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Happy Baby: Mindful Movement (Yoga) Practices K-5

Happy Baby

A K-5 Mindful Movement Practice

Subjects

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. 

Setup

  • 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

Begin by lying on your back on the mat. 

Wonderful. 

Bring both knees up toward your chest.

As you take a deep breath in, notice where your hips, your back, your shoulders, and your neck are touching the mat. These parts of your body will stay on the mat throughout the pose. 

As you breathe out, spread your knees a little so they’re wider than your body. Wonderful. 

As you breathe in, walk your hands up your legs and hold your shins, your ankles, your feet, or even your big toes. Choose whatever feels most comfortable. 

As you breathe out, lift your feet up away from your body. Flex your feet as you do so. 

Great job. This is happy baby pose. Have you ever seen a baby do this? 

Take a moment to look at your ankles. Are they over your knees? If not, move them so that they are. 

Now take a moment to feel the back of your body. Is it still touching the mat? If not, move your hands so that your entire back is on the mat. 

Let’s stay here for two breaths. 

As you breathe in, gently push the bottoms of your feet upward like you are going to lift the ceiling up with your legs. At the same time, gently pull down on your feet, ankles, or shins.

As you breathe out, begin to gently rock side to side. How does that feel on your back? 

As you breathe in, smile to yourself as though you are a happy baby. 

As you breathe out, imagine any discomfort you feel leaving your body. 

Great job.  

Now gently bring your right foot down to the mat, keeping your knee bent. 

And then gently bring your left foot down to the mat, so that it is next to your right foot. 

Wonderful.

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 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.

If some of your students are wearing skirts, consider using another pose. 

Variations and Extensions

Younger students may enjoy making happy baby sounds while in this pose. Here is a sample script with breathing cues: 

As you breathe in, smile to yourself as though you are a happy baby. 

As you breathe out, gently rock side to side. Have you ever seen a baby who loves to be rocked?

As you breathe in, notice how your gentle rocking feels on your back. 

As you breathe out, make some happy baby noises. 

Authorship & Provenance

Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile

Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project

Associated Graphic

Happy Baby: Mindful Movement (Yoga) Practices K-5

Lying on their backs, students bring their knees toward their chests; grasp their feet, ankles, or shins; and draw their knees wide.

Collection Practices: K-12
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)
Author Megan Downey, Anna Basile
Year published 2019