Practicing Mindfulness: Concentration in Action
This week has been great having the Olympics on TV. The kids are really interested in them. In one daycare I taught three Olympic classes, each 30 minutes long. We did Olympic yoga poses like:
- Archer Pose for Archery
- Downward Dog for Diving
- Triangle Pose for Javelin and Shot Put
- Warrior Three for Balance Beam
- Rowing movements for Rowing
The theme worked with kindergarten age (4-6 years), junior school age group (7 – 8 years), and also senior school age group (9 – 10 years).
Creating Games In the Kids Yoga Class
One thing about teaching yoga that I recommend is going into a class prepared with a theme or idea, then stay open and flexible to new ideas that come up. It keeps the classes more interesting when you allow your lesson plan to be adjusted.
For instance in the rowing exercises we started with singles rowing which turned into a listening game. “Toes” meant reach forward and touch your toes, “back” meant lean back. I started off calling these out and occasionally switching them around to mix it up and see if the kids are listening.
Kids love a challenge like this. With the younger group we were laughing and having fun with this simple game.
The Lesson Plan Changes for each Age Group
The older classes are more outspoken and more imaginative. I offered those doing the pose a “promotion” to caller. They got to call out toes or back, and try to trick their friends. Some of them made up their own calls and movements too, which really kept everyone concentrating – with a big smile!
The older children chose a final group pose involving everyone rowing one imaginary boat that took teamwork and concentration to move together.
Get to Know Your Kids Through the Games and Activities
One interesting thing: a child who is talkative or interrupts can often become quiet and shy when they are asked to speak in front of people. It may seem like they have a natural ability to do public speaking, but this is not always true.
As teachers we can find this out with games and activities the many sides to each child and offer opportunities for them to build skills that are lacking. It also gives clues for future class themes that will help the kids grow and develop themselves.
With the Olympic yoga poses and games, kids build focus and concentration and time flies by. Just like the real Olympic Games we can enjoy the fun while it lasts.