Polar habitats cover the top and bottom of planet Earth at the North and South Poles. It is cold at the poles. You will see plenty of snow at the poles but little rain. It is much too cold and dry for trees to grow in most areas of the Arctic, and there is no room for their roots, because just under the surface of the ground there is always a layer of ice. Arctic animals are adapted to the extreme weather of the Arctic region. Now come and meet the Arctic animals!
Arctic Animals Yoga
Arctic Foxes (Sphinx: Lying on your tummy, come up onto your elbows and lay your hands flat in front of you. Lift your chest, head and neck up, feeling strong and elegant) have beautiful white coats that act as very effective winter camouflage. When the seasons change, the fox’s coat turns as well, adopting a brown or gray appearance. These colorings help foxes to effectively hunt rodents, birds, and even fish. But in winter prey can be scarce on the ground. Like a cat’s, fox’s thick tail aids its balance. It is also useful as warm cover in cold weather.
Arctic Hare (Hare: Coming to our knees we lean forward a little then cross our hands behind our back. As we fold all the way forward our arms lift up to the sky like very long hare ears) lives in the harsh environment of the North American tundra. In winter, they sport a brilliant white coat that provides excellent camouflage in the land of ice and snow. In spring, their colors change to blue-gray. They sometimes dig shelters in snow and huddle together to share warmth.
Arctic Wolves (Dog: We press our feet and hands into the floor as we lift our bottoms to the sky) have thick and insulating white coat. They have two thick layers of fur. Inner layer is waterproof and outer layer keeps the heat in. They generally live in a group of around six individuals. They can easily walk on the frozen ground because their feet are designed in such a way.
Beluga Whale (Whale: Lie on your back and bend your knees so your feet are flat. Arms lay down by your sides. Press into your feet, arms and hands and lift your bottom up) is one of the smallest species of whale. Their distinctive color and prominent foreheads make them easily identifiable. The beluga has a very flexible neck that enables it to nod and turn its head in all directions. They are social animals and vocal communicators. They generally live together in small groups.
Emperor Penguins (Penguin: Standing with our legs and heels together, we turn out our toes. With our arms down by our sides we stick our hands out a little bit and waddle side to side) are the largest of all the different kinds of penguin. They spend their entire lives in Antarctica. They have large stores of insulating body fat to survive in low temperatures. They also huddle close together in large groups to keep themselves and each other warm. These birds are super swimmers and great divers.
Musk Oxen (Cat: On all fours, round your back up and then down) live in the frozen Arctic and roam the tundra in search of the roots, mosses, and lichens that sustain them. In winter, they use their hooves to dig through snow to graze on these plants. These animals have inhabited the Arctic for many thousands of years, and their long shaggy hair is well adapted to the frigid climate.
Narwhal (Tiger: Coming on all fours, claw out with one arm forwards and the opposite back paw/leg at the same time) is best known for its tusk – a long, spiraled tooth that usually only the males develop. But tusks are more than battle swords – they are packed with nerves and covered in tiny holes that allow seawater to enter. This gives tusks a sensitivity that could help narwhals detect changes in their environment.
Polar Bears (Polar Bear: Kneeling up, we take our knees wide. We fold forward so our tummy fits in the space between our knees and using our hands we cup over our nose, hiding our polar bear black noses in the white of the snow) are well adapted to survive in one of the harshest environments on our planet. As well as their thick fur, they have a layer of fat that protects their bodies from the frosty air. Polar bears also have black skin under their coat, which helps them soak up the Sun’s rays and keep warm. Their huge size and weight make them the largest living carnivores (meat eaters) on Earth. They are excellent swimmers.
Reindeers (Deer: Sitting tall, legs out long, we bend one knee up. We hug that knee, then placing our hand behind us, bring our other elbow round to the outside of the knee, looking back over our shoulder) are the only deer species in which both the male and female can grow antlers. Reindeers can live for up to 15 years in the wild. They spend up to 40% of their lives in snow, so they have developed special adaptations to help them survive the chilly conditions. They are also good swimmers.
Snowy owls (Owl: Kneeling up, we point our wings downwards into our lap, then as we stretch and open our wings we lift up off our heels saying to witt to woo as we fly up and down) mainly live in the Arctic in open, treeless areas called tundra. Snowy owls have excellent eyesight, but they obviously can’t see their prey when it’s underneath snow or a thick layer of plants. Unlike most owls, the snowy owl is active during the day, especially in the summertime.
Walruses (Upward Facing Dog: Lie on your tummy, lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Place your palms flat next to your shoulders and arch up) have long tusks and a prominent mustache. They have wrinkled brown and pink skin and lots of blubber on their bodies to keep them warm in the cold Arctic water. Their long tusks are useful in many ways. They use them to pull their enormous bodies out of frigid waters. They also use their tusks to break breathing holes into ice from below.
If you would like to enjoy the summer and feel the sunshine on your skin, you may visit Sea and Ocean Animal Yoga.