesson plan (below) includes a story from Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids, too!

A Relaxing Day at the Beach Lesson Plan

Suggested materials – Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids book by Carolyn Clarke Luke’s Beach Day by Giselle Shardlow Shell collection displayed inside of yoga mat circle Cardboard laminated suns Hobermann Sphere Ocean wave music Printed pictures of sand sculptures chosen from: Cat Cow Dog Tree

Sequence of Poses:

Breathing with the Hoberman Sphere

Rub Palms together and feel your own energy

Shell Meditation (Pass around shells and listen to the sound of the ocean)

Shoulder Rolls

Neck stretches (move head like yes and no)

Arms circles

Sand sculptures (Show pictures of sand sculptures and then mimic them with poses) Cat Pose Cow Pose Dog Pose Tree Pose

Dig a Hole (Standing Forward Bend to Extended Mountain with an imaginary shovel)

Jump the waves (Imagine you are jumping over waves staying on your yoga mat or have two kids hold the ends of a long piece of blue material for kids to jump over)

Sun Salutations

Beach ball game (Pass the ball around the circle with your arms, then lying down with your feet.)

Read Luke’s Beach Day and act out the story with the included yoga poses

Starfish Stretches (Arms, legs, and head are starfish arms. Sit down, open legs in a V. Stretch your arms overhead to one side, then the other side, stretch forward, and then stretch backwards until you are lying on your back.)

Kelp Forest (Lying back, arms and legs up in the air. Sway arms and legs slowly with the current. )

Cool-down Flow Knees to Chest, Legs Up, Dead Bug/Happy Baby, Savasana/Relaxation Pose 1_KneeHug_Book_Picture 2_HappyBaby_Book_Picture 3_LegsUp_Book_Picture 4_Starfish_Book_Picture

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (tighten and relax each body part) followed by this story from Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids:

A Day at the Beach

Imagine you are walking on the beach.

Feel the sand between your toes.

Is it wet or dry?

When you find your perfect spot, spread out your towel and lie down in the sand.

Feel the warm sun on your skin and a cool, refreshing breeze.

Listen to the waves crashing on the shore…

Children playing…

Seagulls singing…

And people laughing.

Listen to the sound of the waves.

A wave comes into shore, and then the wave moves back into the ocean.

Now, put your hand on your belly.

Feel it rise up when you take in a breath, and feel it fall down when you let out a breath.

Up and down, in and out.

Just like the waves in the ocean…

Enjoy lying here feeling your body relaxed at the beach.

© 2012 Carolyn Clarke from Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids

Activities: Choose any of the beach themed activities from the Pinterest board for A Day at the Beach

Enter the Giveaway

So now you are probably REALLY excited to have a copy of Luke's Beach Day of your own!

Enter the giveaway by Friday, August 2nd, 2013 at midnight PST to win a copy of Luke’s Beach Day and Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids.

Click Here to Enter

Rules of Participation:

  • Must be 18 years or older with a valid e-mail address.
  • Employees or family members of Bambino Yoga are not eligible.
  • No purchase required.
  • Comments submitted via Rafflecopter  may be copied & pasted into the blog posts on,, or Bambino
  • Odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries received.
  • The winner will be chosen via a drawing of valid entries on Monday August 5, 2013.
  • The winner will receive Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids and Luke’s Beach Day. Luke’s Beach Day will be shipped separately by Kids Yoga Stories.
  • The winners will be notified via e-mail, will be posted on the blog posts & will be posted on the ImaginationsForKids/Bambino Yoga Facebook page.
  • Legal Info:This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Rafflecopter. You are providing your information to Bambino Yoga, not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for our internal purposes in relation to the administration of the giveaway. Your information will NOT be sold to any outside parties. Indemnification/Hold Harmless: By participating, entrants agree: (a) to the decisions of Bambino Yoga which shall be final in all respects; (b) to release, discharge, and hold harmless Bambino Yoga and its respective representatives and agents from all liability, injuries, losses or damages of any kind to persons or property resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from the acceptance, possession, misuse or use of a prize, or from participation in and/or entry into the Contest or any Contest-related activity and for acceptance, delivery, or use of any prize; (c) that the foregoing parties have neither made nor are in any manner responsible or liable for any warranty, representation or guaranty, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, relating to any prize.



