Body Awareness & Appreciation

Awareness is crucial to staying safe, keeping others safe, not breaking things… But more importantly, it is key for enjoying everything in life more AND for any change we want to affect in our lives.

When we are not aware of how the media works, or how our brain works, or emotions or thoughts, we are bound by them. It is only when we pay attention and educate ourselves about the way of things that we gain the power to be in charge of the direction our life takes us.

The body is a magical creation; it is absolutely AMAZING! Yet, many people, young ones included, struggle with low body image.

So body awareness it itself is not enough because we may be acutely focused on all of the little details that might not be like someone else or like the magazines and television and social media tells us it should be.

Awareness is one wing of this bird of loving ourselves or being happy, and compassion and appreciation is the other wing to help it take flight.

I don’t know how any science can really explain how so randomly our bodies evolved to be the truly magical creations that they are…. Religion is unreasonable too here… So all that is left is to be in awe and have plenty of appreciation for simply (and very complexly) being alive!

To Bring: Paper and things to draw with

Guess Your Pulse

Being able to guess your pulse is correlated with interoception, a fancy word for ‘awareness of what’s going on inside your body.’ Studies have shown that those who have stronger interoception also are better able to manage their emotions… AMAZING!

This is also a good time to pause… It is challenging to be aware when we go go go, or when we go fast all the time. Much easier to start developing this skill when we slow down and pause.

  • Show students how to feel their pulse on the side of their neck or their wrist
  • Have everyone guess their pulse
  • Mesure 60 seconds for them to count their heartbeats
  • Compare to their guesses

Repeat several times during the class, after an active exercise, before AND after relaxation etc.

2 Minutes each time during the class

Grounding Ourselves

Practice all 3, one after the other:

Feel Your Feet - I often use this technique with my students because it’s so fast and effective. Sitting or standing, place all of your awareness on the bottom of your feet. Pay attention to any sensations for 30 seconds to 1 minute. . You can also try it with eyes closed

Follow Your Breath - Close your eyes and as you inhale, trace the air as it enters your nose and goes into your lungs. On the exhale, follow the air leaving your lungs and exiting your nose or mouth for about 1-2 minutes.

The key is to observe the breath instead of forcing it with your mind. Let your body lead and your mind will follow.

Stand Like a Tree - Stand with your feet parallel and at least shoulder’s width apart. Keep your head floating above your body, chin tucked, and spine straight. Rest your hands at your side or place them over your navel.

Sink all of your body’s weight and tension into your feet (without collapsing your posture), allowing it to be absorbed into the ground. To support this grounding process, imagine roots growing out the bottom of your feet, extending deep into the ground beneath you. You are a strong and beautiful tree.

5 Minutes

Slow Down & Smell The Flowers

Often we rush through everything, including yoga.

As we move through the Sun Dance, let’s take it super low this time so that we can REALLY FEEL the stretch in our bodies.

Focus on lengthening in each and every pose using your body awareness to pull your body in two opposite directions top and bottom… Your body is like a squiggly line and to make it longer and stretch farther you want to pull that string in two opposite directions, or ground one end and pull away from the other end.

Take pleasure in lengthening your body and moving it nice and slow.

5-10 Minutes


Mirroring each other involves lots of body awareness, this time in coordination with another person.

This practice involves communicating and moving without words while mirroring a partner.

Count the number of students in the group and divide in two. Match people from opposite sides of the circle and opposite groups by pointing at both and asking them to raise their hands

The practice is done to music with no words, not even one word! 

In this exercise, we mirror each other's movements. In the beginning, one partner is leading with yoga poses and dance and then the other, but eventually, you try to move as one, as your movement merge and synchronise, it becomes unclear who is leading and who is following.

At the same time as being totally absorbed in your partner, try to be aware of this beautiful Human Kaleidoscope that we are creating together as a group. This is a group effort too, so try not to wander away with your partner to the corner.

