Here in Toronto, Canada there is an “Extreme Heat Advisory” today. The air is hot and sticky and on the news they predict we’ll beat the hottest day on record! Yesterday was almost as hot and my kids yoga classes weren’t easy. The kids were tired after each exercise, a bunch of children kept saying they didn’t want to do yoga. When I asked them why, they said, “We’re tired.” Speaking the whole time in that monotone way that kids do.
This calls for a change of plans. Here are some ideas if you face such a situation.
5 Ways to Beat the Heat in Kids Yoga Class
1. Slow Yoga:
on days when you can fry tofu on the sidewalk, I prefer to stick to slow yoga poses, focused more on stretching than raising the heart rate. I go with simple back bends, side stretches and lunging poses. Forward bends and long flow sequences build up too much heat. I hate feeling hot breath and sweaty chin during sitting forward bend or child pose on a hot day like this. So my advice, open up with simple slow stretches and stay cool.
2. Eye Exercises:
in a 30 minutes class doing yogic eye exercises usually get left out. These three simple
eye workouts are perfect to dust off on a hot day:
- Circles: Move your eyes in a circle like you are watching the second hand of a clock (first clockwise, then counter-clockwise). Try to move as slowly as the second hand. Time the kids and see if they can guess how long a minute is without looking at a clock.
- Directions: Eyes look left, right, up, down. Repeat directions. Then call out directions and have the kids follow along.
- Distance: Softly place your hand over your closed eyes. Move your hands a couple millimeters away from your eyes and open your eyes. Try to focus on the lines on your hands. Then start to move your hands away from your eyes slowly, until your elbows are straight. Keep focusing on the lines on your hands throughout. To finish imagine you are looking through your hands, through the wall, and out at the horizon at something far, far away.
3. Water Play and Gratitude Meditation:
Yesterday, all the kids were wearing bathing suits because they had water play planned for the afternoon activity. Wouldn’t it be fun to water a tree pose or give a bath to a downward dog?!
But if that’s not possible here’s an alternative. Get each child a glass of water or put a big water jug in the middle of the class. Talk about all the things water does. Water lets us live! It lets us cook and clean, it lets us swim and play. Why else do we need water? After having a discussion about water, sit silently for one or two minutes to meditate on the gift of water.
Then at the end everyone drinks a glass of the water in front of them. How does it taste after the gratitude meditation? Does it taste any different?
4. Breathing and Visualization:
Try visualizing yourselves up in the Arctic watching for Polar Bears and riding on an iceberg. Float around in this cool oasis for nice long relaxation.
5. Coloring/Stories Activity Time:
There are so many great stories and coloring activities for the end of a yoga class. I save these special activities for days like this when heat trumps strenuous yoga. How about coloring your Arctic Visualization? Or tell a Zen Shorts
story or Aesop’s Fable and invite the children to color a picture after. These drawings give me insight into where the children are at. Sometimes I learn things I wouldn’t find out in a regular yoga class. For instance, I found out about some of the worries kids have when they drew pictures of their worry tree.
This probably won’t be the last heat wave of the summer and hopefully you can get into air conditioning to ease the smothering effect of the heat. But if you do have a hot day and some yoga to teach, try these to stay cool.
Have you done any other activities that help kids stay cool in the sweltering heat? What activities, stories, or yoga poses do you like to lead?
My Four Year Blog-iversary Celebration
P.S. My four year Blog-iversary is coming up next month. Yes that’s four years since my first blog post. 227 posts later I’m thinking of a special way to celebrate so stay tuned for the details. Thanks to everyone who’s been reading the Young Yoga Masters blog. I appreciate you following and subscribing and love to get your input and comments. Stay tuned – blog party next week.
Young Yoga Masters is pleased to be promoting the Y.O.G.A. for Youth Teacher Training being offered in Toronto, Canada.
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This 40-hour training program takes place from October 13 – 17, 2011. I don’t get a chance to take too many courses, but I’m clearing my calendar to take this one. I’ve had the chance to study with Krishna Kaur, the founder of Y.O.G.A. for Youth – she’s the real deal. She has over forty years of yogic experience and knowledge to share.
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Aruna Kathy Humphrys says
Thanks for the comment Donna. Those are great ideas!
Donna Freeman says
It is vital that our yoga practice reflect the seasons, just as our clothing, foods & activities do.
I also like to break out the mindfulness activities as per #3 Water Meditation – mindfully eating a raisin or dried apple and talking about nutrition or playing Stick Art (watch the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lIc0v5g82Q) are wonderful ways to slow down and develop awareness.
When I teach eye yoga (#2) to kids I like to link in learning to tell time on an analog clock – try out http://yogainmyschool.com/2009/09/30/yoga-eyes-teaches-kids-how-to-tell-time/
[email protected] says
Thank you for the tips. I love yoga. It made a tremendous impact on my health. I have asthma since I have been six years old (I am now 25). It was my doctor who advised me to do yoga for breathing technique. Now, I’m feeling real better!
Jo Green says
Great tips! These are good for adults too! Congrats on your blog-iversary!