Kids Yoga Story: Dogs Don’t Do Ballet by Anna Kemp & Sara Ogilvie

What a lovely story of Biff, little puppy with big dreams! He is a small dog who will stop at nothing to become a ballet dancer. Biff is constantly told no “dogs don’t do ballet” whenever the little girls asks if she can take him along to class or the Royal Ballet. But Biff proves them all wrong! Enjoy the story with twenty-four kids yoga poses!

My dog is not like other dogs (Dog: Coming to all fours, tuck the toes, lift your knees. Send your hips up and back.). He doesn’t do dog stuff like weeing on lampposts (Three-Legged Dog: Coming to all fours, tuck the toes, lift your knees. Send your hips up and back. Lift one of your legs rotating it towards the outside.) or scratching his fleas (Three-Legged Dog: Coming to all fours, tuck the toes, lift your knees. Send your hips up and back. Lift one of your legs rotating it towards the outside.) or drinking out of the toilet (Dolphin: On all fours, place your forearms on the mat as wide as your shoulders and parallel to each other. Lift your hips up, extending your legs with your feet grounded. Bring the head between the arms and look downwards.). If I throw him a stick (Stick/Yastikasana: Lying down on your back, stretch the legs out. Raise the arms above your head and stretch the entire upper body upwards while stretching the entire lower body downwards. Pull the feet and toes towards the floor.), he looks at me like I am crazy. So, I have to fetch it myself (from Yastikasana to Pawanmuktasana: Lie on your back. Feet together, bring your knees towards your chest. Clasp your hands around your legs as if you are hugging your knees.). My dog likes music and moonlight and walking on his tiptoes (Tiptoes: Stand in Mountain Pose, pressing all the toes on the floor. Raise the body upwards balancing on all ten toes.). You see my dog doesn’t think he is a dog…

My dog thinks he is a ballerina! (Dancer: Standing tall, lift your right leg up towards your bottom and grab it with your right hand. Lift your leg up to the sky. Pull the right arm and leg up so that they form a bow behind the back. Open the chest and shoulders feeling the stretch.) When I get ready for ballet class, he looks longingly at my tutu and ballet shoes, and I just know he is dreaming of his name in lights. “Dad, can Biff come too? He loves ballet.” I say. “Not a chance, dogs don’t do ballet!” says Dad.

Then, one Saturday on my way to class, I get a funny feeling. A funny feeling that I am being followed and watched. As something hiding behind the tree (Tree: Standing tall, bend your right knee. Place your right foot on the inside of your left leg either above or below your knee joint. Bring your hands in front of your heart or you can lift your arms up to the sky.) … When Miss Polly is teaching us a new routine, I think I see something peeking in at the window. Something with a wet nose and a tail. “Right girls, who is going to demonstrate first position?” says Miss Polly (Flamingo: Standing tall, lift one leg back towards your bottom grasping your foot. Lift your other arm up to the sky. Keep the chest out while maintaining the balance as a graceful flamingo.).

But, before anyone can step forward, there is a loud bark from the back of the hall and something furry rushes to the front (Puppy Dog: On all fours, walk your hands to the front of the mat, bringing your forearms to the ground. Lower your chest towards the floor. Entire hips moving upwards, bring your face to rest on the floor.). “What is this?” asks Miss Polly, peering over her glasses (Standing Half Forward Bend: Standing nice and tall, come halfway up into a flat back.). “This is my dog.” I say. “Well take it away at once.” says Miss Polly, wrinkling up her nose. “Dogs don’t do ballet!” My poor dog stops wagging his tail and his ears droop down at the ends. I take my dog home and give him a bowl of Doggie-Donuts (Bowl: Lying on your stomach with your legs hip width apart, bend your knees, feet up and towards your bottom. Sweep your arms around and grasp the outside of the ankles or feet. Lifting your head, try to raise the knees and chest higher.). But he won’t touch them. He just stays in his kennel for days and days (House: Open your legs wide but a comfortable distance apart. Lift your arms up over your head bringing your hands together.), and at night he howls at the moon (Crescent Moon: Standing tall with hands on the sides, sweep the arms up overhead palms touching. Lean over to one side so that the biceps touch the ears.).

Yoga Flow of the Story with Stick Figures

For my birthday I get tickets for the Royal Ballet. “Can Biff come too?” I ask Dad. “He loves ballet.” My dog pricks up his ears and wags his tail (Three-Legged Dog: Coming to all fours, tuck the toes, lift your knees. Send your hips up and back. Lift one of your legs rotating it towards the outside). “No, I have told you thousand times, dogs don’t do ballet!” says Dad. As we wait for the bus (Bus: Sit on the floor stretching your legs out in front of you. Make sure you are seated on your sit bones. Keeping the feet straight with toes pointing towards the ceiling. Hold your imaginary steering wheel and lean back as if going up and fold forward as if going down.), I think about my poor old dog, all on his own. Then I get a funny feeling that I am being watched. A funny feeling that I am not alone.

The ballet is magical! The orchestra plays as the prima ballerina dances and prances and twirls and whirls and skips and… (Seated Side Body Bend: Crossing your legs in easy pose, reach up with your right arm while extending your left arm to the ground next to you. Feel the stretch in your right-side body.) Oh, no! She trips! Disaster! “It is all over!” I think. But somebody doesn’t think it is over. No, somebody thinks it is just beginning. Somebody with big black eyes, and pointy ears… somebody wearing my tutu!

The audience gasps. “It is a dog! Dogs don’t do ballet!” someone shouts. But then the orchestra starts to play… and my dog dances like no dog has ever danced before. (Dance Flow Poses: Dog / Table / Cat / Cow / Child’s Pose) He is as pretty as a fairy! The audience can’t believe it. “Hooray! That’s my dog!” I shout. When the music stops, my dog gives a hopeful curtsey (Bow Down: Step one foot forward and put your back knee down. Bring both hands down on either side of your foot with the head on the front knee. Push the chest towards the thigh.).

The theatre is so very quiet that you could hear a bubble pop. Then the lady in the front row stands up. “It is a dog!” she shouts. Biff’s ears start to droop again. “A dog that does ballet!” she adds. “Bravo!” Suddenly the whole audience cheers and throws bunches of roses (Flower: Sitting tall, bring the soles of your feet together. Slide your hands underneath your legs and take hold of your ankles. Balance on sitting bones.). “I don’t believe it. Biff is a ballerina after all!” says Dad. “See, dogs do ballet. Bravo, Biff!” I say proudly.

Relaxation:

Follow Your Desires…

What a lovely story of Biff, little puppy with big dreams! He is a small dog who will stop at nothing to become a ballet dancer. Biff is constantly told no “dogs don’t do ballet” whenever the little girls asks if she can take him along to class or the Royal Ballet. But Biff proves them all wrong!

Do you sometimes have similar thoughts about others in your head? You think they can’t do something… or maybe some people, even you, have similar assumptions about yourself… you say “I can never do that”…

Now think about how true all these thoughts are. These are just assumptions and thoughts, not facts. Now I’ll give you a few minutes. At that time, you may think about the things you want to do but dare not do. Maybe you even dream of doing it! How does this make you feel? What might you need on this road to follow your desires? Maybe you just need to let go of your assumptions…

When you feel ready, you can slowly start to move your fingers and toes. Pulling your knees to your chest, give them a big hug. Rolling over to one side, lift up to a comfortable sitting position. Bring your hands together in front of your chest. Thank you for doing yoga with me today. Namaste!

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