Growing love for Jesus, others & ourselves through movement, music, worship & FUN!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Nutcracker Yoga

It's almost Christmas, and one favorite Christmas story is that of the Nutcracker. We can celebrate a great story because we know that God is the greatest storyteller and He is the source of creativity. Enjoy this yoga version of this beloved tale! (If it makes sense to, try each pose on both sides of the body).

There once was a girl named Clara.
Start in Child's pose, sitting on your heels, head to the floor.
She and her brother Fritz were attending their parents' Christmas party when a beloved but mysterious family friend named Herr Drosselmeyer arrived bearing gifts for Clara and Fritz.

Clara's gift was a couple of baby dolls.
Hold your shin in your arms and rock it like a baby. Try it on both sides.

Fritz received Toy Soldiers.
Stand on one foot, lift the other foot & opposite arm, like a soldier marching.

Herr Drosselmeyer also gave Clara a special gift: a wooden Nutcracker.
Stand still & tall with your arms at your sides, like you are made of wood.
Fritz was jealous and tried to snatch Nutcracker away from Clara. The gift broke in two and Clara's heart sank. And yet, Herr Drosselmeyer was able to put Nutcracker back together again.

Clara drifted off to sleep and into a very unusual dream.
Curl up using your hands as pillows.

Clara sees her Christmas tree grow and grow and grow into a giant tree!
Stand tall. Bring one foot to your ankle or calf. Bring your hands to a point over your head.

And then she encountered an evil Mouse King and his mouse army who scared her!
Start in warrior 2 pose & use your back arm to fire the Mouse King's cannon as you bring it forward.

Luckily, Nutcracker and his band of toy soldiers came to her rescue! Clara was safe.

Clara's dream then takes her to the Land of Snow, where she meets the Snow King and Queen.
Twinkle your fingers & sway from side to side like a snowflake gently falling.
From there, her imaginative adventure leads to the Land of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy dances for Clara and the prince.
Hold your foot in one hand as you stretch forward with the other.

The Sugar Plum Fairy introduces Clara to many sweets including:

Bring both hands to the inside of your foot. Hiss like a teapot boiling.


Stand on your tippy toes and hold your hands up like you're holding cups of hot coffee!
Mother Ginger's children hide under her large dress. Move from side to side.

and Candy Canes
Bend over, like a candy cane's hook.

And then the Rose and her flower friends dance for Clara.
Sit up with your hands holding your feet, like the petals of a rose.

Clara awakes with a sense of wonder and joy.

Have fun with this story and these poses! Know that Christmas wonder and joy found in the heart of Jesus are for you, too!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Advent Week Four: Mary & Joseph

As we come to our final week of Advent, we turn our focus to Mary and Joseph, Jesus' earthly parents.

God had a plan to make everything right between Him and people. He had a plan to bring hope and light back to a sad and dark world. He had a plan, and when God has a plan, the Bible tells us one way or another, it will get accomplished.

But God had a certain way He wanted his plan to go. And so He invited Mary and Joseph to be a part of His plan. His plan was for them to have a baby—the baby Jesus. And He asked them to participate.

God sent his invitation to Mary through an angel. After she listen to the angel explain the plan, she answered, "may it be according to your will, God," which means, "I want the same thing you want, God."

Joseph's invitation to the plan came through Mary. He said yes to God's plan by taking care of Mary while she was pregnant with Jesus and by raising Jesus as his son.

We get invited to participate in God's plan, too. He asks us to help spread His love, to shine His light, and to help the whole world know about His son Jesus. We participate in His plan by showing kindness, by trusting Him in hard times, and by loving others as much as we can. Like Mary, we can say, "yes, God. I want the same things you do." And when we do, we participate in His plan to bring hope to the world.

Try these poses to remember the way that Mary and Joseph participated in God's plan.

Table: Joseph was a carpenter. Carpenters make things out of wood. They use a table to build things on. Remember how Joseph said yes to God with this Table Pose.

