Kids Yoga Story: Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks

When a little hermit crab finds a shiny new shell, he doesn’t want to share it – not with a blobby purple anemone and a tickly bristle worm. Enjoy this lovely story with eighteen kids’ yoga poses.

Once there was a crab with no shell (Crab: Sitting on your bottoms, walk your hands behind you, fingers pointing towards your hips. Feet flat, bend your knees. Lift your hips up off the ground. / Shell: Sitting on the floor, bend your knees. Placing the feet close to you, hug your knees to your chest. When you are ready, lift your feet off the ground balancing on the sitting bones.). He was running along by the sea (Runner: Standing up, keep your feet hip distance wide. Step one of your legs back toes tucked under. Bend your front knee placing your hands into a runner’s lunge. Raise the head in line with the spine.). Unfortunately, nobody wanted to share a shell with him. He was afraid of the gull with a wide-open beak (Bird: Open your legs wide. Come halfway up into a flat back. Lift your arms out at your side like wings floating up and down as you fly like a bird.). He began to escape from the gull to hide in an empty shell (Hiding: Sitting on your heels, bend forward. Rest your forehead on the mat in front of you. Place your arms wherever you feel comfortable, they can be extended or down by your sides.). Luckily, he was safe in his shell, in his wonderful home for one (House: Open your legs wide but a comfortable distance apart. Lift your arms up over your head bringing your hands together.).

Then, one day an anemone came to share a shell with him (Anemone/Seaweed: Lying on your back, raise your legs and arms up. Move your legs and arms in all directions and very slowly.). She wanted to share the shell. “Give me a ride to look for some food. And perhaps I can help you as well.” Suddenly, a fish with jaws open-wide appeared “Fresh crab for dinner – here goes!” (Fish: Extend your legs long and point your toes. Drop down onto your elbows, resting on your forearms. Slide your hands underneath your buttocks. Lift your chest up, letting the head rest lightly on the mat.) The anemone shot out a tentacle, quick as a flash, stinging the fish on the nose! The crab and the anemone became friends, sharing a shell in their wonderful home for two.

Then, one day a brush thing tried to get into the shell, wiggling (Snake: Lie on your tummy, bring the hands up by the side of the chest, push the hands into the floor and lift your chest up.). “Go away, Brush, whoever you are, you can’t share a shell with us.” said the anemone. “I am not a brush; I am a bristle worm. Please let me in – don’t be mean. I love doing housework; I’ll suck up the scraps and keep the shell lovely and clean.” Three friends, sharing a shell, down by the sparkling sea, were happy in their wonderful home for three.

Then, they started to grow up! (From Malasana: Opening legs up about hip distance, squat down. You may keep the heels on the floor or place a rolled-up towel under the heels. You can bring the palms in touch in front of your chest. To Raised Arms: Stand with the feet hip distance apart. Lift your arms upwards and continue the movement doing a back bend.) The shell was too small. “You are getting too heavy. I am fed up with being your taxi. It’s time that you found a new cab.” said the crab. “How ungrateful! I am scaring off all the fierce fishes. If that is how you feel, I won’t stay.” (Anemone: Lying on your back, raise your legs and arms up. Move your legs and arms in all directions and very slowly.)

“Peace!” cried the bristle worm, but nobody heard (Goddess in peace fingers: Standing with your legs wide, bend your knees and squat down. Bring your arms out like a cactus, your hands pointing up in peace fingers.) The other two creatures split up. The anemone found an empty ice-cream tub; the crab found a nice paper cup (Half Sandwich: Sit on the floor with the legs stretched out in front of you. Bend the right knee and bring the right foot placing it close to the inside of the left thigh while the left leg is still stretched out in front of you. Lifting your arms above your head, go forward with the arms stretched and reach for the left foot with your hands. Do both sides.). Each one pretended to be glad. Only the bristle worm knew that they were lonely and sad (Snake: Lie on your tummy, bring the hands up by the side of the chest, push the hands into the floor and lift your chest up.).

One night, there was a terrible storm crashing and flashing (Storm: Standing tall, extend your arms at shoulder level palms facing down. Sweep both hands to the left keeping the rest of the body facing front. Twist one way and then repeat on the other side, keeping your feet on the ground.). Both of their homes smashed on the rocks (House: Open your legs wide but a comfortable distance apart. Lift your arms up over your head bringing your hands together.). Suddenly, they both saw a beautiful shell. They were too shy to speak to each other and too proud to say, “Shall we share?” Then, they heard a voice and out poked a head. “It is ready. I have done all the housework. Climb on and come in. Welcome home!” said the bristle worm. (Snake: Lie on your tummy, bring the hands up by the side of the chest, push the hands into the floor and lift your chest up.)

Three friends, sharing a shell, were happy as housemates could be, in their wonderful home for three!

Relaxation:

What a lovely story of three rock pool creatures who share a shell and overcome their differences to live in harmony for the greater good!

You may also have different friends in your class or in the neighborhood you live in. Now, close your eyes softly. And think of your friends who are different from you but still you enjoy playing with them. If you like, you may send them your love with each breath… Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth while sending them your gratitude and love…

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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