Carolyn Clarke




Your Vote Needed to Break the Tie in the Storybook for Kids Yoga Poll!

Cover Collage with Tie Break1

Last month, OMazing Kids and hosted a poll and to find out the top 10 storybooks for yoga.

Here were the results of the book poll:

  1. Sophia’s Jungle Adventure, by Giselle Shardlow

  2. ???

  3. ???

  4. ???

  5. ???

  6. ???

  7. ???

  8. ???

  9. ???

  10. ???

See all those question marks? We need your help to vote for the remaining 9 of the top 10 books! Please vote in the form (below) or here by midnight PST, Friday July 19th, 2013.

Cover Collage with Tie Break1

[googleapps domain="docs" dir="forms/d/1istizvnnatttBCB9trqToTx5tfxlqWYVIjAH-zgS-z4/viewform" query="embedded=true" width="760" height="1000" /]



Carolyn Clarke




March Giveaway- Imaginations and Good Morning Yogis Book Prize Pack

Enter here: We're having a Rafflecopter giveaway! CLARKE_IMAGINATIONS book cover

good morning yogis jpg The winner will receive a copy of Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids and Good Morning Yogis by Cate Stillman.

Read the review of Good Morning Yogi's Here.

Enter the giveaway Here.

Good luck! Carolyn Clarke



Good Morning Yogis Book Review

good morning yogis jpg I love this sweet book on an Ayurvedic morning routine for kids- Good Morning Yogis Big and Small by Cate Stillman. This book will be helpful for teaching kids helpful morning habits, but it will also be a good reminder for adults to have a healthy morning routine other than a shower and a cup of coffee!

The story follows a little girl through her morning routine, and each section talks about one of the following steps:

Going to bed early and waking up early Stretch, Ah, and Om Have a Family Hug Morning Poop Scrape Your Tongue Oil Your Nostrils Stretch Eat a Light Breakfast Play

The pictures are cute, and each section has kid-friendly verbiage on the left, and then a page on the right for adults with more detailed information. I think this is a good way for kids to be interested in the book without having all the factoids get in the way. There are a few recipes, too. I tried the Green Smoothie recipe, and it was delicious.

I sometimes find Ayurveda confusing, so I like the simple, whimsical approach that Good Morning Yogis Big and Small has.


Good Morning Yogis Big and Small by Cate Stillman

It is 8 ½ x 5 ½, 18 pages, and retails for $6. Check out the author's website for bulk deals.

Enter giveaway here.

Carolyn Clarke



Kids Yoga and Relaxation for Fear, Anxiety, and Worry

Local Authors with Arrow

I was honored to be part of the San Diego Local Authors exhibit. My book is enclosed in glass in the San Diego downtown library, along with a few hundred other local authors' creations. All the authors gathered for a reception and to accept an award.  This seems like a great thing, right?

Well, I was afraid.

It's funny how fear works.  Sometimes it's good- your fear might get you out of a dangerous situation. Other times it may be completely irrational.

I was scared to go to this author reception, alone, where I knew no one. What was I afraid of? I don't know, really. I guess the usual.. What if no one talked to me? What if no one liked me? What if I did something that made me look stupid? What should I wear? Ironically, I had anxiety about accepting an award for writing a book on relaxation!

So to help me face my fear of walking into a big reception alone and unknown, as I was driving to the reception, I thought through some of the stories in my relaxation book, Imaginations. I took deep breaths, and I walked in relatively relaxed and calm.  I ended up meeting many interesting authors and learning about a ton of local books.

I am an anxious, worrier. Sometimes I feel like a fraud for writing a relaxation book. BUT, I've realized that it's a good thing that I truly have to WORK at staying relaxed. I have to remind myself to breathe deeply. I have to do yoga. I have to tell myself that it is going to be okay, and I have to actively picture a "happy place" .  Each of the stories and techniques in my book have actively helped me, so I know they work, and I know that they can help an anxious, worried, or fearful child too.

