Introducing Children to Yoga Through Storytelling
We all know that children love to move, make noise, and get creative. Children also love a good story. So… why not combine the two? Practicing yoga with children lends itself so well to story-telling, whether it’s your own story or through books. And reading or telling a story as an introduction to a yoga sequence is a comfortable way for children to prepare for something new and helps provide a visual to engage them in creative movement.
Reading to and with your children supports literacy and language skills, listening and critical thinking skills. Storytelling is a wonderful way to pass on traditions and preserve cultures, teach values and lessons, and to work out emotions, conflicts or challenges in a safe way. Yoga enhances flexibility, strength, coordination, and body awareness and can improve concentration, instill a sense of calm and create a deeper connection to one’s inner-self and the world around them.
Combining movement with storytelling actively engages children, immersing them in the experience in a more meaningful way. Their imaginations will be stimulated and enriched. It will allow them to reinterpret the text or spoken words and bring it to life in a creative, personal way. It will even enhance and increase neural connections in the areas of the brain responsible for memory and learning!
If you would like to give it a try, here are some yoga sequences that I have put together (tested and approved by preschoolers and early elementary school age children!) with suggested books to go along. Do feel free to choose your own favorite, age-appropriate stories.
As you become more familiar with yoga poses, use your creativity when applying them. There’s no reason why ‘down-dog’ couldn’t also represent a hill or a slide or an inchworm!
I hope you and the children in your life enjoy and continue to explore yoga through storytelling (or is it storytelling through Yoga?)!
Note: Before starting yoga with young children, I suggest…
- Familiarizing them with breathing techniques, always inhaling and exhaling through the nose unless otherwise specified.
- Discussing the importance of respecting personal space and keeping ourselves and others safe from injury.
- Beginning with gentle stretches and a few deep breathes.
More Yoga & Storytelling Inspiration…
- The ABCs of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Anne Power
- Itsy Bitsy Yoga for Toddlers and Preschoolers by Helen Garabedian
- Fly Like a Butterfly by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
- Yoga Kids: Educating the Whole Child Through Yoga by Marsha Wenig
- Yoga Pretzels; Guber by Kalish & Fatus
- The ABCs of Yoga Learning Cards by Power & Rietz
- Yoga Kids
- Yoga Journal: Yoga Kids
- Mind, Body, Green: 5 Reasons You Should Teach Kids Yoga
- Yoga Today (check out their YouTube videos for one-on-one yoga with kids)
Importance of Storytelling
If you would like to learn more about the craft of storytelling, below are some lovely posts. Remember, you don’t need special training or much experience. It can be as simple as telling a story from your childhood, reciting a fable, or crafting your own unique story with your children. Have fun with it.