Breathing (standing): In the standing breathing exercise, we sniff in with our arms outstretched in front, then sniff again with arms straight out to the sides, then sniff with arms overhead, and then exhale, letting arms drop to sides.
Butterfly: seated, bend knees so they’re on the floor (or close to it) on either side, and feet are “kissing.” Put fingers on shoulders and elbows out to either side. Flap knees and elbows.
Butterfly Breathing: In the butterfly breathing exercise, we sit in butterfly position, (bend knees so they’re on or close to the floor on either side, and feet are “kissing;” put fingers on shoulders and elbows out to either side). Breathe in and hold the breath while bringing elbows slowly forward until they touch, then open and touch them again. Exhale, releasing arms and hands.
Camel: Both knees on the ground, body upright, and toes curved so that your feet are pointing into the floor. Reach back and put your hands on your heels, so your stomach is sticking out; tilt your head back.
Candle: Kneel (or sit comfortably) with hands in prayer position; close eyes if that feels right. Breathe. Blow out the candle at the end.
Cat: On hands and knees, curve your back, look up and say “meow”; then arch your back, look down, and hissss.
Cobra (or snake): stretched out on the floor, pushing your upper torso up with your hands, and maybe turning your head and flicking your tongue to smell with your tongue, the way snakes do.
Dead Tree: Stand on one foot with arms outstretched.
Dog: This is “downward dog,” with hands and feet on the ground and bottom up in the air; back and legs are straight.
Donkey Kick: On all fours, kick one or both legs up in the air.
Dragon: Kneel with one knee on the ground and one foot on the ground with a flexed leg. Extend arms forward, palms touching, then lift them straight up. Breathe in and exhale with a Ha! like you’re breathing fire. Then switch feet and repeat.
Elephant: Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Put your hands together (your elephant trunk) and raise them high overhead, then breathe out as you pass them through your legs. One child suggested the elephant would drink water, so pretending to drink water while your arms are down could be a nice visualization and stretch, too.
Ghost: seated, say: “I see a ghost!”
- pretend to be scared: lift your shoulders, inhale, hold your hands in front of you and stretch out your fingers, open your mouth & eyes wide;
- say “not a ghost,” exhale, relaxing all those tensed up muscles, maybe roll your head around in a circle in relief;
- say something ridiculous like “It’s just a waffle.”
House: Very simple. Stand with hands together overhead to make a roof.
Lemon Toes: Lie on your back and pretend you’re sucking up sour lemon juice into your toes, squeezing them tight tight tight, and then letting go and breathing out and relaxing. Then “sip” it up through your toes and into your legs, tightening and then relaxing them. Then up through your arms. Then your whole body, including your face.
Lightning, with cloud: To prepare for lightning, we do cloud, in which we spread our arms wide and then circle them overhead, bringing them down to our chests and holding our hands there with fingers pointed down, sort of like a dog’s paws. We do this a few times, and then comes the lightning strike, when we thrust out our hands from our chests with an exhaled “HAH!” sound. If we’re really on the ball, we’ll sink down just a bit during this move by bending our knees.
Lion: Kneeling, put hands on knees, stick out your fingers, tongue, eyeballs, and go HAAAAAAA!
Moon (Half or Crescent): Standing, feet shoulder width apart, arms overhead with palms together, curve to the side as far as is comfortable. Then curve the other way.
Mountain Climber: position your bodies like you’re about to run a race: on all fours with one leg bent. Then jump and switch legs repeatedly.
Mountain pose: Standing tall and strong with hands to sides and feet about a shoulder width and a half apart. I usually tell the children that when you are high up in the mountains, you can feel the wind blow, and then we all blow into the circle to make the wind.
Mouse: curled up in a ball, face down, arms along sides. We then transform into cobra: without moving your feet: bring your hands forward until they are stretched out in front; keeping your hands in that place, slide forward on your belly into cobra.
Owl: This is tricky! Squat and hold your hands together behind your back. Then turn your head from one side to the other, saying, hoo, hoo.
Star: Stand with arms outstretched to the sky and legs apart. Sometimes I do this in tandem with mountain, breathing in for star and out as we bring our hands to our sides for mountain.
Superman: Stretch out on belly, with arms and legs extended and off the ground.
Swan: assume cobra pose, then bend your knees. Some people can lean back their head and touch their head with their feet!
Thunder: One fist is on your waist, and the other fist is outstretched, straight ahead. With a PAH! you punch with the fist on your waist and your outstretched fist goes to its waist. You return your fists to their original positions and repeat. After a number of times, you switch, so you’re punching with your other fist.
Tree: Stand on one foot with the other foot resting on your knee, and both arms either outstretched above you or placed together overhead.
Triangle: Feet apart, arms straight out to sides, bend as far as you can to the side; ideally one hand touches a foot and the other is pointed straight up. Switch sides.
Tulip: Do Turtle (below), and flip hands so they are palms up. Then lean back until your legs lift off the ground, balancing on your bottom.
Turtle: Seated, bend knees so they’re on the floor (or close to it) on either side, and feet are “kissing” (like in Butterfly). Put both hands in the diamond space you’ve made, slide them out to the sides so they’re sticking out on either side, flat on the floor.
Volcano pose: Stand, rub hands together to make the lava hot, then put them in prayer position at chest, inhale, then exhale while pushing hands upward until they’re directly overhead, like the fire coming out of a volcano, then arc them out and down to either side. We usually do this slow once or twice, and then fast, jumping as hands go up and out.
Waterfall pose: Stand, arms low and in front of you. Slowly lift up arms overhead and lean back. Sometimes I make a bubbly sound with lips and tongue to sound like the water as I bring arms/hands back down and touch the floor, like the water coming down the waterfall.
Windmill: I show the children a picture of a windmill, and tell them how windmills turn when the wind blows, and we stand and swing our arms in circles on either side for this. Sometimes to get them started I have them swing one arm first.