• Chinese New Year Lesson Plan for Kids

    On January 25th we enter a new lunar year, the year of Rat, the first of 12 animals represented in the 12 year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. Born in a rat year, as a child I was perpetually disappointed – and a little grossed out — to be a “Rat”, however, Rats are considered to be resourceful, versatile, quick-witted and kind…. so while I may not be the majestic tiger or fire breathing dragon I longed to be as a kid, I’m rather glad to learn (and accept) the humble rat has some  lovely and redeeming qualities.

    In the spirit of celebrating the Lunar New Year, I’m posting a sample yoga lesson plan for kids below. “Gong hei fat choy!” ….. Happy New Year!

      Intro: In Chinese culture the Lunar New Year is traditionally celebrated with colorful festivals, including dancing, music and firecrackers! When practicing yoga, we dance with our breath. Today we are going to use yoga to explore some of the fun ways the Chinese celebrate the Lunar New Year and learn about the twelve different animals represented each year of the 12-year cycle.

      Centering: Modified sunshine breath – Set off baby firecrackers x 5

      Warm up: Modified sun salutation A or B – Big fireworks display and dancing dragon dance x 3-5 reps

      Extended mountain: Reach up high to sky

      Forward fold: Place firecrackers on the ground

      JUMP to plank: Explode the firecracker

      Updog: Look up at the fireworks

      Downdog: Here comes the dancing dragon

      Warrior I RS (flow with dragon breath x 3): Firebreathing-dancing dragon!

      Downdog: Here comes another dancing dragon

      Warrior I LS (flow with dragon breath x 3): Firebreathing-dancing dragon!

      Downdog: Here comes another dancing dragon

      Jump to forward fold: He pounces forward and…

      Extended mountain: …stretches his claws to the fireworks display in the sky.

      Mountain hands at heart: then bows to the crowd thanking them for watching his dance.

      Yoga Adventure:

      • Rat: Child’s Pose
      • Ox: Table – Cat/Cow
      • Tiger: Balancing Table (Alternate arms and legs w/breath for stalking tiger)
      • Rabbit: Child’s Pose — (Lateral upper body stretch in each direction for burrowing rabbit)
      • Dragon: Low Lunge w/Lion’s Breath
      • Snake: Cobra
      • Horse: Down-dog (handstand prep for kicking horse)
      • Goat: Up-dog
      • Monkey: Mountain Lateral Bends (swing from trees)
      • Rooster: Chair
      • Dog: Playful dog: Forward Fold, Plank, Updog, Down-Dog Wagging Tails: Three Legged Dog
      • Pig: Happy Baby (roll in mud)


      • Children take turns leading pose for the animal representing year they were born (or animal they like)
      • Dancing dragon game (down dog tunnel) — when child exits tunnel they pose in their animal and then return to complete the tunnel and allow next child to travel through.
      • Dancing dragon mandala: sit in circled and move in unison flowing from plow to forward fold
      • Firework mandala (flower mandala) take turns naming color of fireworks as hands go up.

      Savasana: Rest and relax. Think about the year ahead. What would you like your new year to be like? What animal is represented this year? How are you like this animal? How are you unlike this animal? Of the character traits this animal is believed to possess, which do you identify with most?




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