For this week’s Monday Mindfulness, I am excited to share with you a new book I purchased at the WSCA conference I attended earlier in February. The book is called “Peaceful Piggy Yoga” and it is written by Kerry Lee MacLean. The author is a yoga instructor and also a children’s meditation therapist. In “Peaceful Piggy Yoga,” children are introduced to a variety of basic yoga poses while following along with a story that mentions all the people who practice yoga (moms, dads, football players, PIGGIES!).
Every Wednesday, I spend an hour at an elementary afterschool program. There is usually around 3-6 kids each week, so it’s a pretty small group! Working with such a small number of kids really allows me to focus on reaching the kid’s needs during the hour we are together each week. My little girls usually like more “structured” arts & crafts, while my boys just run for my play tote and pull out all the cars, army men and dinosaurs they can find! I didn’t know how they would respond to “Peaceful Piggy Yoga,” but I figured I would try it out!
When I was in college I taught yoga to four second grade classrooms at an elementary school in La Crosse. I co-led the class with three other girls in my major. It was so neat to see how much the kids enjoyed coming and spending 45 minutes practicing yoga with us each week. We were definitely known as the “yoga ladies” by all the students at the school. When they saw us carrying our mats in, they knew exactly who we were and that it was yoga day! Having this experience during college made me more comfortable and confident that my afterschool kids would also enjoy doing a little yoga.
I can’t say that our yoga practice that day was like most yoga classes -and by that I mean there wasn’t too much tranquility in my classroom… But, I promise you, the kids were enjoying it! And they were DOING yoga! I started out reading the story and the instructions for the yoga poses to the kids. As I read, they tried to do the poses. I couldn’t believe how many of the poses they already knew! They were in tree pose before I could even give the first instruction! One of the little girls said that she used to take a yoga for kids class. I LOVED hearing this! Anyways, they eventually decided they wanted to take turns reading poses to each other. The “calmness” started to decline around this time, but I can’t turn children down when they want to read (especially since I have such a small group of kids typically). Also, my time at the afterschool program is for them, and I like the hour to be full of activities and games that THEY want to do. They enjoyed instructing each other and trying out some poses they already knew and also some that were new to them. My little yogi’s probably spent around 30 minutes reading and practicing along with the book, which I was quite pleased about.
You can purchase the “Peaceful Piggy Yoga” on amazon. The paperback version is only $6.30, which is right around what I spent. Such a GREAT deal… 🙂