One of the best things about being at a school where the administration team truly believes in the health and wellness of teachers is being able to share your own personal interests with the children in your class. Many kids tell me that they know me as the teacher who’s class run laps every morning to get their brains ready- in my opinion, there are worse reputations to have! I am very open with them about how important it is for myself and for my family to practice healthy habits each and every day. This dialogue about fitness and nutrition may happen while we are sharing the talking rock on Monday mornings, while we are eating lunch, or when I share pictures with the kids about races I have done. I like to communicate with then the variety of things I like to do- running, cycling, swimming, and yoga and that it’s the combination of different sports and the use of different muscles that keeps me motivated to keep moving.
We have been doing more yoga recently than we have in the past- partly because I feel so strongly about the benefits of yoga for young children, and also because I have been working so hard on my personal practice. This week for Fitness Friday I made a slideshow for the kids about how different yoga looks like for different people. We saw all ages, races, and sizes, small groups and large groups, families and individuals. We talked about how yoga can be for everyone and what’s important is that you find your own meaning within the practice. The kids were so enthralled to see a football team of “big strong dudes” doing yoga, as well as a lady who “looked like a grandma.” I was so moved by the attention they paid and the comments they made about yoga being for everyone.
From here we learned a quick Good Morning Flow, based on the story “ Good Morning, Yoga” by Mariam Gates. I gave the kids the option to listen to the story and do the poses, or to just relax and listen. By the ends, all 20 kids were flowing through the poses in their own way. It was beautiful.
We concluded this Fitness Friday by playing a game called Pom Pom feeling game. In this game each child pulled a pom pom and had to share a feeling associated with that pom pom. For example, blue pom poms represented something that made then happy, so if they had this color in their hand they shared a time when they felt happy. It was a great way for kids to open up, and also understand that their classmates all share similar emotions- the good and the bad.
This lesson was powerful on so many levels- we explored how different yoga can look and allowed them to tune into their own feeling associated with it. This is something that we need to make more time for…slow down, tune in, and enjoy each day.