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Children’s books and yoga: A peaceful combination!

March 30, 2012

Over the winter, Suzanne Loring, CLiF’s program director, received a call from Kat Colby, the community coordinator for CLiF’s Community Literacy Program in Gilman and Lunenburg, Vermont. Kat wanted to know if she could use part of her program budget to purchase yoga mats. Suzanne, after a moment’s hesitation, asked the obvious question: “What do yoga mats have to do with books?”

Kat explained that she wanted to read aloud books about sharing and kindness with kindergarten children and then illustrate story’s teaching with yoga poses, breathing, and meditation.

Suzanne thought it was a fun idea and encouraged Kat to go for it.

The first sessions were a hit with kindergarteners, and Kat turned yoga and books into a weekly practice.

Here is a little summary of a recent session:

After our namaste greeting, yoga song, sounding “OM,” and warming up with some Sun Salutations, we read The Red Hen by Rebecca and Ed Emberley. This is a version of The Little Red Hen, who would really like some help from her friends to make a cake, but no one will help her. But when the yummy cake is finished, everyone wants to help eat it!

We made a circle and talked about how much better it is to help out our friends when they ask, and then we went around the circle and held hands with our friends as we promised to help each other out whenever we can.

We practiced backbends like Cobra, Bow, and Camel to help open our hearts and clear our lungs. Backbends encourage compassion and positivity. We melted into Child’s Pose for a rest and finished with a seated meditation that brought us back to our breath and heart. 

Kat continues to find great children’s books to pair with yoga poses. She has read Sled Dogs Run by Jonathan London and taught the kids poses like Downward Dog and Extended Puppy. She also taught them poses from the Warrior series and had discussions about bravery after reading The Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash.

This level of creativity in finding ways to inspire children to enjoy and discuss books is just what CLiF envisioned when we set out to develop community-based literacy programs in northern Vermont and New Hampshire. Local knowledge and ideas are fantastic. We have to admit, we wouldn’t have thought to pair yoga with children’s books!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    March 30, 2012 5:05 pm

    What a great idea! Sounds like the perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon. If you’d like suggestion for future reading, you should check out RA Jones’ The Obsidian Pebble (http://www.rajonesauthor.com/). It’s an adventure, so I bet pairing it with the Warrior series would work well, too!

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