If you think 3-5 year olds do not understand yogic philosophy- give this fun lesson a whirl! Aparigrapha (letting go). Try it at home or in your classroom!
Start with a rainy warm-up. The weather and seasons are a great, graspable reminder for kids that all things change. Make the sound of an approaching rainstorm, let it hit, and eventually let it pass by. Here’s how:
- Rub hands together softly, then begin to quietly snap, softly clap, increase the volume, clap loudly, add the feet marching on the ground (while seated) to add the sound of thunder, returned to a loud, clap, soft clap, snaps, and a rub …shhh…
- Next, begin to move around the room! Escape from the rainstorm to get some heat into the body, lift knees high to cut through imaginary tall grass, jump over puddles (yoga mats), and pause under a tree pose for some dry cover.
- Let the sun come out (sun breaths or sun dance (the children’s equivalent of surya namaskar) and notice again that all things change.
- Invite the students to clench their fists, their faces, their elbows, to tighten up as much as possible. Then very quickly relax and let everything go.
- Repeat the tightening and the letting go a few times isolated in the hands. You might say,“We close. We let go. (or release).” Then do the arms and the whole body.
- Begin to integrate this idea into forming and letting go of the various yoga poses. Add music for fun and pause it when you want students to hold a pose.
- Also involve some props, like scarves, allowing the children to physically experience the sensation of release.
Ask the kid’s what happens when they feel mad or sad. Discover feelings of tightness, of being stuck. Remind them how good it feels to let go and asked that the next time they feel upset because something is not going their way, to try this technique: Balloon Breath. (You may also talk about expectations and that things are not always what they seem or how we want them to be).