Earth Day in April provides the perfect opportunity to honor what the Earth provides for us, and discuss how we can be kind to our earth today and every day. After all, in the words of Dr. Seuss’ Lorax, “Unless….” Someone like you cares….
Most of the following activities can be found in Lisa Flynn’s Yoga for Children book.
Sit in a circle and invite students to place their hands on their bellies before taking 3 Balloon Breaths. Ask the students “What does the earth provide for us?” and, “Why do you think it’s important to protect it?”
Read The Earth Book by Todd Parr.
Next, talk about reducing, reusing and recycling. Bring in some examples of common everyday items that we can reduce, reuse and recycle --- plastic bags, newspapers, egg cartons, milk jugs, magazines, yogurt containers, baby food jars, etc.. Think about how many times a week we use these items and how much extra garbage this contributes to the earth. If we just reduce, reuse, or recycle some of these items, we can reduce our imprint on the Earth. Introduce students to the Chant/Motto – “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. When saying “Reduce!” – hit the floor with hands; “Reuse!” – clap hands together; “Recycle!” - raise arms in the air, rolling your forearms in a circle to look like a Recycle sign. Repeat 3x.
Next, with all the students in a circle, begin by passing around a Globe Ball (beach ball). Pass the Globe Ball around the the circle. While passing (or tossing or rolling), sing the song “We’ve got the whole world in our hands” (sung to the tune of “He’s got the whole world in his hands”). Emphasizing we all have a responsibility to care for the Earth – it takes all of us working together to take care of the Earth.
Stop and Smell the Flowers Breath--inhaling to smell the flowers, exhale out. Option to use pinwheel flower here to see the pinwheels move when they breathe out.
So many beautiful things can be found on Earth – Let’s thank the Sun & Moon, which gives us light and darkness on Earth (Sun and Moon Salutes). Next, add in the Warrior series –chanting “Reduce!” (Warrior I), “Reuse!” (Warrior 2), and “Recycle!” (Warrior 3-with hands making circle/recycle symbol in the air). Return to Mountain.
“Under One Sky”, a ChildLight original from the “I Grow With Yoga” album, which can be found on ITunes, Spotify or CDbaby.com. Integrate the associated poses mentioned throughout the song.
Let’s celebrate the beauty that’s found around us on Earth, starting on the Land: Mountain, Tree, Bird, Worms (Cobra), Flowers, Butterflies, Ladybugs (Child’s Pose);
In the Ocean: Waves or Sea Weed (Moving your Arms while seated in Hero’s Pose), Fish, Jellyfish.
In the Desert: Cactus (Tree with cactus arms), Camel, Scorpion (Spider), Pyramid (Triangle);
In the Arctic: Seal, Polar Bear (Down Dog), Igloo (Table Top).
GROUP/PARTNER POSES/CREATIVE MOVEMENT
Sunflower pose –Ask to students to come to sit on the floor in a circle with their feet facing the middle of the circle, legs outstretched in front of them. Have the students inhale their arms up the air, exhale extend forward touching their toes, inhale arms back up and then on an exhale, slowly lower all the way down onto their backs, with their feet still connected in the middle. Connect arms to create a group Earth Pose. Take a photo from above.
From Sunflower Pose, have all the little yogis slowly crawl like little caterpillars back to their mats and roll onto their backs.
Have students place their hands on their bellies and watch their belly rise and fall with their breath. Remind them of the journey they went on around the Earth, how they were able to help the earth by Reducing, Reusing and Recycling, and how they can honor and celebrate Mother Earth by taking care of her.
“Plant a tree or flower, Give it some water and clean air, Treat it with loving care,
And soon you will see, Everyone can make a difference like you and me;
So, make this day and Every Day, Earth Day –
Keep your footprints on Earth clean, green and light;
and this lets us keep Mother Earth beautiful and beaming bright.”
(I like to read this poem I wrote for my sons, which serves as a reminder that we can and should do small things every day to show our respect for the Earth.)
Take some time this month to send some loving kindness to the Earth for all that it provides. Remember to also take a step out of the studio, breathe in the fresh air, and be thankful for all the beauty the Earth brings – from the sun and moon, to the mountains and oceans, to the butterflies and bees and, of course, the trees. Enjoy all the natural beauty around us and consider how we can continue to reduce the footprints we leave on the Earth throughout the coming year so we can sustain the Earth’s beauty for years to come.
Larissa Noto’s love for yoga begin in 1998 when she took her first yoga class for a gym requirement in college. From that moment on, she was hooked—and she has continued to practice yoga since that time. Larissa is a certified Childlight Yoga Instructor (Yoga & Mindfulness for Children and Advanced Teacher Concepts) and has completed a Yoga 4 Classrooms Professional Development Workshop. To further deepen her practice, Larissa completed 250 Hour Yoga Teacher Training at Easton Yoga, Restorative Teacher Training with Jillian Pransky at Yoga Works, and is currently seeking her 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training through The Yoga Loft of Bethlehem. In teaching both children and adults, Larissa firmly believes that yoga can be made accessible to all those who seek to practice. She is passionate that yoga and mindfulness can and should be an essential component in all school programs from infancy through high school. Larissa currently teaches adults and children at Easton Yoga, Easton Yoga Allentown, The Yoga Loft of Bethlehem, and The Pratyush Sinha Foundation. When she isn’t sharing her love of yoga with others, she serves as a lawyer, professor and parent support guide for those whose children have special needs, and enjoys her life as wife and mom of 3 boys. You can connect with Larissa on Facebook and Instagram @thelovelylittlelotus. Her website is https://thelovelylittlelotus.com/ and she can be reached here.
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