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




Learn to Use Guided Imagery with Kids- This Thursday 8/22

Imagining Rainbows and Rocket Ships:

Guided Imagery for Relaxation and Learning

thumbnail (2)

Recipe for Guided Imagery:

1 Fun Theme

1-5 Senses with Imagery

A sprinkle of whimsy

Stir slowly. Take a deep breath. And relax....

I hope you can join us for this webinar. It's going to be informative, imaginative, and fun!

P.S. Bring a piece of chocolate for the webinar!


Thursday, August 22, 5:00-6:00 pm PDT/8:00-9:00 pm EDT

Presenter: Carolyn Clarke, author of Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids

Join Carolyn for a webinar on child-friendly guided visualization techniques filled with rainbows and rocket ships. Participants will learn about the benefits of guided imagery, as well as practical ways to create a child-friendly environment for guided imagery and relaxation. Participants will also experience a guided visualization leaving them calm, relaxed, and ready to share guided imagery with children.

Who should attend this webinar:

  • Yoga teachers striving to create a more relaxing and imaginative yoga class experience
  • Parents wanting to reduce their child's anxiety and stress in daily life and at bedtime
  • Educators looking for ways to create a calm classroom to facilitate learning

Bonus: One lucky participant will win a copy of Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids

COST: $29 USD / FREE for Members of Kids Yoga Academy

Register Here at Kids Yoga Academy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Namaste,


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




20 Reasons I Love Teaching Kids Yoga

Teaching Rory Yoga I recently wrote a guest post on Giselle Shardlow's Kids Yoga Stories blog. It's a list of some of the reasons I love teaching kids yoga. Giselle originally asked me for a sentence or two about what I love most about teaching kids yoga, and I was stumped. It's a hard thing for me to sum up in a few words because every day I love something different about it. So, I started procrastinating... And avoiding. And mulling... I finally motivated myself to write when I decided to have fun with it by making a silly (yet soulful) list. I think it was a good reminder that in order for me to accomplish something, I have to make it fun and not take "work" so seriously!

Here's a few from the list:


  • Feeling the frenetic energy of a group of kids come into the room before class
  • Kids saying “Hi Yoga” because they think my name is Yoga
  • Having the trunk of my car filled with Beanie Babies, yoga mats, chimes, toys, Lavender oil, Heart pillows, picture books, and a parachute, instead of something “boringly adult” like car cleaning supplies or the dry cleaning

To read all 20, visit the full post at Kids Yoga Stories.



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



"Lovey-Dovey" Yoga- 5 Valentines Activities for Kids Yoga

Hearts and rory and words

My favorite month for kids yoga is February! I use the theme of L-O-V-E  all month long!

1. Love Breath-

Take a deep breath in, say LOVE when you breathe out.

2. IKEA Love Pillow Breath-


Hold this heart pillow.

Bring the arms out when you breathe in to make room for the air, and then wrap the arms around the heart when you breathe out. Visual cues like this make it easy for kids to play with their breath.  You can have the kids take turns using the pillow to lead.

3. Rocking Chair pose-

  • Lie on your belly.
  • Bend your knees.
  • Stetch your arms back to reach your feet.
  • Pull your feet up to make the front of your body rounded.
  • Rock back and forth like a Rocking Chair.
  • Feel how open the area is around your heart- send some love to someone who needs it!

4. Partner Back Massage

  • Sit on the floor, with your legs stretched out like a V.
  • Have a friend sit in front of you, and they can stretch their legs out like a V too. Keep having friends sit down in the same way until you run out of friends J
  • Give the person in front of you a shoulder and neck rub.  You can use different techniques- lightly rub their back, gently chop (like a gentle karate chop), and then draw heart s or other shapes with the palms of your hands or your fingers.
  • Note: I always have kids ask the person in front of them if it is okay to give them a back massage. If you are doing this with lots of kids, and someone doesn’t want a back rub, have them be the first one to sit down. If you are doing this with only one partner, then switch places so both have a chance to receive a massage.

5. A FREE Loving Kindness Meditation

Loving Kindness meditations are a sweet way to integrate love into yoga. Download this FREE Loving Kindness relaxation story from Imaginations here.

I hope you enjoy doing Lovey-Dovey yoga with your students or family.

Sending you lots of love,


Carolyn Clarke


The Grinch's Heart Chakra!

GrinchHeart (Image from

I lucked out yesterday with a last minute ticket for Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas at the San Diego’s Old Globe Theater!  It’s been a long time since I read the book or saw the movie, so it was as if I was hearing the story for the first time.  What struck me about the play was how “yoga” it is.

This is actually a story about the heart chakra! Initially, the Grinch’s heart is cold and closed- he hates Christmas, carols, holiday feasts, toys, and children.  But, he connects with one little girl, Cindy Lou Who.  She shows him compassion and forgiveness for being the Grinch that he is, and her open heart helps him open HIS heart! On stage, the Grinch’s heart lights up and we hear it beat loudly. His heart chakra is opening! The chakra of love, compassion, and kindness. And guess what color is the color of the heart chakra- GREEN! The color of the Grinch!

