A K-5 Mindful Movement Practice
- 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.
Begin by laying comfortably on your back on your mat.
Now bring your feet just wider than your mat.
Relax your arms by your sides and turn your palms up to face the sky.
Breathe in, and then gently lower both of your knees toward the right.
As you breathe out, pause here, noticing where in your body you feel a stretch.
Take another breath in, and then gently lift your knees back to the center.
As you breathe out, pause here, and allow your body to relax.
Wonderful. Let’s repeat this on the other side.
Take another breath in, and then gently lower your knees toward the left.
As you breathe out, pause here, and notice where in your body you feel a stretch.
Take another breath in, and then lift your knees back to the center.
As you breathe out, allow your body to relax.
Now gently lower your right leg to the mat.
And now lower your left leg.
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.”
Encourage students to inhale before they twist in either direction. Explain that this helps to protect their spines.
If you’d like, repeat this movement several times, inviting students to notice whether they experience a deeper stretch with each repetition.
Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile
Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project