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Partner Elevator: K-5 mindful movement partner practice

Partner Elevator

A K-5 Mindful Movement Partner Practice

  • Yoga
  • K-5
  • Partner pose
  • Standing pose
  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Social and emotional learning

Students stand touching palms with a facing partner. Together the partners slowly bend their knees into squatting positions, pause for one breath, and then slowly return to standing. Continuing to press their hands together, the partners then rise up on tiptoe and pause for one breath before returning to standing. Students repeat this process several times.


Students stand touching palms with a facing partner. Together the partners slowly bend their knees into squatting positions, pause for one breath, and then slowly return to standing. Continuing to press their hands together, the partners then rise up on tiptoe and pause for one breath before returning to standing. Students repeat this process several times. When practiced regularly, this exercise may help students increase the strength and flexibility of their legs, improve their balance, and boost their collaboration skills. 

Scientific Background for this Practice

Preliminary research into the impact of yoga training in schools suggests that yoga may be beneficial to child development. For example, early studies indicate that yoga training is associated with increases in students’ perceived self-concept (Scime & Cook-Cottone, 2008) as well as improvements to their emotional balance and well-being (Stück & Gloeckner, 2005). Students who participate in school-based yoga programs also experience fewer maladaptive responses to stress, including, for example, less rumination, fewer intrusive thoughts, and less emotional arousal (Mendelson et al., 2010).

Yoga programs are also associated with improved classroom readiness. Students who participate in yoga training experience enhanced concentration and greater abilities to function under pressure (Ehud, An, & Avshalom, 2010), and they tend to enact fewer disruptive behaviors in school (Berger, Silver, & Stein, 2009). 

Yoga programs may also offer physical health benefits to students. A systematic review of the therapeutic benefits of yoga for children found that yoga enhances children’s motor performance and cardiorespiratory health, while it decreases children’s resting heart rate, cortisol levels, and symptoms related to childhood-asthma. The same review also found evidence of yoga’s positive impact on children’s musculoskeletal system, including by enhancing children’s flexibility and strength (Galantino, Galbavy, & Quinn, 2008).

Yoga training appears to be associated with relatively few risks. At least one adverse event has been observed in research on the impact of yoga on children, however. An individual was unaware of a preexisting condition that was exacerbated by an inverted yoga posture (de Barros, Bazzaz, Gheith, Siam, & Moster, 2008). Thus, educators should exercise caution when teaching more advanced poses to students in school settings.


Audience: K-5 students

Time: Any time of day

Duration: 5 minutes per session

Space: Classroom

Social context: Partner practice or group practice


Agent: K-5 students

Props or Supports: One yoga mat per pair of students

Preparations and Resources


  • One yoga mat per pair of students.
  • 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. 

Visual Aids

  • None
Procedural Instructions

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.

Before introducing this posture, brainstorm as a class what it means to be a good partner during partner poses. Discuss how the students can help keep each other safe and consider creating a list of class agreements for partner poses that are easily visible throughout the practice. For example, students might agree that if one partner feels uncomfortable and says “stop,” the other partner will immediately pause and determine how to help.

Script for Guided Practice

Begin by standing face to face with your partner. 

Take a deep breath in and, as you do so, lift your hands in front to press your palms against your partner’s palms.

With your hands pressed together, breath out and bend your knees to lower into a squatting position with your partner Watch your partner closely so the two of you move together at the same speed. 


Pause here for one breath. 

On your next breath in, slowly stand up with your partner and then lift up on tiptoe. Keep your hands on your partners and, if it feels comfortable for both of you, try raising your arms over your heads as you lift on tiptoe.


Repeat this process several times. 

End by returning to a comfortable standing posture and gently lower your hands to your sides.


Berger, D.L., Silver, E.J., & Stein, R.E. (2009). Effects of yoga on inner-city children’s well-being: A pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 15, 36–42.

de Barros, D.S., Bazzaz, S., Gheith, M.E., Siam, G.A., & Moster, M.R. (2008). Progressive optic neuropathy in congenital glaucoma associated with the Sirsasana yoga posture. Ophthalmic Surgery Lasers and Imaging Retina, 39, 339–340.

Ehud, M., An, B.D., & Avshalom, S. (2010). Here and now: Yoga in Israeli schools. International Journal of Yoga, 3, 42–47.

Galantino, M. L., Galbavy, R., & Quinn, L. (2008). Therapeutic effects of yoga for children: A systematic review of the literature. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 20(1), 66-80.

Mendelson, T., Greenberg, M.T., Dariotis, J.K., Gould, L.F., Rhoades, B.L., & Leaf, P.J. (2010). Feasibility and preliminary outcomes of a school-based mindfulness intervention for urban youth. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38, 985–994.

Scime, M., & Cook-Cottone, C. (2008). Primary prevention of eating disorders: A constructivist integration of mind and body strategies. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 41(2), 134-142.

Serwacki, M., & Cook-Cottone, C. (2012). Yoga in the schools: A systematic review of the literature. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 22, 101–110.

Stück, M., & Gloeckner, N. (2005). Yoga for children in the mirror of the science: Working spectrum and practice fields of the training of relaxation with elements of yoga for children. Early Childhood Development and Care, 175, 371–377.

Authorship & Provenance

Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile

Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project

Partner Elevator: K-5 mindful movement partner practice

Pressing hands with a partner, students squat down and then lift up on tiptoe.

Collection Practices: K-12
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)
Author Megan Downey, Anna Basile
Year published 2019
UID mandala-texts-59831