- 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.
Let’s practice half diamond pose.
Begin by sitting comfortably on your mat.
Now spread your legs wide. Move your legs as wide as you can while staying comfortable. This distance will be different for everyone.
Take a look at your kneecaps. Are they facing straight up toward the sky? If not, move them so that they are.
Check out your toes. Are they pointing toward the sky as well? If not, flex your feet so they are.
Wonderful. Now put your hands on the mat right next to your hips.
Move your hands so that your fingers are facing away from you and your thumbs are facing toward you.
Great job. Sit up just a little bit straighter. Check in to see whether chest feels any different when you sit up taller.
Let’s pause here for one breath.
As you breathe in, press down through your hands into the mat.
As you breathe out, lift your head just a little higher toward the ceiling.
Wonderful. On your next breath in, lean forward, keeping your back straight as you do so.
Pause here, and gently place your hands in front of you on your mat, or if it feels comfortable for you, on your shins, ankles, or feet.
This is half diamond pose.
Let’s hold this pose for two breaths.
As you breathe in, check to see if your back is starting to round, if so, straighten it again.
As you breathe out, lean forward a little bit more, making sure to only lean as far as feels comfortable.
As you breathe in, notice any areas of your body that feel tight.
As you breathe out, imagine relaxing those parts of your body a little bit more.
Wonderful. Now gently press down into your hands and sit back up. If you want, you can use your hands to move your legs back together.
Gently 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 explicit reference to breath 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.
Remind students to listen to their bodies. Encourage them to only lean forward as far as is comfortable so that they do not pull a muscle.
It is common for one’s pelvis to tilt forward in this pose, causing one’s back to round. Observe whether any of your students are experiencing this. If so, invite students to roll up one end of their mats and sit on it. This will lift their hips and help them keep their spines straight in the pose.
If some of the students are wearing skirts, opt for a different pose.
Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile
Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project