TRC Read to Kids

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Use yoga to help kids focus at Read-Alouds

How can you get kids to settle down when they're full of energy? Try using some simple, kid-friendly yoga moves.

An article entitled How Poverty Affects Classroom Engagement in the May 2013 issue of Educational Leadership discussed the benefits of yoga and movement on kids’ focus and behavior. 

“Having students engage in slow stretching while taking slow deep breaths can increase their oxygenation. Yoga training has been shown to increase metabolic controls so children can better manage themselves.”

“Recess and physical education contribute to greater oxygen intake and better learning (Winter et al., 2007)....The use of games, movement, and drama will trigger the release of glucose, stored in the body as glycogen.  Proper glucose levels are associated with stronger memory and cognitive function.” 

The following yoga moves are taught in the Yoga4Classrooms™ training, created by Lisa Flynn. Use these moves alone or in combination with others to energize or calm kids at transition times.

Yoga Moves for Calm

Bumble Bee Breath
  • Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose before exhaling out “hmmmmm” as long as possible. 
  • First try this with your eyes open, and then with your eyes closed. Then try blocking your ears to make your head fill with the humming sound.
Flying Bird Breath
  • Breathe in slowly while lifting your arms out to sides and then up over your head with your palms facing up.
  • Slowly exhale as you lower your "wings" down to your sides, palms facing down.
  • Sit up tall with your fingers laced together. 
  • Turn your palms out and inhale deeply while extending your arms straight up in the air.
  • Exhale, round your shoulders, push your spine back and push your arms in front of you.

Yoga Moves for Energy

  • Stand up tall with your feet under your hips.
  • Inhale as you bring your hands in front and above your head and lean slightly backwards.
  • Exhale and lean forward, letting your arms swing down like the water over a waterfall.
  • Inhale and bring the water (your arms) back up to the top and then have them crash down again.
Washing Machine
  • Stand up tall with your feet under your hips and let your arms hang loose by your sides.
  • Turn your upper body from side to side and allow your arms to wrap around you as you twist.
  • Once you are all clean, turn off the washing machine and slowly come back to standing still. Finish with Flying Bird Breath to dry out.
Twisting Star
  • Spread your feet wide apart and stretch your arms out to the side. You should look like a five-pointed star.
  • To make the star twinkle, reach your right hand down to the ground between your feet with your left arm pointing up. Stay there for a breath or two and then switch sides.
  • You can also make the star twinkle by going back to the basic star position and rocking from side to side while balancing on each foot. You can sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" while rocking or saying “twinkle, twinkle, stop.”  Freeze and balance when you say stop.

To receive credit for this online training, please fill out the form here.