I’ve finally started homeschooling and it hasn’t gone as smoothly as I’d hoped though I was told to expect this. So here is a big shout out and thanks to the lovely Giselle Shardlow for her guest post this week. Giselle is the author of Kids Yoga Stories. Her yoga-inspired children’s books get children moving, learning, and having fun. She draws from her experiences as a teacher, traveler, yogi, and mom to write her stories found at www.kidsyogastories.com or on Amazon worldwide.
How Learning Yoga is Similar to Learning Another Language
I’m so excited! I’ve recently had a fun aha moment. It occurred to me that teaching yoga is a lot like teaching another language. As parents, we explore this connection as we raise our daughter to be a yogini and Spanish speaker. I recently wrote about how integrating yoga and Spanish is a perfect combination. I would love to share with you how we teach our daughter yoga and Spanish at the same time.
Ways to approach teaching both yoga and Spanish
As a stay-at-home mom to a two-year-old daughter, I’m constantly thinking about how to create an effective and engaging learning environment at home. As we continue along our journey, here’s how we foster our daughter’s love of learning both Spanish and yoga:
- Share an experience or have another close family friend share one
- Make the learning fun, engaging, light-hearted, and interesting
- Cater to her interests, such as animals and nature
- Create a consistent, daily ritual of learning (for example, spend five minutes a day)
- Practice positive reinforcement
- Make the learning meaningful and relevant to her life
- Learn through activity and movement
- Encourage her self-expression, and increase her self-esteem
- Start with the basics (for example, animal poses for yoga and counting in Spanish)
- Build memory skills through repetition
- Foster an active lifestyle for her mind and body
- Start early, and start simple
- Create an effective and rich learning environment
- Show passion and excitement for learning
- Notice her mood on that day and adapt accordingly
- Cater to her multiple intelligences through language, physical activity, sounds, nature, music, interpersonal connection, and visuals
- Use a variety of media, such as books, CDs, videos, cards, and games
How to integrate learning Spanish and practicing yoga
Downward-Facing Dog was our daughter’s first yoga pose. She practiced it literally everywhere and anywhere. Next, she learned the Tree Pose. Now, there’s no stopping her. She’s hooked. Just recently, we started Spanish Yoga.
This Sun Salute sequence or each pose separately is a good place to start practicing. Note the keyword in English and Spanish, along with the matching kids yoga pose:
- Mountain – La Montana
Stand tall with your feet together and your arms by your side. Take a deep breath. Ahh!
- Sun – El Sol
Extended Mountain Pose
Stand tall, reach your hands up to the sky, and look up. Hello sun!
- Waterfall – La Cascada
Standing Forward Bend
Bend forward at the waist and reach for your toes. Whoosh!
- Frog – La Rana
Garland (Squat) Pose
Come down to a squat with your hands between your feet. Then jump up like a frog. Ribbit!
- Snake – El Serpiente
Lie down on your belly, place your palms flat on the ground next to your shoulders, lift your head and chest, and look up. Hiss!
- Dog – El Perro
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press back to your hands and feet, then bark like a dog. Ruff!
You can say the instructions in Spanish to enrich the language experience. Also, ask questions as your children move through the poses. How do they feel? Can they imagine being that animal? Can they think of other animals to act out? Encourage their creativity and exploration. Focus on having fun, not on perfectly aligned poses. Model the poses with enthusiasm. Play Spanish music. Wear comfortable clothing and practice barefoot. Enjoy yourselves. Allow for spontaneous learning moments. Follow their passion. Yoga and language learning are lifelong journeys, so embrace the experience.
A picture of our daughter practicing the Tree Pose while “counting” to ten in Spanish.
The yoga poses in another language
For older children, yoga is an opportunity to be exposed to yet another language. Below are the yoga poses along with the Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) translations.
Mountain Pose – Tadasana
Standing Forward Bend – Uttanasana
Garland (Squat) Pose – Malasana
Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose – Adho Mukha Svanasana
Are you teaching Spanish to your children or practicing yoga? Have you tried combining the two together? I would love to hear your story! We are learning as we go along…
Yoga and Spanish are a wonderful combination. I love the way the poses reinforce the meaning of the language!
I agree with Jennifer – what a wonderful combination. My girls are just starting to get really into yoga and it’s so fun to hear them shout “downward dog” and get into pose. Reading your post reminded me of how often my oldest was in that pose as a baby – when we weren’t thinking of it as yoga. So many poses seem to be natural baby to toddler transition positions.