I've been working on a lesson plan for my kids yoga class about fear, and thought I would share a  few suggested yoga poses for kids and fear/worry/anxiety:

  • Mountain Pose- Abby Willis has written a blog post called Yoga Poses for Kids: A powerful asana for soothing fear. It's a sweet way to address fear in Mountain Pose.
  • Warrior Pose- YogaKids Brave Warrior with Affirmations: "I am BRAVE"
  • I find that when I am scared, I contract my chest, so any chest-opening, heart opening yoga pose would be helpful. Like: Camel pose.
  • Sun Salutations or any Vinyasa flow- I find that when I get my body moving, the fear dissipates. It's like it burns off... Here We Are Together has a cute collection of pictures of a child doing Sun Salutations.
  • Animals- Anytime I am using fear as a theme, I give kids a chance to share what they are afraid of- lots of times they afraid of animals. We act out those animals with yoga: Dog Pose, Alligator Pose, Shark Pose, Bee Pose. If there isn't a pose, we make it up! I make sure to make it fun and silly... (I secretly am afraid of dogs, so anytime I'm around a dog that makes me uncomfortable, I imagine that I'm in Downward Dog Pose, and that helps.)
  • Breathing exercises- Slow calming breaths are great for facing fears. Try breathing with a Hoberman Sphere. Open it big and tall when you breathe in and close it when you breathe out.
  • Guided Relaxation- Reading a relaxation story, or "going to your happy place", can help calm your fears. Check out the Freebie section for a relaxation story here.

Here's a book that I have found helpful: What To Do When You Worry Too Much by Dawn Huebner

Also, I love:

There's An Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Meyer

And don't forget some music for Savasana:

Three Little Birds by Renee and Jeremy

I hope these techniques help the children in your life! (Or maybe even you!)



Carolyn Clarke



Announcing My New Children's Relaxation Story book!!!

A collection of read-aloud relaxation stories for kids accompanied by guided imagery that allows them to close their eyes, imagine, relax their bodies, and focus their minds. Image

This book provides stories to help children learn to calm their bodies and relax their minds. Teaching children the ability to consciously relax the body and clear the mind can also help address larger issues such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disorders, nightmares, or being scared of the dark at bedtime
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem or negativity
  • Life changes such as moving, divorce, changing schools, etc.

Wildly imaginative and full of whimsical joy, Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids imparts to children a life lesson as important as any other they will ever learn: relaxation makes your body feel good, your mind calm, and it's fun!

Here's a preview of the pictures inside:


Purchase this gift for your children, grandchildren, neices, nephews, students and any other children in your life here.

10 Inexpensive Yoga Props for Kids Yoga Teachers to Use in Class

If I’ve learned anything in my teaching, it is to keep things fun and new (for myself and the kids!) I Nothing seems to spruce up a yoga class better than some new props! Sometimes I feel like I have to spend lots of money on expensive, fun props, but sometimes the cheapest really are the best… Here are some great, inexpensive props all under $20 and some for free: 1. Pom-poms -Pom Pom Again

Use them to have kids do breath work. Put them on the ground and blow them, or blow at them through a straw. My preschool kids go bananas for these!

2. Bubbles - Great breath play, and you can usually get a package of bubbles at a party supply store or at Oriental Trading Company.

3. Paper plates- A paper plate can be a steering wheel in Car Pose, a shell in Turtle Pose, a plate in Table Pose, a sun for sun salutations, a dish of milk in Cat Pose, a bowl of Dog Food in Dog Pose, and on and on… Decorate them with markers as a fun craft- make your own mandalas. For less environmental guilt, get them at Whole Foods where they are biodegradable or recycled.

4. Easter Egg Shakers-Easter Egg Take large dried lima beans and put them in plastic easter eggs- viola! Musical egg shakers to dance and move with.

