So now we’ve moved into the dark, cold heart of winter. It’s here, we can’t do anything about it except just go with it. What do you like to do to keep warm in the winter? Do you bundle up in a hat, mittens, puffy jacket and boots? Hide under the covers? Drink hot chocolate at night with your family? There are so many ways that we as humans keep ourselves warm and happy during the cold winter months. Animals also need to acclimate and it’s fun to teach a yoga lesson based on the habits of animals in the winter. Some hibernate, some grow thicker fur, others fly to warmer climates. Let’s explore this with a fun, active yoga lesson!
Winter Animal Yoga (Pre-k – K)
1) Candle Breath — Hold your pointer up to your nose, inhale and make a wish. Then exhale and blow out your candle. We do this 3 times, the first time we make a wish for ourselves, the 2nd time we make a wish for someone else, the 3rd time we make a wish for the earth.
2)Creating Energy—We rub our hands together really fast and then hold them up to our face to feel the warmth. This creates energy and heat, warming us up in the cold winter.
3) Mountain/Volcano — Such a great way to warm us up and get out a little extra energy. Start in mountain with your hands touching over your heads. Rub hands together and with a loud “vollllllcano!” jump the legs and arms out in star pose. Jump the legs and arms back into place and do it again! We like to do this 3x for extra heat.
4)Bear Pose – Bears hibernate in their caves all winter. We walk around the circle like a bear and then come into Child’s Pose to hide in our caves. When we come out, we give a big stretch!
Extension: Bear Breath – Inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 2, exhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 2. This breath helps to ground and settle you down. You can find the Bear Breath in our Mindful Yoga Breaks Card Deck!
5)Bunny Pose – Bunnies fur thickens for the winter. We do a little sleeping bunny song for the preschoolers. “see the bunnies sleeping til it’s nearly noon, shall I try and wake them with a little tune. Oh so still, are they ill? Wake up little bunnies! Hop little bunnies hop hop hop (3x) and stop!
Extension: Bunny Breath – Inhale with 3 quick sniffs through your nose, and exhale with 1 long exhale through your nose (or mouth). This is a cleansing breath. You can find the Bunny Breath in our Mindful Yoga Breaks Card Deck!
6)Turtle Pose – Turtles hibernate by going deep in the water or digging a deep burrow. Sit with your feet kissing. Place your hands in the center of your legs and slide them under your knees as you hide in your shell.
7) Eagle Pose – Birds migrate south to warmer climates. Imagine you are a bird who wants to go south. Open you wings, cross your legs and give yourself a hug. We count to three and then fly our birds around the circle. Switch sides!
8) Candle – Light your candle to keep yourself warm in the cold, dark winter nights. Count backwards from 10 as you blow out your candle.
9) Relaxation – Time to relax and lay still, quiet and peaceful. Imagine you are hibernating under a big, warm, cozy blanket. Let the blanket cover your ankles, cover your shins, your knees, and all the way up to your chin. Feel your body relax as you let the blanket cover you and keep you warm.
What other animals hibernate in the winter? What are other ways you hibernate?