• Belly Boat Float

    Remember those good old days, folding paper into neat little paper boats? The fact that I recall using old newspaper to make ours, most likely indicates my age… I am also old enough to be so far removed from my childhood that I found myself completely stumped when I went to make them for a kiddos yoga class I was teaching several years ago. Unable to wrap my head — and most importantly, my crisp piece of fancy origami paper — around something that was completely effortless as I child, I ended up extremely frustrated.

    Cue mindful breathing and YouTube to the rescue! 🙂

    For this week’s post I think it’s best to stick with what I do know, pediatric Movement, Meditation and Mindfulness, so instead of trying to describe – or worse, draw! – the step-by-step process of folding a neat little paper boat, I highly recommend a quick Youtube search to dig up a step-by-step tutorial. Now let’s talk about how those neat little paper boats tie in to your kiddos yoga classes…..

    Belly Boats are a fun craft to do with your class and a great segue in to some good old-fashioned belly breathing. Use plain white paper to allow kids to paint, decorate and personalize their boats — or use colorful paper and fancy stickers, glitter, tinsel, buttons, pom-poms to really glitz up the paper boats. Once the fabulous paper sea vessels are complete (and dry), children rest on their backs on yoga mats and gently place their masterful Belly Boats on their bellies:

    1. Cue kiddos to observe the Belly Boat and how it moves on their belly ocean with each natural breath.
    2. Cue slow, deep and full belly breaths — encourage slow and even breaths as kids watch their boat bob up and down.
    3. Encourage kiddos to switch between natural and deep breathing patterns, and compare the movement of the boat.
    4. Which breath allows them to see their boats sailing upon their belly ocean?
    5. Which breath allows the boat the smoothly and safely sail upon their belly ocean?
    6. Which breath gives them a deeper sense of control in terms of sailing their vessel?

    Class Management Tip: You will always have kiddos who want to test out rapid breathing and my best advice to counter this is to remind them that the more skillful way is breathe slowly and with control. Usually this is enough to challenge them to try the correct way. If this does not work, perhaps remind them that all of the people on the boat might get seasick if they do not find smoother seas quickly!

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