I was planning on putting together a Grinch yoga lesson plan, and stumbled across this post on my friend Angela’s Moorad’s blog, OmAzing Kids, here.  This makes my lesson planning easy! We must be connected at the heart chakra this week! Thank you Angela!

I also thought of the Loving Kindness relaxation story in my book, Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids. It says:

"Now think of someone who is mean or unfriendly. Send this person some love, too. Sometimes people are mean because they don't feel loved. So send this person some extra love."

So our challenge as yogis is to send some extra love to all the Grinches out there from our heart chakras to their heart chakras!!!

With love and gratitude,

Carolyn Clarke

Great article on helping kids get ready for school using Yoga!

I love this article and I think it's got some wonderful ideas, including using a focus point (Drishti), breathing, taking care of yourself, the importance of the company you keep, leading with kindness, and experiencing with a beginner's mind. Only thing I'd add is guided imagery, like the stories you can find in my book, Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids! Here's the article on!

Guided Imagery and Athletes

Great article on imagery boosting performance. We use lots of guided imagery in kids yoga! Maybe they'll be in the Olympics twenty years from now! Guided imagery for kids can be found in my new book, Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids!

(Picture from



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.

Creative Movement in Yoga Class

The longer I teach yoga to kids, the more I look for fun ways for children to experiment and enjoy moving their bodies. Creative movement is such a wonderful way to make exercise and stretching fun! Here are some of my favorite creative movement activities (and although they aren't all exactly yoga poses, they are mind/body exercises):

  1. Dance ribbons- cut long pieces of ribbon or tulle, and tie them onto the end of a stick, unsharpened pencil, or even chopsticks. Turn on music and twirl. You can lead the kids in poses too- arm circles, painting rainbows, etc.
  2. Egg Shakers- one of my favorite props ever... Use Laurie Berkner's I Know A Chicken song.
  3. Hokey Pokey- a classic, but uses balancing skills that help with yoga poses
  4. Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes- Touching toes is a forward bend.
  5. Yoga Flows- Let the kids make up their own flows using yoga poses or their own movements

A find that "creative" time is a good balance to poses that require some attention to alignment (Like the warrior poses and Triangle). Reward attention paid to alignment with some creative time afterwards...  Or, use creative time to release some energy before moving into poses that require some stillness.

Have fun!

Ways to Get Children's Attention in a Yoga Class (other than yelling)

There are always days when it seems like the last thing the kids in my yoga class want to do is.... yoga! So this is when it takes patience and creativity to get the children's attention. These are some of my tricks that I use depending on what feels right in the moment:

  1. Musical instrument- A Tibetan bell, drum, gong, finger cymbals, or any other musical instrument. Ring it, beat it, and play it to get their attention. Saves your vocal chords and works like a charm...
  2. Whispering- Instead of yelling, try whispering. Sometimes talking very softly will have a quieting effect on the chitter-chatter, especially if you make it sound like you are trying to tell them a VERY important secret!
  3. Singing- I love to sing, and often I break out into spontaneous song instead of yelling. I sing things like: "Everyone back to your mat"; "I'm waiting for you to be quiet"... Operatic style. It always seems to get their attention.
  4. Striking a New Pose- They might not be paying attention because they are bored... Sometimes I go into a new, challenging yoga pose to get their attention... Try Crow, King Dancer, or a spontaneous Handstand against the wall. It tends to peak interest...
  5. New Music- Try changing the energy level  of the music. Put on some upbeat groovy music for yoga flows, Sun Salutations, or free dancing.

I switch up these various tools to keep my students' attention (and my own sanity). Have fun and don't forget to keep your sense of humour!

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!”

January's Taste of YogaKids Workshop

Last month, I held a Taste of YogaKids Workshop at San Diego State University. There were a variety of people there including yoga teachers, nutritionists, therapists, and school teachers. It was such a great group of people with diverse experiences, but the thing we all had in common was the joy in sharing yoga with children. The day started off with covering calming, quieting poses and breathing, and then moved into some more dynamic, energizing poses. We also talked about the YogaKids Elements, the part of the YogaKids program that truly sets it apart from other children's yoga programs. After a lunch break we covered ways to integrate music, language arts, science, visual arts, storytelling, and affirmations into a yoga session. Throughout the day we covered more than fifty yoga poses specifically geared for kids!

After a guided visualization, participants were sent off relaxed and empowered to share yoga with children.

I'm always so excited to teach these workshops and share all that I have learned since I began teaching yoga to kids in 2002. What is also so inspiring, is that I always learn from the participants as well. I love the idea sharing that happens!

If you are interested in attending a future workshop, let me know at or keep checking for updates.


Carolyn Clarke

Eco Yoga Mats

Found this interesting post on eco-yoga mats:

I plan on buying eco yoga mats the next time I make a bulk purchase, and I thought this was a great resource with a list of sources for eco yoga mats. When I do replace my mats, I don't want to just toss them, and it has a great link to ideas for reusing old yoga mats. The best idea for teaching was to cut up old yoga mats to make shapes and letters for kids games or stamps.  You can use cookie cutters and an xacto knife, or just freehand it! For older kids, they could make their own stamps.

Here's a link to all sorts of cookie cutters to choose from: 

Have fun!


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