- 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.
Today we’re going to practice up dog.
Begin by laying on your stomach with your forehead on the mat.
Bend your elbows and put your palms on the mat near your shoulders.
Gently press down through your hands.
As you breathe in, lift your head, chest, and legs off the mat. Keep your legs straight.
Look straight ahead instead of looking up to protect your neck.
As you breathe out, notice whether you feel a stretch in your back.
Take one small breath in here.
As you breathe out, gently lower your chest back down 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.”
This can be a deep stretch. Warm up the lower back with a small backbend first. Poses like cobra are often used for this purpose.
During this pose, keep an eye on the position of students’ shoulders. If necessary, remind students to keep their shoulders back and down, away from their ears.
Similarly, keep an eye on the position of their elbows. Encourage students to keep their elbows hugged in toward one another rather than out to the side.
Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile
Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project