You’d have to be living in a cave to not have heard about the Hunger Games phenomenon.

Tweens, teens, and young adults lined up for days for the movie premier, showed up by the thousands at shopping malls, and stayed up for midnight showings I decided to read the book last week.  It was good, exciting, and a quick read.

A teen is doing yoga with a beautiful blue sky in he background

Get teens doing some yoga – Hunger Games style – like upward hands pose to reach for the stars.

My twelve year old nephew actually went on a field trip with his class today to see the movie.  The teacher read the book aloud to the class last week.  It was part of Media Literacy.

The popularity of the Hunger Games has also been inspiring workouts. So let’s try out this theme for our tween and teen yoga.

Consider these ideas for a Hunger Games yoga session to connect with the 12 years and up yoga crowd.

9 Ways The Hunger Games can Make Yoga with Teens Fun

  1. Social Proof: Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss), Woody Harrelson (Haymych), and Lenny Kravitz (Cinna) are all known yogis. People Magazine reported Lawrence did yoga to get ready for the part.  I grabbed the Hunger Games People Magazine copy to use as a prop for teaching.
  2. Training Camp Stations: Hold your own Hunger Games Training Camp with yoga poses (see below for ideas).  Set up stations like the Tributes had in their training camp. Then ask the kids to show you their best moves at the end – just hide the pigs.
  3. Archer Pose: the movie poster shows the star of the movie with her bow and arrow.  Sounds like a great time for Archer Pose.
  4. Hero Pose: try sitting between your heels, or reclining hero pose in your lesson plan.
  5. Warrior Poses –  all the versions of the Warrior Poses will go with this theme.
  6. Obstacle courses: or any activities involving running, jumping, or climbing can make everyone a Tribute in the Hunger Games arena.
  7. Muddy Shivasana: for relaxation imagine being covered in mud and not being able to move.  Play the song Tomorrow Will Be Kinder or Safe and Sound from the Hunger Games Soundtrack
  8. Silent Movement Game – Play a game with one person “it” in child pose who keeps their eyes closed or is blindfolded. The others move silently around the room.  Then call freeze and the person “it”  finds the people who are frozen without being able to see where they are frozen.  Was the person found first making the most noise? The last person found is the winner of the Games and gets to be “it” next.
  9. The Familiar Reluctant Warrior: The Bhagavad Gita is also the story of a reluctant warrior fighting to the death.  Have a conversation about whether there are times when a person has to fight.  What if you need to protect yourself or someone else who can’t protect themselves?  Could they have fought in the Hunger Games? Save 15 minutes for this discussion because it will probably be a good one.

I wish they had Media Literacy when I was twelve!

What has been the reaction to the Hunger Games with your students?  Have an idea for a Hunger Games lesson plan or discussion with tweens or teens?  Have you read the book or seen the movie yet?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. This is really interesting, very good.

  2. Love all the creative ideas and applications of the Hunger Games. I’ve read all 3 books and was brainstorming on this exact topic. I love finding what youth are interested in and using it as a spring board for yoga and mindfulness lessons. It keep the kids interested and they learn valuable health and wellness skills. Thanks for sharing, Aruna. Well-done.

    In an interview the director said he felt youth were able to identify with the conflict in the film because as they grow up they are thrown into a conflicted, often contrary world, where they have to fight to maintain their identity. They understand Katniss’s inner turmoil. Book 2 and 3 go even more into the brutal effects the Hunger Games have on people emotionally. I won’t give the ending away but truly the books are about overcoming great hardships and coming to terms with the sacrifices and pain of life.

    Donna Freeman

    • Thanks for coming by Donna. I’m waiting for the second book to come out in paperback or to borrow it from someone.

      Yes, its easy to empathize with Katniss’s inner turmoil, seeing her sister get picked for the games after she practically raised her! I see how she is meant to inspire youth to step up even at risk for their own safety. I’m sure a few teens can relate to this in their schools.

  3. I have not read the book, but I hear it is excellent!
    I did see the movie and found it to be heavy in grauitous violence. My 11-year old has not really been bitten by the reading bug yet, but she wants to see the movie. I told her if she reads the first book, she can. I am surprised that no one seems the least bit phased by the violence of the film or the desesitization of our tolerance for it. Is this not on anyones radar?
    Now I need to read the book. In the movie, are they at war? It appeared that the societal elite are mearley using human lives for the shear purpose of entertainment, amusement and as a form of population control.

    • Hi Kadie,

      Thanks for your comment – YES there are a lot of people who object to this book and movie!

      Even when I was buying the book a grandmotherly looking lady told me she was refusing to read it because of the storyline. So you are not alone in your hesitation. I was hoping there would be other opinions here in the comments so I’m glad you left a comment.

      Personally I recommend the book over the movie, it goes into the internal struggle of the heroine in more depth and gives much more background about the society. The government uses the Hunger Games as a form of oppression, a way to show their dominance and the people’s submission.

      I haven’t read the second book yet, but the book and the movie point towards the people rising up against it all, an uprising sparked by the heroine of the book. She gives them hope to change their world.

      I think the story connects with youth because the teen years are all about developing opinions separate from the previous generation. That being said – it is a teen fiction book and not every 11 year old would be ready for this book/movie. I like your solution of getting your daughter to read the book first if she really wants to find out.

      I read the book because I kept hearing about it from teens/tweens. I wanted to find out why they connected with the book. The youth I talked to say the violence shows the horror of war and does not glorify it.

      If youth are reading the book anyway, I use it as an opportunity for discussion. But I feel it is good to offer the choice to boycott the book because of the violence in the storyline too.

      Here’s another side to the story from a blog I like:

  4. This is really interesting to all the children and we, parents should try this one for them…Boredom will not be in their vocabulary then…

  5. The target age group is teenagers and preteens so they wouldn’t make the movie rated R or else they would lose their whole target group.

  6. Thanks Mary and Sarah for your comments.

    I saw the Hunger Games movie last night with a friend who hadn’t read the book. We both liked the movies. Her first response – “It had so much action!” and it made her want to read the second book.

    The movie was playing at four of the screens at the theatrs and was still packed – we didn’t sit together!

    Hope you enjoy the movie, book, and yoga : )

  7. I am quite embarrassed as I haven’t actually heard of this film before but now I am definitely going to have to check it out! lol!

    Thanks for the ideas and thanks Mary for the mini review.

  8. Great ideas!

    I went to see the movie yesterday at 9:15am and I was impressed by how many people in the theatre looked like they could be parents or grandparents of teens or tweens. Amazing how the appeal has crossed generations!

    The theme of children as survivors of war really struck at the heart in both the book and the film. I am so fortunate to live in a peaceful country and my children have only learned of war experiences through their grandparents. So it would be logical that some of the coping tools for the stress Katniss, Peeta and Gale feel would help for kids like mine who’s stress is on a very different level and type.

    And Katniss uses many. She takes deep calming breaths before shooting, they all find solitary places to meditate (whether it’s looking out at the woods outside District 12 or climbing a tree) and they all connect with those they love.

    The Hunger Games series has led to some great discussions in our house, and I think you are bang on with your suggestions to introduce it into the yoga classroom.

    And of course, I hear Gale is really cute too….

    • Very interesting thoughts on children as survivors of war. It’s proving so traumatic for all involved.

      Yes it was great to see Katniss taking those deep breaths to steady her shot.

      My peace prevail on the planet.