- 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.
Now we’re going to practice dog pose.
Let’s start on our hands and knees on our mats.
Take a deep breath in, and as you breathe in, put your toes on the mat with your heels facing away from you.
As you breathe out, lift your hips up high so that you make an upside-down “V” with your body.
Wonderful. This is dog pose.
We’re going to stay in this pose for two breaths.
As you breathe in, lift your hips just a little bit higher toward the ceiling
As you breathe out, press down into the mat through your hands and knees.
As you breathe in, feel your back and your legs gently stretching.
As you breathe out, imagine any discomfort your feel leaving your body.
Great job! Now gently bend your knees and lower your hips to return to your 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.”
Keep an eye on the position of students’ heads. Invite them to keep their heads between their upper arms rather than letting them hang. This will help to protect their necks.
While students are in dog pose, invite them to lift up their right legs. This variation is called “three-legged dog” pose. If students feel stable here, encourage them to gently wag their tails before lowering their right legs back down to the mat. Then repeat this variation on the left side.
Younger students may enjoy making “dog 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, lift your hips just a little higher.
As you breathe out, let out some barks!
As you breathe in, notice where in your body you feel a stretch.
As you breathe out, bark even louder!
Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile
Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project