March Break Family Yoga Fun

March Break is here! But rather than sitting your kiddies in front of the TV why not get active and move together. Try these fun  kid friendly yoga moves you can do at home or outdoors.

Why Kids Yoga?

While the activities below have many benefits for the parent (mindfulness, breathing awareness, strength and flexibility), it’s important to remember that kids yoga has a slightly different focus, but should have equally (or more) fun!

Keep these four areas in mind when leading a family practice.

1. Mindfulness: Consider sitting or lying comfortably together and making thoughtful connections to personal and interpersonal skills such as being a friend, communication skills, coping and management skills, as well as character development.

2. Breathing awareness: Being aware of their breathing and using breath can help children to relax, such as before a quiz, sporting game, or performance. Energizing breaths can also be used to help children wake up and be alert.

3. The development of physical literacy: This includes helping our children to learn to move with competence, confidence and creativity in a variety of setting. Children who are physically literate have an awareness of the fundamental movement skills (those explored in yoga include balance and stability).

4. Most importantly the focus should be on fun! Family yoga should provide opportunities, to laugh, celebrate, and be connected as a family. Hold hands, touch feet, and giggle lots!

It’s important to model and share our love of movement, as we know through research on physical literacy, that active children grow to be active adults. So let’s move together!

Story Telling Fun

Story telling is one of my favourite ways to support kiddies doing yoga. Whether it’s acting out a favourite book while you read along or making up stories as they go, there are many connections that can be made to promote (language) literacy and physical literacy. Try some of these ideas with your kids!

Elephant Trunk Breathing.


Traditionally promotes increased energy. Stand with feet hips width apart. Inhale through your nose reaching your arms (trunk) above your head, on the exhale, release the air through your month as you stretch your trunk down towards your feet.

Parent prompts: As you inhale, how high can you reach your trunk? How close to the floor can you stretch your trunk as you breathe out? 

Tree Pose.


From Mountain Pose, stand on one foot (rooting it into the ground) and place the other foot near the ankle, below the knee on the calf, or above the knee on the thigh (avoid placing the foot on the knee) and keep your hands on your waist in palm to palm in front of the chest. Once stable, stretch both arms (branches) up to the sky, maybe even together above your head.

Parent prompts: What kind of tree are you? What happens to your tree when it gets windy? Can you move in the wind?

Downward Facing Dog.

IMG_7162From table top position (on hands and knees), curl your toes under and lift your hips up and back. Stretch your arms and legs long as you try to reach your heels towards the floor.

Parent prompts: What kind of dog are you? What’s your dog’s name? What healthy snacks does your dog like to eat? Can your dog stretch high on his/her toes? What does your bark sound like?



Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet close to your pelvis. Open your knees (opening the wings of your butterfly). Use your peace fingers to hold on to your big toes. Keep the outside of your feet pressing into the floor.

Parent prompts: Where is your butterfly going? Can you flap your wings slow? Can you flap your wings fast? Can you squeeze your wings tight to your body? Can you open your wings wide?



Sit on the floor with knees bent in front of the body and hands beside your seat. Engage the core and lift legs 45-50 degrees relative to the floor, keeping knees bent so shins are parallel to the floor, hands can hold back of knees (making the shape of a boat). If available, consider stretching the legs long and hover hands along the side of the body with core engaged while balancing on your seat.

Parent prompts: Can you row your boat? (Move arms along side of body as if paddling) Can you hold the pose while we sing “Row Row Row Your Boat”? Use this pose while reading/watching/listening to “The Own And The Pussy Cat.”


IMG_7159Face each other with a slight bend in the knee and feet touch. Legs can either by straight or open in a straddle (If partners legs are longer or shorter consider touching anywhere. E.g., feet to knees). Lean forwards to grasp hands (a larger bend in the knee might be needed). Gently pull your partners hands as you lean back. After 10-15 seconds switch and let your partner pull you forward.

Parent prompts: Where do you feel the stretch? How long can you reach your body? Can you reach your stretch right out of the top of your head? Consider chanting “See” as you lean one way and “Saw” as you lean the other.

How do you get active as a family? Let me know in the comments!

 Tune in to CH Morning Live on Thursday March 14th to see this sequence in action! Didn’t catch us live – chick here and watch it now!

5 Holiday Gifts for PE Teachers Who Have Everything!

Are you looking for something for that physical education (PE) teacher in your life? Or are you a PE teacher looking for new ideas of gear to add to your equipment room? Here are the top 5 new toys I love, and I’m sure your #PEGeek (or class!) will too!

