Butterfly: Mindful Movement (Yoga) Practices K-5


A K-5 Mindful Movement Practice


Type of Practice: Yoga

Recommended Grade Levels: K-5


Social Context: Individual

Duration of Practice: 2 minutes

Preparations and Resources


  • One yoga mat per student.
  • Enough floor space that students can spread out. 

Set Up: 

  • Arrange the yoga mats, ensuring that students have enough space to move without bumping into one another. 
  • If you have enough space, consider arranging the yoga mats in a circle so that you can see each student from your own mat. 


Begin by sitting comfortably on your mat. We’re going to practice butterfly pose today.

Start by gently bending your knees and putting the bottoms of your feet together. 


Now sit up a little straighter. Do you feel taller when you sit like this? Check and see.

Now gently relax your knees down toward the mat.

Excellent. This is butterfly pose. 

Let’s pause here for two breaths. 

As you breathe in, bring your shoulders back, checking to see whether the front of your body feels any different when you do so. 

As you breathe out, gently relax your knees a little closer toward the mat.

As you breathe in, notice any discomfort you feel in your body.

As you breathe out, imagine blowing that discomfort out of your mouth.

Return to a comfortable seated position on the mat.


    You do not need to read the included script verbatim. Adapt the language so that it is appropriate for your students in particular. 

    It is perfectly appropriate to simplify the breathing cues, particularly when you first introduce the pose to your students. You might invite students to simply count several breaths in the pose, or you might opt to omit them altogether. 

    It is not important for students to get the pose “exactly right.” Instead, focus on helping them build mind-body awareness each time you practice. 

    Offer students positive reinforcements throughout each practice. Focus on qualities and behaviors they can control, like their focus, effort, or persistence. Be specific whenever possible. This will help your students develop a “growth mindset.” 

    If students are not experiencing a stretch, invite them to move their feet closer to their hips.

    If students are feeling uncomfortable, invite them to move their feet farther from their hips.


    For younger students, it might be fun to add more butterfly imagery into your instructions. For example, consider inviting student to imagine flying like a butterfly during the breath portion the practice. A sample script is included below. 

    Are you ready to fly?! Let’s extend our wings (arms) out to our sides. 

    As you breathe in, flap your wings up. 

    As you breathe out, flap your wings down. 

    Wonderful! We’re flying.

    As you breathe in, fly a little higher (flap your wings up). 

    As you breathe out, imagine seeing the classroom from high up above (flap your wings down). 

    Take another breath in, and sit up tall as you fly through the sky (flap your wings up)!

    And as you breathe out, gently land back in the classroom, relaxing your arms back down to your sides (flap your wings down). 

    Authorship and Provenance

    Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile

    Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project

    Associated graphic