Cow: Mindful Movement (Yoga) Practices K-5 Cow A K-5 Mindful Movement Practice Subject Type of Practice: Yoga Recommended Grade Levels: K-5 Contexts Social Context: Individual Duration of Practice: 2 minutes Preparations and Resources Materials: 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.  Script Let’s practice cow pose.  Begin on your hands and knees on your mat.  Take a deep breath in, and as your stomach fills with air, lower your stomach down toward the mat.  Lift your head and your chest, so that your back creates a “U” shape.  Do you feel a stretch here? Wonderful! Now we’re cows!  Let’s hold this pose for two breaths. As you breathe in, press down into the mat through your hands and knees. As you breathe out, lower your stomach just a little bit closer to the mat.  As you breathe in, feel your entire back gently stretching.  As you breathe out, imagine any discomfort your feel leaving your body. Great job. Take one more deep breath in here.  As you breathe out, return to hands and knees.  Tips 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.”  Cow pose is often paired with cat pose. You can create a mini-sequence by moving between them at the pace of one movement per breath. In other words, for each exhale, move into cow pose, and for each inhale, move into cat pose.  Variations/Extensions Younger students may find it fun to make “cow sounds” while they’re in this pose. A sample script for the guided breathing portion of this practice is included below:  As you breathe in, lower your belly a little further toward the mat.  As you breathe out, let out a loud “mooooooooo!”  As you breathe in, feel your chest opening as it fills with air.  As you breathe out, let out an even louder “MOOOOO!”  Authorship and Provenance Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project Associated graphic