If your partner moves toward the centre of the circle you move there too, if they move back you move back too. If they move to one side, you move to the opposite side, otherwise, you’ll end up out of the circle

Use the space and interact with other pairs. Use yoga poses, but also decorate them with other movements and dancing and even drama. See if you can stay focused on your bond with the other but also be aware of your part in the movement of the whole group.

For younger groups instead of a circle, the practice can be done in pairs standing in front of each other on their yoga mats.

And if you teach this class online, pair people in your group to mirror each other as they view each other on the screen.

5 Minutes

Experiential Anatomy

Have each person in the group, one at a time, choose their favourite pose for everyone to experience.

Take the time in each pose to really feel where the stretch is. Let the students all be involved in sharing their experiences.

Direct the students’ attention into the different areas they may feel the stretch and experiment together to see if and small changes in the pose may help us feel a greater stretch. Observe also if your breath is able to deepen more as you lengthen or bend or twist more...

You can call out load the body parts that are being stretched or strengthen and even use anatomical terms to help bring more awareness to the process and transformation of the poses with the heightened focus we are putting into them now.

10-15 Minutes

Can You Do It With Your Eyes Closed

It’s tough to focus on anything but your body when trying to balance… Add to it closing your eyes and you will have to put all of your attention here enough to achieve it!

Try each pose with your eyes open first and then with your eyes closed. 

If it is an asymmetrical pose, try it on both sides and observe if there is a difference in your ability to balance here.

Try by order:

  • Mountain Pose
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Squat
  • Warrior Poses… Including Warrior 3!
  • High Lunge
  • Tree Pose
  • Eagle Pose
  • Dancer Pose
  • Half Moon Pose
  • And more of your choice

You can also direct students now to the fact that they can feel the stretch more now with their eyes closed...

5 Minutes

“Yogi Says” 

The Yogi Says is a wonderful game to encourage body awareness and self-regulation!

Say an action that your students must copy and complete the movement yourself as you describe it. You can include parts of the body, gross motor movements, silly noises, yoga poses of course etc.

Call out more than one activity to increase the challenge such as “The Yogi Says to stand it Tree Pose and touch your right hand to your left knee”. 

Of course, if you don’t say “The Yogi Says” before the instructions the students should not follow you. The secret to confusing the students is to still do it yourself even when you don’t say “The Yogi Says”.

The Yogi Says Exercise Ball Style (or you can use a rolled-up yoga mat) - This is an easy way to adapt a timeless game of Simon Says but add in more range of motion, muscle strengthening and spatial relationships. It is more of a challenge when you use a large, exercise ball but if that is not available grab a large beach ball a school bag, pillow or a rolled-up yoga mat.... Just grab something large enough that requires two hands to hold!

Now provide the usual directions of a The Yogi Says game but add in some additional steps.  For example “The Yogi Says….”

  • Put the ball over your head.
  • Hold the ball on your right side.
  • Hold the ball on your left side.
  • Squeeze the ball between your knees.
  • Put the ball behind your back.
  • Sit on the ball.
  • Roll on your belly over the ball.
  • Put the ball on top of the desk.
  • Hold the ball next to the chair.
  • Place the ball between your back and the wall.
  • Touch your left foot on the ball.
  • Put both hands on the side of the ball.
  • Place your right foot under the ball.
  • Touch the ball with your left foot, right hand and your chin.
  • Bounce the ball three times.

By adding in the extra location directions you are also reinforcing right versus left and spatial relationships. The large ball encourages bilateral skills and crossing midline. The Yogi Says incorporates body awareness, motor planning, crossing midline and balance.

Working with a group of children and only have one large ball?  Play hot potato! Remind the children they always have to hold the ball with two hands (or two feet)!  Position the children in standing in a large circle with some space between each child. Turn the music on and pass the ball around the circle. Try passing it to the right, to the left or overhead.  Try sitting down and passing the ball using your feet.

5-10 Minutes

How Many Will It Take?