Start on your hands and knees. Your shoulders are over your wrists, your knees are under your hips. Pull your belly button towards your spine and grow long all the way from your tail through the top of your head. Feel yourself strong and steady like a big wooden table.

Donkey Kicks: Mary had to ride on a donkey for a long journey to Bethlehem, the town where Jesus was born. Donkeys move slowly and are very uncomfortable to ride on. Remember Mary and how she wanted what God wanted, even when it was difficult for her. Ask God to help you to want what He wants, too.

From your table pose slowly lift one leg, keeping the knee bent, as though you were a donkey gently kicking. Please watch out for anyone or anything near you! Try it on both sides a couple of times. If you like, you can bray like a donkey, saying "hee haw, hee haw."

Share your pictures with us, please! On Facebook or Instagram @kidsholyyoga!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Advent Week 3: the Wisemen

For week 3 of our Advent series, let's take a look at the wise men (or the Magi) of the Christmas story.

These men are described as coming from the East (which would have been far away from Judea, Jesus' home country), and they were men who studied the stars. They saw a star that made them believe a new king was to be born in Bethlehem and they traveled to worship Him (Matthew 2). Most Bible scholars think they probably rode camels to make their long journey.

Our lesson from the wise men is that sometimes God will take us on unexpected journeys and adventures. It is our faith, or trust in Him, that allows us to follow Him wherever He is leading us. Like the star that guided the wise men, He will always lead us.

Let's practice the faith of the wise men with these poses. Jesus, fill our hearts with trust for you so that we will follow you on whatever adventure you plan for us.

Camel Pose: Stand on your knees. Bring your hands to your low back and pull your shoulders and elbows toward each other. Lift your heart and let your head fall back slightly (if it hurts, STOP!). Imagine riding a camel to come meet baby Jesus.

If you have a lot of flexibility, you can try this more
advanced version of the pose. But be gentle!
Star Pose: Stand with your feet wide, turned slightly out. Bring your arms parallel to the ground. Stretch out through your fingers as you hug your shoulder blades together. Twinkle your fingers and smile to shine your light, just like the Christmas star.

Share your pictures with us, Kids' Holy Yogis! Find us on Facebook or Instagram @kidsholyyoga.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Advent Week 2: the Shepherds

In the Christmas story, an angel appears to some shepherds out in the night. The first thing the angel says to them is "Do not be afraid." He comes with good news, he says, and he tells the shepherds that the Savior has been born in Bethlehem (Luke 2). After hearing this good news, the shepherds went to Bethlehem, found the baby Jesus, and worshiped Him.

This isn't the only place in the Bible where someone is told to not be afraid. The scriptures tell us again and again to not be afraid. One favorite verse says, "Do not be afraid. I am with you. Don't tremble with fear. I am your God" (Isaiah 41:10).

Do you ever feel afraid? One of the best ways to deal with our fear is to imitate the shepherds. Instead of being afraid, they chose to worship. We can do the same thing.

What is worship? It's when we express our love for God. We can show our love for God through prayer, singing songs of praise, and many other ways...including our yoga!

Here are our poses for remembering the lesson of the shepherds. Jesus, help us to trust you and let go of our fear!

Warrior 2: Shepherds look out across the hills and horizon as they watch over their sheep. Stand with your feet wide apart. Point your right toes forward. Bend your right knee and start to sit down a little. Bring your arms up parallel to the floor and stretch through your fingertips. Look over your right fingertips like you are watching your sheep across the rolling hills. Hold for a few breaths. Ask Jesus to help you with anything you are afraid of. Then try the whole pose on the left side.

Staff pose: Shepherds use a long tool called a staff (usually made of wood with a hook at the end) to help guide their sheep. Sit with your legs out long in front of you. Set your hands next to your hips. Grow long through your spine and get tall. Push through your heels and turn your toes toward your nose. Feel as strong as a wooden staff. Remember how Jesus uses His love to guide you in your life. Take three-five breaths and then release.

We would love to see your pictures as you practice these shepherd poses. Find us on Facebook at Kids Holy Yoga or on Instagram @kidsholyyoga.