5. Tulle- A long streamer of tulle (sp?) is a fun dance streamer. Fun for music and creative movement.

6. Dry erase paperboard- Use these over and over, for drawing crafts, visual displays, card games, etc…

7. Music- Download a fun song or two off of I-Tunes, or get a CD that you know you will use all of the songs over and over again to get your money’s worth (like Kira Willey’s Dance for the Sun on, or any of the Laurie Berkner CD’s)

8. Library books- lots of fun books can be found at the library, and they are free! Just remember to return them on time (I seem to have trouble with that…)

9. Nature- Go on a nature walk at the beach, in the woods, etc. Gather anything that you might want to use in a yoga class as a prop. Rocks are fun focuses for balances and can be used to create worry stones or inspirational paperweights (decorate with words like “peace”, “love”, “Namaste”.) Or simply gather some flowers, feathers, driftwood, etc that would make a nice altar for the class. Of course, be respectful with what you take and use… Also, a bouquet of gerbera daisies are one of my favorite props. They cost only a few bucks, and can be wonderful for gazing meditations, or a gift at the end of a yoga class for each child. There is something magical about yoga and fresh flowers combined!

10. Stickers- Print your own or find fun packs. Use them as rewards at the end of class, as focus points for balancing, or use them on hands and feet for right and left.

Have fun!


Carolyn Clarke

How to Talk and Listen

There’s something so appealing about the book’s title, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk. As soon as I saw the book, I knew that it would be helpful during yoga teaching. I can’t count how many times it has felt like I was talking to the walls during class…

This book has several topic-based chapters filled with advice, scenarios, quick summaries, and even cartoons. I have found many of the recommendations helpful, so here are some bits and pieces from the book and how I have used them in class.

Dealing With Feelings

A basic premise of this book is that we need to accept and respect children’s feelings. This can be done by listening quietly or acknowledging their feelings with a word or two- “Oh, I see….” You can also do this by naming the feeling for them- “That sounds upsetting/frustrating/like it hurt your feelings etc.”. Another option is to give children their wishes in a fantasy world (“I wish I could take a magic wand and create another yoga mat, but since there aren’t enough for everyone, you’ll need to share!”) The book explains that all feelings can be accepted, but actions can be limited. “I understand how angry you are that she stole the Beanie Baby, but you need to tell her that in words, not with your hands.”

Engaging A Child’s Cooperation

I am always looking for ways to get children in class to cooperate. Although the book gives many ideas that are particularly helpful for parents, the suggestion that I have used most as a teacher is to say what you are asking for in a single word. I get tired of hearing my voice explaining to the same kid over and over that they need to participate with the rest of class, go back to their mat, etc… So now, when I feel like I have repeated myself over and over to Little Johnny, I say, “John… Mat…” and I point his mat. It’s been helpful, and it has kept me from going hoarse.

Punishment Alternatives

This book also has a chapter on punishment alternatives. My favorite is giving the child a choice. You can do yoga poses with the rest of the class or you can sit out and Take 5. You decide.” Another suggestion is to state your behavior expectations. “I expect you to walk to a mat quietly and sit in Pretzel Pose until class starts.” This has worked well for me when I am talking to the whole group instead of a single child.

Encouraging Autonomy

I particularly enjoyed the section in this book about encouraging autonomy. We have so many opportunities to do this within a yoga class. It suggests letting children make choices. (“When you grow from your seed become a flower or a tree.”) It also recommends showing respect for the child’s struggle. (“Tree Pose can be hard to balance in. Try standing next to the wall and using your arm for balance if you need to…”). Another suggested way to encourage autonomy is to keep from rushing in to answer questions. So if Susie asks a question you can say, “Hmmm… What do you think?” This also gives you a little more time to think if it is a particularly challenging or uncomfortable question.

Giving Praise and Boosting Self-Esteem

How to Talk also gives some great recommendations on giving praise and boosting self-esteem. At times I feel like I robotically say, “Good job”, after every pose in a yoga class. I didn’t realize I how often I said it until I heard a little girl in one of my classes parroting back “Good job, good job.” The book suggests to describe instead of evaluate what you see. I see long straight spines, arms on our sides, and I don’t hear any talking. Look at these strong Mountains.” Summing up good behavior with a word is also recommended. “John, you gave some of your marbles to Susie when she ran out. Now that’s what I call sharing! I’ve even starting teaching the yamas and niyamas with this technique. “Jane, you were happy with the purple flower even though your favorite color is pink. That’s what we call santosha in yoga.”