Here is a simple activity that helps students to understand spatial relationships to objects in the classroom… Measured by body lengths or activities,

Start out with each student standing up at the far end of their mat. Have them guess how many baby steps it will take to walk to the mat in front of them.  Once they have made the estimate, they can count the baby steps it takes.

Now try moving to a target further away with a different movement. Guess how many jumps it will take to get to the window.  Once the estimate is made, the students can count the jumps it takes them to get to the window.  

Return to the starting point. Now ask the students to double the number of jumps it took them to get to the window. The students must now adjust the size of the jumps and how the body moves through space to take double the amount of jumps to the window.

Try similar measurements in yoga poses moves such as Frog Jumps, Deep High Lunges Steps, Goddess Pose Rotations etc.

Now try to work in pairs... The students can stand at least 3 meters / 10 feet apart. Estimate how many hops it will take to meet in the middle. Test your guess and hop to meet in the middle.  

Try again with different movements such as backward steps, heel to toe walking, lunges, marching etc.  Make sure to remind the students that part of the challenge is to meet in the middle but not to touch each other.

5-10 Minutes

Q and A Body Awareness

This is a bit for younger kids and can be played with one player or a group of children to promote body awareness, motor skills, and listening skills.

The teacher faces the group and is going to ask the children to move certain body parts based on questions. The children are not to answer the questions. They should move the body part that is the answer to the question.

Here is an example:

Question:  What body part waves hello?

Answer:  Children wave hands in the air.

Here is a list of several questions and answers or make up your own. See what questions the children can come up with too!

Q:  What body part makes funny faces?

A:  Child moves mouth or tongue

Q:  What body part wears socks?

A:  Child moves feet.

Q:  What body part uses a pencil?

A:  Child wiggles fingers.

Q:  What body part smells skunks?

A:  Child moves nose.

Q:  What body part climbs ladders?

A: Child moves arms and legs

Q: What body part breaths deeply?

A: Child moves belly

Q: What body part stands in tree pose?

A: Child moves foot

Q: What body part relaxes in relaxation?

A: Child moves whole body

5 Minutes

Creating A Self-Portraits

Practice drawing a picture of yourself. Name body parts as they are drawn. Put little love hearts next to the parts of your body that you feel need more love or write positive affirmations next to them.

This will look very different for different age groups, but it is always an excellent way to bring awareness to ourselves and the love and appreciation that every part of us deserves.

5-10 Minutes

I Love My Body Relaxation

Lie down and close your eyes. Take a few deepest breaths…

Our bodies do so much for us! Our legs allow us to walk, our bums to sit comfortably, our arms to carry stuff, our tummies to digest the food we eat, our eyes to see, our noses to smell, ears to hear… Our body and every part of it deserves so much APPRECIATION!

Let’s start right at the bottom with our toes… Shift your awareness there, breathe warmth and love into your toes and repeat in your mind “I love my toes - My toes are perfect as they are”.

Continue the same process as you slowly shift your awareness into different parts of your body repeating:

“I love my feet - My feet are perfect as they are”

“I love my legs - My legs are perfect as they are”

“I love my hips - My hips are perfect as they are”

“I love my tummy - My tummy is perfect as it is”

“I love my chest - My chest is perfect as it is”

“I love my fingers - My fingers are perfect as they are”

“I love my hands - My hands are perfect as they are”

“I love my arms - My arms are perfect as they are”

“I love my shoulders - My shoulders are perfect as they are”

“I love my hair - My hair is perfect as it is”

“I love my face - My face is perfect as it is”

“I love my body -  I am perfect as I am” x 3

Stay here for a bit enjoying just being you without needing to change or fix anything. You are perfect and beautiful as you are.

5-10 Minutes



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Rainbow Yoga trained more than 30,000 Kids Yoga Teachers since 2007. We make yoga fun for children and young people of all age groups and for the whole family too! Our yoga consists of many poses and stretches that have different physical benefits for our health and well-being, breathing, relaxation, meditation and mindfulness exercises for our minds, and social interaction, playfulness, meaning, deep life lessons and fun for our spirit.

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