Turtle: 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 turtle pose today.

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

Great job! 

Take a deep breath in, and as you breathe in, sit up tall. Do you feel taller when your back is straight? 

As you breathe out, slowly relax your knees down to the mat.


Now gently slide your left arm inside and under your left leg. 

And gently slide your right arm inside and under your right leg. 

Place your palms on the mat, or if you prefer, hold your feet. 

Take a deep breath in.

As you breathe out, slowly lower your upper body toward the mat. 

Gently fold over your legs. 

Relax your head down and allow your back to curve. 

Wonderful. This is turtle pose. 

Let’s hold this for two breaths. 

As you breathe in, notice whether you can your breath filling your lungs. Listen carefully.   

As you breathe out, relax your upper body.

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

As you breathe out, imagine all of that discomfort melting away.

Great job. Now slowly sit up straight.

Bring your arms out from underneath your legs.

Return to a comfortable seated position. 


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.” 


Younger students may enjoy integrating turtle imagery into the breathing portion of the practice. A sample script is included below. 

As you breathe in, image you are a turtle going inside its safe and cozy shell.

As you breathe out, see if you can hear your breath. 

As you breathe in, check to see if you can feel your heart beating.

As you breathe out, notice how safe and quiet it feels in your shell.

Authors and Provenance

Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile

Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project

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