Why are we always in a hurry? Run. Run. Run. How far? We play games on the computer, then we turn on the TV. Everyone expects us to be quick. Hurry up! Time is passing! Come on! We have no time to spend with our friends, to watch the sunset together, to gaze at the starry sky at night. However, it wouldn’t be bad if we learned a little lesson from the sloths who walk slowly in the branches of the trees, eat little, sleep a lot and live in peace… Enjoy the story with sixteen yoga poses for kids!
Slowly, slowly, slowly, a sloth crawled along a branch of a tree (Climbing: Standing tall, raise one leg slowly up and lift the opposite arm as if you are climbing up. / 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.). Slowly, slowly, slowly, the sloth ate a leaf (Eating: Sitting on the ground, cross the legs. Fold forward resting the elbows on the ground and enjoy eating! / Leaf: 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.). Slowly, slowly, slowly, the sloth fell asleep (Relaxation: Lying comfortably on your back, close your eyes. Feeling the ground, allow yourself to melt downward. Let your feet and arms relax.).
Slowly, slowly, slowly, the sloth woke up (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.). Slowly, slowly, slowly, the sloth hung upside down in the tree (Swinging from a 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.). All night long the sloth hung upside down in the tree (Ragdoll: Standing up with your feet hip width apart, fold forward. Your arms are either dangling or you may clasp the elbows with the opposite hands. Gently shake your head side to side like a ragdoll. You can keep your knees bent.).
Even when it rained, the sloth hung upside down in the tree (Raining: Standing up, bring your hands to the top of your head with your fingertips. Begin tapping. You can come down to your face very softly and then pat your body like a rain shower.).
“Why are you so slow?” the howler monkey asked one day (Monkey: Crouching down, leap up like a monkey into the air.). But the sloth didn’t answer.
“Why are you so quiet?” the caiman asked (Crocodile: Lie on your side, your arms long over your head. Raise the top leg up towards the ceiling. Taking the leg up and down, open your big crocodile jaws.). But the sloth didn’t answer.
“Why are you so boring?” the anteater asked (Dog: Coming to all fours, tuck the toes, lift your knees. Send your hips up and back.). But the sloth didn’t answer.
“Why are you so lazy?” said the jaguar (Tiger: Hands and knees on the floor, bring one arm out extending in front of you at shoulder level. Extend the opposite leg out behind you at hip level. Balance the body on one palm and knee.). The sloth thought… and thought… and thought for a long, long, long time.
Finally, the sloth replied (Cosmic Egg: 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.). “It is true that that I am slow, quiet, and boring. I am also languid, impassive, calm, and slothful! I am relaxed and tranquil. And I like to live in peace. But I am not lazy.” Then the sloth yawned (Hero: Sit on the floor on your knees. Keeping the knees together, spread the feet and place them away from your hips. Bringing the hips to the floor, sit back completely. Sweep your arms above you. Interlock your fingers and flip your palms facing the sky. Keep your gaze forward.) and said, “That is just how I am. I like to do things slowly, slowly, slowly.” (Seated Forward Bend: Seated on the mat with both legs stretched out in front, fold forward. Bring the chin as close as possible to your knees. You may hold your toes with your fingers and gently pull yourself forward.)
Slowly, slowly, slowly . . . that’s how the sloth lives. He hangs upside-down from the branch of a tree, night and day, in the sun and in the rain, while the other animals of the rain forest rush past him.
Now, I want you to slow down, too. Lie down on the ground very slowly. You can also softly close your eyes if you want. Now, when you lie down here like this, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to talk, walk, do homework, or eat. It is time to enjoy doing nothing…
How are you today? How does your body feel? Now place your hands on your belly. And with each breath you take, focus on the movement of your stomach. Every time you breathe in your belly goes out, and every time you breathe out it goes down… Notice that your breath is getting quieter with you too. Sometimes taking things slow can be peaceful. Take time to enjoy your slow world…
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, come to a comfortable sitting position. Bring your hands together in front of your chest. Thank you for doing yoga with me today. Namaste!
For your next kids’ yoga class, it may be a good idea to continue with Rainforest Animals Yoga!