Side Angle Lunge is one of those poses where a lot is happening in the body -- slight backbending, legs grounding, spine lengthening, side body stretching, belly engaged, and more. For beginning practitioners, it can feel quite foreign and challenging. The pose can teach us to breathe into difficulty and embrace change, while also listening to our bodies to know when it's time to make adjustments that are best for us. As we literally open our hearts to the sky in this pose, can we open our hearts to change?
As children and youth grow and change at a rapid pace, that kind of inner strength and awareness can be invaluable. On the physical side of things, this pose can foster gross motor skills, flexibility, strength, proprioception and kinesthetic awareness as their bodies develop. Let's take a closer look!
With energizing, heating poses such as this one, we must remember that adult bodies can regulate temperature more effectively than children's bodies. You can teach children cooling breaths (such as Bumblebee Breath, Dog's Breath, and breathing out for longer than we breathe in), and to be mindful of messages from their bodies (such as feeling overheated).
We must also let them know that they can rest or get a drink when their bodies are calling for it; young children in particular can be so eager to please that they put what they see as our expectations before their own physical needs. Additionally, as you guide children keep in mind that their energy, intention, and engagement is more important than "perfect" form.
2. Reach your opposite arm forward over your top ear, making the side of your body into one long line.
3. Turn your heart up toward the sky.
4. Say the mantra, “My heart is open to change.”
5. Hold this pose for three to five breaths, noticing sensations and breathing into the physical difficulty here (but find modifications if there is any pain).
6. Continue on with other poses in a sequence or practice the pose with the other
Exercises with Children
Spin the top arm in a slow, steady circle a few times each way, like windmill blades. Teach children about windmills if they haven't yet learned about them.
As a math integration, ask children what shapes they see in the pose. In pairs, they can try pointing out the shapes in a partner's pose.
Children can imagine that in the pose they're a launching rocket, a giraffe reaching for high leaves for a snack, or anything else they can imagine -- the sky's the limit!
Builds core strength
Builds leg strength and balance from two feet
Stretches out often tight spots in the body
Increases proprioception and kinesthetic awareness
Flow and Grow Kids Yoga has many offerings to help you guide children and youth in developing life-long healthy habits (physically, socio-emotionally, and more) through yoga and mindfulness -- we're here to help!