International Day of Yoga
People of all ages around the world will have different ways of relaxing.
Some people read books, some fall asleep in front of the TV, some listen to music, whilst some other people may prefer a more physical pursuit..
One of the best and oldest ways to release the tension building up in both the body and the mind is practising yoga. The benefits of practising yoga have been widely recognised by the Western world for years, and the International Day of Yoga aims to continue informing people how dedicating a bit of time to the art of yoga can improve their lives.
What is Yoga and why do we celebrate it?
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolising a union of body and consciousness.
Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.
Recognising its universal appeal, on the 11th of December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed the 21st of June as the International Day of Yoga.
The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.
“Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”B. K. S. Iyengar – One of the foremost Yoga teacher’s in the world
Yoga makes use of slow and fluid movements.
Many of the meditation techniques, breathing exercises, and postures are considered safe and beneficial. Just make sure you don’t attempt a headstand the first time you decide to give yoga a try!
How to set up your space for yoga
Given that many schools have both time as well as space limitations for setting up areas for activities. I have found a brilliant blog by an EYFS teacher named Jodi who talks about how she sets up her space to teach yoga to younger children.
Jodi makes her own yoga dots by cutting eight circles out of an actual yoga mat, a different color for each level. The children use the yoga dots, instead of yoga mats. It saves room and then she’s not lugging around yoga mats.
Also, she writes each child’s name on each yoga dot, so she can quickly space out the yoga dots before the children come in. She can decide which children are best next to each other and others who might benefit from being further away from each other. This part of the process, Jodi says, is crucial to making the best out of their 15-minutes together and they can get right into the yoga practice and limit the time for setup.
Making use of Jodi’s wonderful “yoga dot” idea, why not try out some of these games, making use of either our Yoga Pose Cards or our Yoga Pose Description Cards (useful if your class may be unsure on how to do a certain pose).
1. Musical Chairs + Yoga Pose
Place one yoga pose card under each yoga dot. Play some classical music and have the children step from one dot to the other in time to the music. When the music stops, each child looks under their yoga dot, and practices the yoga pose on the yoga card.
2. Match Yoga Poses
Place one yoga pose card on each yoga dot. Once everyone has a chance to look at their yoga card, then everyone walks around to find someone else who has the matching colour (category) on their yoga card. Once the partners are united, they can practice their poses together.
3. Partner Yoga Pose Practice
Give out a yoga card to each child. Then, the children walk around to find someone who has the same colour shirt (or eyes, socks, shoes, etc). Once everyone is matched up, the partners practise the poses on their cards together.
First, watch this YouTube video from Benjamin Pirillo of TeachPhysEd on how to play Fitnopoly.
You could adapt Fitnopoly by putting one of the yoga cards under each yoga dot. Have your children practise the yoga pose under each yoga dot, then roll the dice to move on to the next yoga pose-yoga dot.
Introducing our sixth “Mental Health Hero”! Yoga Ninja is ambushed by THE NEGATRON whilst she is meditating!
She is startled and scared when the powerful negative energy begins to surround her, but she finds space, calms her mind and uses her yoga skills to defeat it!
Enrol your children in the Wellbeing Academy and teach them how to use yoga and meditation to calm their minds and help them to focus, thus helping to defeat THE NEGATRON!
Have a Great Day!
I hope this blog has given you some inspiration on how to take part during Yoga Day!
If you have any great teaching ideas for this topic, feel free to comment below (they might even get added to the topic calendar!)