Stay-at-home mom Lindsey Kampa is using yoga to teach Mora Elementary students the importance of thankfulness.
Kampa volunteered to come into Mora classrooms and present the tale of “Bear Says Thanks” based on the book by Karma Wilson.
Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, this lesson in thankfulness teaches that even if they don’t have many possessions, a person can share their friendship —and friendship is something worth being grateful for.
Story-based yoga follows a tale, using different yoga poses and stretches to illustrate the story with the body. Rather than needing to learn names of different poses on confusing concepts about when to inhale or exhale, children can follow along as the instructor tells them to stretch like a cat or reach high like a tree.
Deep breathing is an integral part of yoga — but rather than talking about lungs and diaphragms, the story-teller may ask the children to pretend they are filling a balloon.
“For me, it is really important for kids to practice yoga.” said Kampa. “It’s an incredibly rewarding and helpful practice.”
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, research suggests yoga can improve wellness by relieving stress, supporting good health habits and improving mental and emotional health, sleep and balance.
Kampa first began practicing yoga in college when her roommate trained as a yoga instructor. She now has four children under the age of 7 —including 3-year-old twins.
She started using story-based yoga with her children to help her young daughter. Kampa’s daughter sometimes struggles with sensory processing and managing her emotions; yoga has been a great way for her to “reset.”
This success with her own child inspired Kampa to bring yoga to more young children.
Kampa is not a certified yoga instructor but is currently working on a professional training certification from a company called Cosmic Kids.
Cosmic Kids was created by Englishwoman Jaime Amor which creates story-based kids yoga programs, which are available on YouTube or at CosmicKids.com.
Kampa is using her presentations to Mora Elementary students as practice for her certification. With her certification, Kampa said her goal is to offer more classes to the community.
While Cosmic Kids yoga provides videos on YouTube, Kampa said the engagement response she has seen from children is better with a person leading the instruction, rather than a TV screen.
Mora kindergarten teacher Anna Verdon said her students enjoy Kampa’s yoga stories.
“She does a fabulous job,” Verdon said. “She just put the kids at ease. She was fun and excited about it, so the kids were excited ... It was really relaxing too. At the end they were just calm.”
Verdon said young children can’t be expected to sit still at a desk all day, so teachers try to incorporate movement into their lessons.
“The more engaged kids can be the better. At this age they are hands on. They need to move. For them to have the chance to re-tell the story with their bodies was great. It helps them remember it, too. It was really fun.”
Anna Verdon learned some skills, too. Now when her classroom needs to calm down, Verdon will model a pose, and the kindergartners will follow.
Kampa has already arranged visits to Mora classrooms to present more holiday-themed sessions in December.
For more information about story-based yoga in the Mora community, contact Lindsey Kampa at firstname.lastname@example.org.