Kids Yoga Story: The Chimpanzees of Happy Town by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

Yoga Flow of the Story with Stick Figures

It is a heart-warming story about the importance of love and happiness in everyone’s lives. The chimpanzees of the town are miserable. The wicked mayor won’t allow them to have any fun. However, the traveller Chutney dares to plant a tree. And the town begins to blossom into a colorful land of dancing, playing, and laughing. Enjoy the story with twenty four kids yoga poses.

There was a town where all the houses looked the same and all of them were grey (House: Standing with your legs wide, hands together above your head, making a pointy roof). Children were unhappy because there were no parks to play in (Child Pose: We kneel down and tuck ourselves into a little tiny ball). There were no trees at all (Tree: Standing tall, place the heel of your foot on top of the other. Bring your hands together at your heart and grow your branches up tall). And the chimpanzees who lived there all felt very sad (Monkey: Crouching down, we count 1,2,3 before leaping up like a monkey).

Chutney was a traveller. He travelled far and wide. He came home with a box one day, which had a seed inside (Treasure Chest: Sitting on your bottom, bring the soles of your feet together and fold your body down over the top of your feet to close your treasure chest). He planted it (Seed/Knee Hugging: Lying back, we draw our knees up and in to our chest to give them a big hug), and watered it (Hose: Kneeling, we extend one leg out in front, then we sit our bottom down on the ground next to our kneeling foot and lift our long leg up to the sky like we are using a hose), and watched it slowly grow (from Malasana: Bend your knees deeply, sinking down until your hips are lower than your knees. Bring your palms together at heart center. Push your elbows into your knees to open your hips rise to Tree: Standing tall, place the heel of your foot on top of the other. Bring your hands together at your heart and grow your branches up tall). Until one day, the mayor looked down and shouted from way up in his palace “No, no, No! Chop it down!” (Woodchopper: Standing tall, legs wide, we criss cross our fingers behind our back and fold forward letting our arms drop over the top, saying “chop”) “You cannot grow things in this town. Guards, throw that chimpanzee into jail!” So Chutney went to prison where his cell was cold and bare (Face Door: Either standing or seated cross the forearms over each other holding opposite elbows. We lift our arms above our head, like the little face door is opening). And the mayor left for his winter break to catch some country air.

But meanwhile, back at Chutney’s house, the boy and girl next door said “We must water Chutney’s seed, and make it grow once more.” (Hose: Kneeling, we extend one leg out in front, then we sit our bottom down on the ground next to our kneeling foot and lift our long leg up to the sky like we are using a hose). And with the children’s love and care, the seed stretched out its shoots and grew up tall and strong (from Malasana: Bend your knees deeply, sinking down until your hips are lower than your knees. Bring your palms together at heart center. Push your elbows into your knees to open your hips rise to Tree: Standing tall, place the heel of your foot on top of the other. Bring your hands together at your heart and grow your branches up tall). And one day, Chutney from his prison cell saw the leaves and flowers of his beloved tree (Flower: Sit on your bottom. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Balance on your sitting bones and weave your arms under your legs. Hold your arms steady under your legs with your arms facing up). It gave him strength and hope. It made him happy. And at last, they let him out. He first saluted the Sun (Hello Sun: Stand with the feet hip distance apart. Sweep the arms up, reaching up with joy to the beautiful Sun and say “Hello Sun”), and then said “There is work to do!”

He gathered everyone living in the town and gave a speech. “Chimpanzees, this town is dead. The streets are all the same. Let’s celebrate our differences. Let’s make it fun again! Let’s make our houses colorful just like a rainbow!” (Rainbow: Come to two knees and take your arms wide. Place one hand down to the side and extend your leg out to the other side. Reach up and over your ear with your top arm, making a beautiful arching rainbow) “And let’s change its name to Happytown!” The chimpanzees fist fell silent and thought he was right. Then they began to cheer. They started to paint their houses. Then Chutney stopped and looked up at the palace of the mayor and said “The children need a place to play. Let’s build it there!” They pulled the palace down and built a playground with some swings, slides (Slide: Sitting up tall, legs out long in front of you. Point your toes and place your hands behind your bottom with your finger pointing towards your bottom. Lift up your hips), a roundabout (Standing Spin: Standing tall, jump the feet wide and the arms out to the side. We swish our arms round one way then the other and start to spin, keeping our feet on the ground), and loads of other things. “Let’s have a party with yummy things to eat!” said Chutney (Pat head/Rub tummy: Sitting with our legs crossed, we roll a hand round and round on our tummies, then we pat our heads at the same time). There was dancing in the street (Dancer: Standing tall, take hold of one leg. Lifting your other arm up to the sky, kick your back foot into your hand and tilt forwards).

Everyone was happy now except the mayor, who came back to his palace, but his palace wasn’t there. “Enough! Guards, seize them, everyone!” he said (Warrior 1 – stop variation: Step one foot forward and turn the back toes out to the diagonal. Bend into the front knee, so make sure the space between the legs is wide enough to do this. Take the arms forward and lift the palms as if telling something to stop). But the guards just laughed and said “We are having too much fun!” So they put the mayor in prison until one day, the new mayor came and opened up his cell (Door: Come to two knees, then stick one leg out to the side, reach up with one arm and tilt over towards your stretched leg to open up your door. Don’t forget to close it on the other side). Mayor Chutney said “You see my tree? Everything we cut down will find a way to grow. And things will always blossom if we dare to set them free.” (Group Tree: Standing tall, place the heel of your foot on top of the other. Bring your hands together at your heart and grow your branches up tall)

Relaxation:

What a heart-warming story about the importance of love and happiness in everyone’s lives. The chimpanzees of the town are miserable. The wicked mayor won’t allow them to have any fun. However, the traveller Chutney dares to plant a tree. And the town begins to blossom into a colorful land of dancing, playing, and laughing. His beautiful tree helps to spread color and happiness throughout the town. It is good to care for other people and for the surrounding environment. Caring makes you feel happy. You can now gently close your eyes and think how to be more caring to your surroundings… Maybe you share your belongings… or you may act out in kindness, saying please and thank you… you might be helpful to people in need… give yourself some time and feel your body relaxed when you think more about caring… When you are ready move your fingers and toes, hug your knees into your chest. Roll over onto your side. We press ourselves up to sit, crossing our legs. We bring our hands together at our heart. Thank you for doing yoga with me today. Namaste!