Skip to content

Rhyme and Shine

Yoga Sun Salutation for Kids

JoSeaWorldBelugaThis week, my son’s first grade class took a field trip to the local sea life theme park (We live in San Diego… I’m sure you can guess which one I mean). I have recently returned to teaching yoga in my kids’ school, and so of course this outing inspired me to create a corresponding yoga sequence. Spending a day walking (and walking, and walking) around a giant theme park with dozens of first graders is a ton of fun, but also pretty exhausting! In Waldorf education, they’d call this a real “out breath” activity. So pairing this with a sea-life-themed yoga practice is a great way to balance that with an intentionally “in breath” activity.

Take your little yogis on an imaginary yoga field trip to the sea life theme park! Many animals and experiences at the park can be revisited yoga-style in your classroom or home. Feel free to spice up the sequence with a little storytelling and kid input along the way. Maybe even mix up the sequence by letting the kids name the animals and events they remember, and doing the poses in any order. Remember to take little breaks whenever you need them.

Start with a minute or two of just sitting quietly and centering yourselves. You might imagine that you’re in the car on your way to the park. Sit in easy pose and close your eyes. Breathe slowly in and out, taking your time to let go of any distractions or stress. When you’re ready, open your eyes… we’re here!

Turtle: Sitting in cobbler’s pose, slide your hands along the floor under your calves. Let your back and neck round over. On the inhale, lift your head and look forward, like a turtle peeking out of his shell.

Dolphin: Come to your hands and knees. Rest your forearms on the floor, then lift your knees and reach your hips toward the sky. Feel the stretch in your back and the backs of your legs as you leap through the water like a dolphin.

Otter or Seal: Coming back onto your knees, lay your belly on the floor. Use the strength of your arms to press into the floor with your hands and rise up in to Cobra or Upward Dog. If you’re a seal, imagine balancing a colorful ball on your whiskered nose. Or maybe you’re an otter, flowing up and down through the water.

Whale: While you’re here on your belly, use Bow pose to represent the giant whales with surprising grace, diving and racing through the water. Reach your hands back to grab your feet or ankles. Remember to think about lengthening your spine as your strengthen your back muscles.

Shark: Again, you’re on your belly. This time, legs stretch out long behind you as your clasp your hands behind your back. Lift your chest off the floor, keeping a long neck, and raise your hands as your dorsal fin.

Flamingo: Similar to Tree pose, in Flamingo you keep your knee pointed forward with your foot next to the opposite knee. If you want an added challenge, lean forward over your raised knee and wrap your arms around the bent leg. Or bend your arms into wings at your sides.

Waterfall: Stand tall with arms reaching overhead, and lean back slightly, letting your wrists bend and fingertips point backward. Imagine a flow of water cascading off the palms of your hands into the imaginary pool behind you.

Fish: Lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Keeping everything else on the floor, lift your chest toward the sky (letting your back come away from the floor) and let your head fall back so the top of your head (not the back of your head) is now touching the floor.

Boat: Once you’ve seen all the animals, it’s time to go on one of the exciting rides in the park! Sit up with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your feet (one at a time, if necessary) and extend your arms straight out alongside your legs. Maybe your boat is bumping along in the waves, tipping from side to side and working hard to maintain balance. Or maybe it’s smooth sailing for you today.

JoSeaWorldTuttleAt the end, sit quietly in easy pose or lie on your back in corpse and practice belly breathing. Rest one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart to make the breath, and the quiet that it brings, palpable. Consider reading this short meditation, or creating your own closing words:

What a day we’ve had together! Now it’s time to relax and let our minds and bodies absorb all the natural beauty we’ve experienced today: the blue-green glow of the turtle’s watery world; the rhythmic pulse as the otters glide through the pool; the smooth skin of the silvery dolphins; the powerful grace of the larger-than-life whales. Let all of the images and feelings wash over you like salty seawater. Breathe in the peace and quiet of their underwater universe. Exhale and relax as if you’re floating in the ocean with your favorite sea creature.

Namaste.

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, without written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is in no way intended as a substitute for instruction, advice, or examination from a healthcare professional or experienced yoga teacher. Talk to your healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine. Be cautious when practicing yoga, and respect your body’s limitations and inner wisdom. If at any time something feels wrong or unsafe, please do not do it. To avoid injury, wear clothing in which you can move comfortably and exercise in an environment that is large enough for your movements and free of obstacles. Consult an experienced yoga teacher or healthcare professional if you have questions, concerns, or wish to deepen your yoga practice. Beau Fait Media, its employees, agents, and authors shall not be responsible or in any way liable for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies arising from negligence or otherwise or for any consequences arising therefrom.