Freeing Children From Playing Roles

The book finishes with talking about how to get children to stop playing the roles in which they have been cast (by parents, teachers, etc.) I know that I’ve come to expect certain behavior from certain kids in my class, and they do tend to play the role of the troublemaker when I think that way. How To Talk gives lots of recommendations to help free kids from these roles. One way is to show the child a new picture of themselves- “You’ve been sitting quietly in Pretzel Pose after turning in your Beanie Baby.” Another is to put a child in a situation where they can see themselves differently- “John, can you collect all the ABC Yoga cards and put them in the basket?”. The book also suggests that you let children overhear something positive about them. I try to say something positive to a parent in front of the child if I have previously had some problems with them.

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and How To Listen So Kids Will Talk is a book that I would highly recommend for a boost in classroom management ideas. I’ve pulled a few of my favorite tidbits, but I suggest picking up a copy at your local library and reading it from cover to cover. It’s a quick read, and I think you’ll end taking notes on the summary pages to easily remember some of the words of wisdom. You might even end up using it with adults… “Honey, the garbage!”

The Holidays

I can remember being a kid and thinking that the time from Halloween to Christmas seemed to take years! And now I'm realizing that I haven't made a single post since before Halloween and now it is almost Christmas, and the time seemed like a few days! So here are some holiday things that I've taught for the last few months...

Halloween- Spooky Yoga Halloween

I love Halloween yoga! Here are some things we did:

  • We talked about bones  and skeletons
  • Made scary faces while stretching the muscles in our faces
  • Black cats- Meow!
  • Pumpkin squats (Sit in squat and make a Jack o Lantern face)
  • Gate pose- with lots of Squeaks
  • Work as partners back to back and move arms and legs to become spiders

Thanksgiving- Thankful Yoga

ThanksgivingThere are so many wonderful things to do for Thanksgiving because being grateful for what you have in the present moment is such a huge part of yoga. I always start off a Thanksgiving class with going around the circle to ask what the kids are thankful for ("my parents", "my cat", "trains", "chairs" and lots more things). Here are some other things we do:

  • Strut around like Turkeys
  • Make apple pies to Kira Willey's Making Pie
  • Table Pose
  • Chair Pose

This year I also read I wonderful book recommended to me by another YogaKids teacher, Heather Wurtzle. The book was Thank You World by Alice McGinty.

December Holidays- Peace on Earth Yoga 

Peace on EarthI love December and the holidays during the month. I celebrate Christmas, so many of the things that I include in the class are Christmas inspired, but we always do candle pose for the lighting of the  menorah. Here are some other things we do:

  • Christmas tree decorating- Kids work with partners. One stands in tree while the other decorates the "tree" with tinsel or garlands

Christmas tree

  • Pass the present- Similar to hot potato, but when the music stops, the person holding the present comes up with a yoga pose for us all to do
  • Star Pose
  • Acting out carols- Like 12 Days of Christmas!

I also always talk lots about peace- we send out peace to the whole world  during December. Did you feel it?

So, I know that it is probably too late to use most of these ideas, but save them for next year!

With love and light,

Happy Holidays,


Giving the World a Big Hug

Hugg A Planet I recently bought a Hugg-A-Planet. It's a giant stuffed earth. We had so much fun in yoga class with it. It was so inspiring to see each child hug it- it's like each child could grow up to save our hurting earth... It made me feel better that the world is in these fresh new hands.

Find it on:

Whole World

We also read Whole World and acted out the song with yoga poses. This book by Chris Corr and Fred Penner has great pictures and changes the emphasis from the traditional religious song of "He's got the whole world" to "We've got the whole world in our hands." This makes it more appropriate for a public school setting. A wonderful book for empowering children to take action and change the world. This book also has a CD so you can easily act out the song with yoga poses.


Carolyn Clarke

A Rumble in the Jungle

Yesterday I taught a fun class at a summer camp at a Montessori school. The theme was the jungle, and we had such fun romping around like animals. We read Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae. This is a great children's book about all the different animals in the jungle. We became Elephants, Chimpanzees, Zebras, Giraffes, and more. Lion was especially fun since we listened to the Lion Sleeps Tonight song. Rumble in the Jungle