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Monkey: Mindful Movement (Yoga) Practices K-5

Monkey Pose

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 standing comfortably with arms at your sides. 

As you breathe in, turn your palms out and lift your arms up from your sides in a big sunrise motion until your palms meet overhead. 

As you breathe out, turn your palms back out and lower your arms all the way down in a sunset motion as you bend forward at your hips. 

Place your hands on the mat, on your feet, or on your shins. Pick the spot that feels most comfortable. 

As you breathe in, lift your chest and look forward, tracing your hands up along your shins as you do so. Stop when your back is parallel to the floor. 

This is monkey pose. 

Let’s pause for one big breath in. 

As you breathe out, bend forward again at your hips to return to a standing forward fold. 

As you breathe in, press your feet down into the mat, bend your knees a little, and lift your arms up from your sides again in a sunrise motion as you return to standing with palms touching overhead.  

As you breathe out, gently lower your arms to your sides in a sunset motion. 

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.

Authorship & Provenance

Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile

Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project

Associated Graphic

Monkey: Mindful Movement (Yoga) Practices K-5

From a standing forward fold, students lift their chests until their backs are parallel to the floor and look forward.

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