Using Live Flowers in Kids Yoga Classes

Sunny One of my favorite things to do in a springtime yoga class (or anytime, really), is to bring in fresh flowers for my yoga students. Here's why I love using fresh flowers in yoga:

1) Smiles-

The children's faces light up when they see them. It is an instant mood-lifter. That alone is enough of a reason, but there are more reasons...

2) Mindfulness-

Flowers invoke mindfulness. Thus the phrase, "Stop and smell the roses."  Their beauty and fragance can stop us in our tracks. Ever go on a walk with a toddler? Chances are they stopped to look at each flower along the way.  I like to encourage mindfulness by having each child hold a flower (stay away from thorny stems like roses).  We gaze at the flower in silence for an age appropriate amount of time. I find that the longer that you look at the flower, the more colors and textures you notice. I discovered this when I was lucky enough to get a massage in French Polynesia- the therapist put a hibiscus flower in a vase on the floor under the head rest, so for an hour I gazed at the flower. At first it was just a red hibiscus, but then I started to see variations of colors and textures that I never would have noticed if I'd just walked past it.  So, ring a bell to start the flower meditation, have a period of silence, and then ring a bell afterwards. Ask the children what they noticed about their flower.

3) Breathing-

If your flowers are fragrant (which I recommend), do a "breathing exercise". Take long deep breaths to smell the flower all together as a group. Discuss.

4) Balancing and Standing-

I love holding a flower while doing standing yoga poses:

  • Extended mountain- Reach your flower up to the sky
  • Crescent moon- Bend side to side with your flower, just like it does in the wind
  • Flowering tree pose- Hold the flower in one of your branches and pretend your tree is blooming
  • Warrior 3- Strecth your flower out in front of you
  • Seed to Tree- Curl up child's pose and then sprout out of your seed to become a flowering tree (inspired by YogaKids)
  • Ask the kids for their ideas- they will have some ideas, too, for doing yoga with the flowers

5)Sitting/Floor Work-

There are lots of fun things you can do with the flower while on the floor too.

  • Make a bouquet- Have all the kids sit in a circle with feet touching, extend your flowers up in the air (Staff Pose), then forward bend and bring your flowers to the center towards your toes
  • Rest your flower in your lap for any kind of arm stretches or side stretches
  • Table pose- Set the table with a flower on your belly, or a flower on your back depending on which style of table pose you are doing (or try both)
  • Ask again for kids ideas!


Rest the flower on your belly for belly breathing and savasana (Prompt the kids to picture the flower, smell the flower, feel the flower while they are relaxing.)

7) Paying it Forward-

You can send the flowers home with the kids. OR I bring in a vase or mason jar, and suggest to the kids that we put all of our flowers together in the vase and give it to someone that might appreciate it (teacher at the school, someone's parent that just had a baby, or the owner of the studio, etc.) It's fun to see who they come up with to give it to. If they can't all agree on one person, then ask each child to give their own flower to someone of their own choosing.

8) Eco-friendly-

I love using props in kids yoga, and I especially like when a "prop" is from the earth and biodegradable... Remind them to put the flower in their green garbage bin or compost bin if they are taking the flowers home. Using flowers helps bring a connection with the earth into the classroom or yoga studio, and it is fitting for the week of Earth Day!

A few tips-

Make sure that the flowers you bring in aren't poisonous or prickly.... I like picking out flowers with rigid stems (Think sunflowers over tulips) so that they stay straight during our poses. If you are just doing mindfulness exercises and not asana with the flowers, then choose beauty and fragrance over sturdiness!

Also, if you have too many kids in your class to make flowers feasible, a single flower or a small potted plant is a nice addition to the center of a circle of mats and creates a good focus point for meditation and balancing.

Have a wonderful time using flowers in your class! And take some pictures!



Carolyn Clarke




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