Kids Yoga Story: Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker – Rees

This is a funny, touching and triumphant story of Gerald, the Giraffe. He was not a good dancer. Every year he dreaded the great Jungle Dance. But what Gerald discovers one beautiful moonlit night is that when we are different sometimes all we need is a different song to dance to. Enjoy the touching tale of Gerald the giraffe with twenty-five kids’ yoga poses.

Gerald was a tall giraffe whose neck was long and slim (Giraffe: Standing tall, we reach our hands up tall, making a long giraffe neck and start walking with your long giraffe leg). But his knees were awfully bandy (Chair: Stand with your feet together or hip-distance apart. Raising your arms above your head, bend your knees. Bring your thighs as parallel to the floor as they can get.) and his legs were rather thin. He was very good at standing still and munching shoots off trees (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). But when he tried to run around (Runner/Crescent Low Lunge Knee on Floor/Ashwa Sanchalanasana: High on your knees, step one foot forward and place both your hands down on either side of your front foot. Resting the back knee on the floor, look upwards), he buckled at the knees (Ardha Hanumanasana/Half Monkey: From Downward Facing Dog Pose, bring the right foot in between the hands. Drop the left knee on the floor. Bending forward, straighten the right leg by walking with the toes in front. Slowly lift the toes of the ground. Rest the head on the knee towards the extended leg).

Now every year in Africa, they hold the jungle dance (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) where every single animal dances. And this year when the day arrived poor Gerald felt so sad. Because when it came to dancing, he was really very bad.

The warthogs started waltzing (Pig: Hands and knees on the floor, make your hands into fists and tuck your toes like pig trotters), and the rhinos rock ‘n’ rolled (Cow: Come to hands and knees. Raise the neck upwards, bringing the belly towards the floor while curving the lower back inwards. Extend the hip outwards and slightly upwards). The lions danced a tango (Lion: Kneeling up, hands wide, inhale and then exhale with an haaaa letting the tongue drop down and the eyes open wide. Let everything release with this roar), and the chimps all did a cha-cha (Monkey Jump: Crouching down, leap up like a monkey into the air). Then eight baboons teamed up for a splendid Scottish reel (Monkey Swinging from Tree: From standing position, open your legs wide. Placing your hands on your hips, fold forward from the hip. Move the head towards the floor looking upside down). It was Gerald’s turn. As he walked towards the floor, the lions saw him coming and “Giraffes can’t dance, you silly fool!” they roared. The animals all laughed. Gerald simply froze up; he was rooted to the spot (Mountain: Stand with the feet together, big toes touching each other. Keep the stomach tucked in, chest forward, spine stretched up and the neck straight. Bring arms close to your body. Eyes can be open or closed. Focus on the breath and the steadiness of the body) “They are right. I am useless” he thought. So, he crept off from the dancefloor and started walking home (Giraffe: Standing tall, we reach our hands up tall, making a long giraffe neck and start walking with your long giraffe leg. / House: Open your legs wide but a comfortable distance apart. Lift your arms up over your head bringing your hands together). He felt so sad and so alone.

Kids Yoga Flow of the Story with Stick Figures

Then he looked up at the sky. “The Moon can be so beautiful” he whispered with a sigh (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). “Excuse me!” coughed a cricket who had seen Gerald earlier on (Grasshopper: Lying on your tummy, palms to the sides of the chest, lift your left leg up and rest it on top of your right foot for support (knee on foot). Rest your chin on the mat). “Sometimes when you are different you just need a different song.” “Listen to the swaying grass (Seated Side 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) and listen to the trees. To me the sweetest music is those branches in the breeze. Everything makes music if you really want it to.” The cricket smiled and picked up his violin. Then Gerald felt his body do the most amazing thing. He was making circles on the ground (Standing Pelvic Circles: Standing up, begin hip rotation with taking the hips from the front towards the right, then back, then to the left, making a full circle. Focus on the stretch at the lower back and the hips). His neck was gently swaying (Neck Rotation: Start the rotation of the neck starting from the center and slowly moving towards the right side and then coming back to the center from the left side). He did a backwards somersault (Standing Backbend: Place your hands on lower back fingers pointing down. Bring elbows together, shoulders down and back. Lift your chest up to the sky while arching back). He felt so wonderful “I am dancing! I am dancing!” he cried (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).

Then one by one each animal arrived while Gerald boogied on and watched him. “It is a miracle!” they shouted. Gerald was the best dancer that they had ever seen! Gerald simply finished with a bow (Humble Warrior: Standing up, bring the left foot forward and bend the left knee. Stretch the arms rotating the shoulders and bring the hands behind you, interlocking the fingers. Bend forward towards the left leg so the shoulder comes inside the front knee. Bow your head in a humble way). Then he raised his head (Raised Arms: Stand with the feet hip distance apart. Lift your arms upwards and continue the movement doing a back bend) and looked up at the moon and stars above (Star: Standing up, widen your feet placing them far away from each other. Lift the arms parallel to the floor. Extend the arms at shoulder level). “We all can dance when we find music that we love (The Prayer: Standing up, bring your hands to your heart center. You may close your eyes and stay connected to the breath).

Relaxation:

It is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. But his legs are too skinny, and his neck is too long. Fortunately, a cricket encourages him that he just has to find his own music. And Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from that cricket. We may not perform a skill the same as others. Yet, it does not mean that we do not have the skill or are not capable of developing it. We all have different abilities. Does being unable to sing or dance or walk even make someone a lesser person? Believing in yourself, having confidence in yourself can affect your willingness to try something new. Besides there is nothing bad in having tried and failed…

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!