 1. Garden Heroes Beanbags.

I first got to hear about Gopher through first hand experiences with the amazing things they are doing in giving at educator professional learning. At the last two conferences I have had the pleasure of presenting at, Gopher have provided me with all the equipment I needed to conduct the workshop, then donated it all to local schools. During one of these workshops I used the Garden Heroes Beanbag set for a game of Beanbag bocce, and while they didn’t “roll” as well as typical bocce balls, they adorableness translated into a very fun modified game. The beanbags can also be used to integrate connections from the healthy living strands into PE, or just be a cute way to engage your class in fun. Available online from Gopher here.

beanbags2. Yoga Alphabet Cards.

I love these cards, yes maybe I’m biased because they were my idea and I wrote them, but I love how they connect literacy in PE, How they connect the physical practice of yoga, with fundamental movement skills, and fun, and I love that they are bringing the mindfulness of yoga into the classroom. Perfect for daily physical activity, physical education, and literacy instruction, you’ll be engaging children’s bodies and minds as you help them develop health-related components of fitness.  Available online from Ophea here.

YogaCover_26OC113. Fingers Light.

The ladies from DancePl3y originally shared these sweet little lights with me and as a lover of dance and movement I knew that I needed them. They can turn that dance lesson from a fun time to a wild time! After teaching a dance, whether it’s novelty or creative, have students then perform the sequence with the gym lights low and finger lights on. See a dance in action here. You can buy them online from Amazon here, or in a 5 pack you can pick them up from your local Dollerama.

led-finger-lights1-1746364. ITunes Gift Card.

This is a very practice gift idea. Whether buying music for their movement lesson, or the hottest app for their tablet, an ITunes gift card has so many useful applications in PE program. Many deals exist for purchasing cards, and even places like the Real Canadian Super Store are offering, buy a $15 gift card for $10. So search around and find a deal!

itunes-giftcard5. Super Sport Disc Packs (aka Hand Trampolines).

I first watched a class engaging with hand trampolines during a classroom visit of the PE Teacher extraordinaire Andrea Haefele. We were there watches how she integrates technology in the gym – Youtube video here – and these were part of her lesson. They make the list because they are a great way to modify your PE program when focusing on the strategies of Net/Wall games. Rather than worrying on badminton sending/receiving skills using fun equipment allows students to just focus on the strategies, and Andrea does this like the HPE rock star teacher she is. I purchased my set from my local Scholars Choice, but they can also be purchased online from Gopher here.


 What’s on your holiday health and physical education wish list? Share it below!

*images sourced from respected images identified in post*

Yoga in Schools? It’s Elementary!

This month I have the honour of sharing my passion for yoga, quality physical education, and community as a profiled contributor in the current edition of Sweat Equity Magazine. SE is a yoga, fitness, and lifestyle magazine based out of the GTA which profiles health and wellness trends from around North America. SE is published six times annually and can be purchased at Whole Foods and Chapters Indigo.

As I’ve shared previously, there are many benefits to yoga in schools.  Some of these benefits include the development of physical literacy and the fundamental movement skill of balance, improvements associated with the components of health-related fitness including strength and flexibility, the development of personal skills such as self-awareness including mindfulness, and of course, it’s inclusive and fun!

To have the chance to share this message on such a large scale is a wonderful opportunity and hopefully even better for the children and youth in Ontario schools and abroad. You’ll find a copy of the article below. If you’re an educator looking for ways to integrate yoga in your own classes ,here are some strategies I share in the article.

Sample Activities for Physical Education

Are you a teacher or classroom volunteer looking to help your students get their Om on? Consider including some of these elements of yoga in your physical education or classroom practices:

Breathing exercises: Have students take a few minutes to find a relaxing space in the gym or classroom and focus on their breath. Encourage students to breathe slowly in through their nose and out through their nose. Use the breath to calm or energize the body and to connect to the central nervous system.

Games: Integrate yoga postures into some favourite gym games. When playing tag, have students who are tagged hold their favourite posture until they are freed. During classroom reading, have students create postures based on character traits of some lead characters.

Yoga Postures: Have students move through teacher lead, peer lead, or individual yoga sequences. Have students create sequences based on those learned throughout the class. Consider displaying potential postures on chart paper or index cards and have students write their sequences done. Students can trade sequences to perform individually or lead small groups through their sequences.

Mindfulness & Reflection: In a relaxing position in the classroom or gymnasium, have students take a few minutes to think and reflect on experiences throughout the day, what makes them happy, what it takes to be a good friend or a variety of school or community related topics that connect to personal, interpersonal, and critical and creative thinking.

Connect to the Community: Reach out to experts within your community. Consider a class trip to a local studio or bring a trained professional from the community to guest teach in your classroom.