How to Practice Present Pose
Otherwise known as bow pose
Sankrit name: Dhanurasana
Lie on your belly and bend your knees, reaching back to hold your ankles with your hands. Inhale and pull your legs with your hands and pull your hands with your legs,find that opposition. Bring your heels far from your bottom and lifting your head, chest, and thighs from the floor.
If the ankles are out of reach, experiment with placing a strap around your ankles to extend your reach (If you don’t have a strap, you can instead use a belt, towel, or the rope from a dressing gown).
Another prop that may be used is a rolled-up blanket or towel under the thighs or chest.
Have fun in this pose
If the grown up is confident in this pose and has no back pain (we never want pain in our yoga practice!) then the child can sit inside the 'present'. Any excuse to climb on us while practicing Yoga right ;)
Not Christmas at the time of reading this or just don't want the Christmas theme? Stick to calling this by its proper name (mentioned above) or maybe it's a shopping basket..... or even a turtle, maybe it's a spaceship!
Can you move side to side in this pose? How about forward and back? Can you hold it still for three breaths? How does the pose feel in your body?
Don't practice if....
Don't go practicing this after your Christmas dinner unless you want to be seeing it again! This one does not feel good after eating, stay clear.
This pose is also not recommended for anyone with migraine, diarrhoea, who is pregnant, has low or high blood pressure or who has any kind of low back or neck pain.
Always speak to a doctor before starting nay physical practice if you are unsure.
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Other posts you may enjoy
Pose of the week: Santa's sleigh
Three games that you can play with your children while laying down
Attitude of Gratitude
Have some Christmas fun with this pose! One person makes the sleigh by coming into Navasana (Boat Pose). The other person then places pom poms or teddies in the sleigh by balancing them anywhere on their Yoga partner. How long can you hold this pose? Remember to breathe!
How to practice Santa's sleigh (boat pose)
Family Yoga / Partner Play
As mentioned above you can practice this pose together by taking it in turns to fill the sleigh with 'presents'. This is a great way to explore the pose, practice the pose and hold it for longer durations but most of all, it is a great way to play with it and have fun together.
Other ways you can practice this pose together are by making a double sleigh - joining the feet together or having a reindeer pull the sleigh, what would that look like?
You can find more ways to play yoga together in my Free Guide! Sign up via the home page or click here
For more Christmas themed Yoga....
For more Christmas Yoga, check out my book 'Christmas Yoga for children and their adult' available now on Amazon.
What is a Yoga Station?
Setting up Yoga sessions is a great way to do something a little bit different in class. A good way to keep children's attention in class is to change things up. While we learn best from repetition, it's also nice to practice in new ways from time to time. Creating Yoga stations is a great way to practice a range of different activities in a small amount of time. It also means children can move around more freely and explore. As a teacher, it is a good way to check in with different students individually too, having these stations set up means that you are able to move from person to person or group to group easier.
So, what is a Yoga station?
A yoga station is a mat that has a different activity on it. I am going to be sharing with you 11 fun ideas that you can use to create your different stations. You place the mats around the room with space between and then let the children spend time at each station practicing that activity.
How does the class work?
We enter the space together; I think this is important so, if possible, wait outside your classroom so you can all go in together. The children are going to want to start exploring straight away but you need to ask them to hold off for a moment so you can explain each station to them. The younger groups usually move around on their own and at their own pace but for my older classes I divide the time up so that they will get a chance to go to ever station - for example if I have 60 minutes and 9 stations, I give them 5 minutes at each station (and then there is time for a group relaxation at the end). At the end of the 5 minutes, I ring the singing bowl and they change station. The older group go through the stations with a partner (or as a three if odd numbers). When they are on their last station, I'll usually start tidying up what I can and setting up a circle so that they can all join together to close the class with a nice relaxation or meditation practice.
With the younger group, you really need to go with the class and encourage them to try all the different activities by practicing with them.
We usually end up all together at our book station to close class.
When can I use this class idea?
There are so many ways you can use this. You can use this to showcase what you do for events (with maybe 3 or 4 stations or a helper), you can use it in your regular classes for something fun and different, you can use it as a nice way to end a term, you can use it for family yoga classes - focusing on being together, you can use it for birthday yoga parties and so much more!
Maybe you even try creating something like this at home with the kids in your life!
What Yoga Stations could I create?
Here are 11 idea that you may like to play with. Remember, you don't need to do all of these ideas and you can create multiple stations with the same theme but different props. In my classes I have multiple pose stations with different cards for example. You may also like to work with a theme - The Winter Olympics / Summer Olympics, Christmas, Beach, Nature etc
The Book Station
This could be picture books, touch and feel books, Yoga books, Books that fit your theme!
The Drawing/ Colouring Station
I like to put one sheet of large paper here with some crayons and have everyone add what they want to it but you could also use colouring in sheets, separate pages etc. What I like about keeping it as one sheet is the children don't feel the need to 'finish'. It is a group effort, and everyone is adding something of their own to it.
The Pose Practice Station
There are so many ways you can use this station so feel free to create multiple ones. They can practice the poses on the mat, they can create their own sequence using the cards, they can play mirror my body (where partners face each other, and one leads, and one copies). You can put props on the mat for them to use and explore poses. Keep it simple.
The Partner Pose Station
Just like the pose station but this time put some ideas down for partner poses (either Yoga cards or stick figure drawings).
'Create your own Pose' station
For the 'create your own pose' station, I usually just put two blocks and give no other instruction. It is always great to see what the children come up with!
The game station
This could be anything that you have game wise. As you can see in this picture, I have pom poms and a tub for Toega and some Story Cubes (story cubes are great for creating your own story together, maybe they can add in some poses for each part of the story!).
You could have Yoga Jenga here, a memory game - anything!
The Breathing Station
On this station I put lots of fun props we can use for practicing our breathwork. This is another one that could be multiple stations easily. What I have shown here are some breathing cards where you trace the picture and breathe, some pom poms to blow across the mat maybe even using a paper straw to do so (pom pom race anyone?), a breathing ball, feathers, and a scarf.
The Balance Station
There are so many fun ways to practice balance, you could even use the wall as a prop here or a chair. You could use a Yoga strap and play walk the line or make a mini obstacle course. What I have done on this station is set up a ring toss game, except instead of throwing the rings, we stand on one leg and use our feet to put the hoops on the cones.
The massage station
The Relaxation Station
Set up a place to get cosey. This could be putting bolsters and blankets down or setting up for a certain restorative Yoga pose.
The facepainting station
Facepainting is fun and it doesn't need to be perfect! Let the kids get creative by facepainting each other's faces. You may want to check in with the adults that this is okay to do beforehand and remember not all kids will want to (and that's okay too!). This station works best at events or family yoga.
There you have it! 11 ideas for your yoga station class! Remember you do not have to set them all up! You could work with as little or as many as you would like to, changing the ideas to work for you. Think about what props you already have. How could you utilise them? What themes or activities are you already practicing in your classes? How could you use them?
Here are a few bonus ideas
As you can see the possibilities are endless! Use your imagination and have fun with it!
Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful and if you'll be trying any of these ideas!
Maybe you just thought of a fun station, let us know below!
Other Resources for Children's Yoga teachers
Free 8 week Lesson Plan!
How to engage with a child who is just not interested in your class
Teaching Gratitude to Children workshop