A good rule of thumb…the younger the children, the simpler the story. Use familiar objects, sights and sounds. And, don’t be afraid to let them stretch their bodies and imaginations by encouraging them to make up poses where there may not be an obvious choice. All in all, story yoga (whether using books or self-creations) encourages literacy skills and imagination while stretching the body. And…children love it!

Tree PoseGuest Post by Judie Hurtado.

If you have children, have met a child or been around children in any capacity, then you know that they love hearing a good story. Most children thoroughly enjoy being read to.  As a kids (and adult) yoga teacher and a mom to two girls, I’m all too familiar with being asked to read them a book.

When I teach kids yoga classes, I often read a book and incorporate yoga poses that go along with the book.  They love it!

Below is recent story I created and shared.  I highlighted all the words that are yoga poses.

A Beautiful Sunny Day

I took a walk on a beautiful sunny day. Hello Sun! (Wave hello to the sun with both arms).  I saw a tree with big green leaves.  Then I saw an Apple tree. I reached up high to pick an apple.

I cleaned the apple with my shirt. I looked at it, smelled it and took a bite. I chewed and chewed.

A bird came over and took a bite. Another bird came over.  (The children shared what kind of bird was eating their apple). I liked sharing my apple.

A butterfly flew on my shoulder! Then it flew off to a flower.  I decided to smell the flower. (Again, the children shared what type of flower they saw).

A bumblebee was also next to the flower. It buzzed and buzzed. (Children make buzzing sounds).

I was tired so I decided to take a short nap.  Breathe in and breath out.  Ahhhh…..

I woke up and stretched. When I looked around, I wasn’t at the park. I was in my own bed. It was all a dream!

The children especially enjoyed the ending.  One little girl asked me to read the story again without the yoga poses.  The class was a great success. 

Whenever I read a story, I am sure to engage the children and invite them to use their imagination.  For example, I asked them to tell me what kind of apple they picked or what colors were on their butterfly. The children love participating and are very eager to share!

Judie Hurtado, RYT, has been practicing various styles of yoga for over 13 years but has always been particularly drawn to vinyasa. She has studied with many teachers, including Jennifer Kohl at Lotus Yoga in Montclair, where she completed her 300-hour yoga teacher-training program. She received her Kids Yoga Certification through Karma Kids and Every Kids Yoga: Teaching Yoga To Children with Special Needs through Craig Hanauer.  She is also a Reiki Practitioner and a Health and Wellness writer.  She can be reached at judie.hurtado@gmail.com. She also blogs about her fitness and spiritual adventures at www.judiesjuice.wordpress.com.

Message from Lisa Flynn, ChildLight Yoga: 
Notice as well, the story need not be complicated or overly verbose. A good rule of thumb…the younger the children, the simpler the story. Use familiar objects, sights and sounds. And, don't be afraid to let them stretch their bodies and imaginations by encouraging them to make up poses where there may not be an obvious choice. All in all, story yoga (whether using books or self-creations) encourages literacy skills and imagination while stretching the body.

What stories do you share with your children? Could you weave in some yoga poses?  Please share!

For more on utilizing story and storybooks in kids' yoga classes, check out these previous posts:
Bringing Children's Books to Life with Yoga: Part I
Bringing Children's Books to Life with Yoga: Part II