By Donna Freeman
Musical chairs meets yoga. A fun, inclusive version of the classic game combining upbeat music, kids favorite yoga poses and loads of energy. This will be a hit with your group and can be played with any age, including teenagers. It is especially fun for Family Yoga and with groups of varying ages and abilities. Musical Mats is an enjoyable way to improve listening skills and social skills.
Set out one yoga mat per participant. I often do this in a circle, oval or large rectangle with all mats facing into the center. Onto each mat place a yoga pose card. Try ABC Yoga Cards for Kids, The Kids Yoga Deck, Elevator Series Pose Cards, or make your own using our alphabetical list of poses. Have a bunch of fun, upbeat music uploaded to your iPod.
How to Play
Before beginning to play, review all poses to make sure everyone knows what they are expected to do and how to practice the poses properly and safely. Have students stand in a circle on the outside of the mats. When music plays students walk, skip, hop, walk backwards, etc. (something different each round is fun) around the mats. When the music stops each student claims a yoga mat and performs the corresponding pose on the mat’s yoga card. Encourage students to find a new mat each time.
Teacher’s Assistant Variation
Put out enough mats for one per student minus one (i.e. 15 students, 14 mats). Each time the music stops one student will be left without a mat. They are the Teacher’s Assistant and get to help everyone else perform their pose, giving suggestions and encouragement. Sometimes children will delay choosing a mat in order to be the Teacher’s Assistant. Make it understood that everyone will only get one opportunity to be the assistant. If someone really doesn’t want to be the assistant make a pose into a partner pose and go onto the next round.
Partner Poses Variation
Choose a partner. As the music plays walk together around the mats, holding hands or arms linked if desired. When music stops claim a mat and perform the partner pose which corresponds to that mat. This is great fun for a Family Yoga class or anytime you want to build connections and develop cooperation and social skills.