- One yoga mat per student.
- Enough floor space that students can spread out.
- 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 on your hands and knees on the mat. Spread your fingers out wide. Today we’re going to practice cat pose.
First take a deep breath in, feeling your stomach fill up with air.
Now slowly breathe out, and as the air leaves your body, round your back up toward the sky.
Wonderful! Now we’re cats!
Let’s hold this pose for two breaths.
As you breathe in, lift your back just a little bit higher toward the sky.
As you breathe out, press down into the mat through your hands and knees.
As you breathe in, feel your entire back gently stretching.
As you breathe out, imagine any discomfort your feel leaving your body.
Great job! Now gently lower your back down toward the mat and return to hands and knees.
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.”
Cat pose is often paired with cow pose. You can create a mini-sequence by moving between the two poses at a pace of one movement per breath. In other words, for each inhale, move into cat, and for each exhale, move into cow.
Consider inviting younger students to make “cat sounds” while they are in this pose. A sample script for the breath practice is included below.
As you breathe in, allow your neck to relax.
As you breathe out, let out a soft purrrrrrrr.
As you breathe in, notice how your whole back is stretching.
As you breathe out, let out a loud meeooooowww.
Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile
Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project