As YoKid teacher and co-founder of Zomppa, an organization dedicated to transforming kids’ relationships with food and the planet, Belinda Chiu figured combining food and yoga as mediums for raising awareness could be a powerful (and fun-and delicious) combination. Here’s her story:
“As a first-time YoKid instructor, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Zomppa’s curriculum dedicates time to the importance of ‘eating the rainbow.’ so I knew that I wanted my overall theme to be colors and their correlation to different chakras (i.e. yellow=confidence; blue=communication), and include discussions beyond the self on the environment and healthy eating.
Our class had a fairly wide range of ages, so it was important to keep movement and activities appropriate and exciting for multiple levels. As probably many of us have experienced with younger ones, a full hour of asanas is impossible – especially after school when they come in already tired. This group responded well to the a combination of movement and related activities/crafts. Our class of happy yogis included an extremely bright young boy who has autistism and preferred not to stay on his mat during movement time. During craft activity time, however, he became extremely focused and his individual abilities shined.”
Here’s Belinda’s guide to a Mindful Eating Exercise
Parents, school teachers, yoga teachers, anyone can practice with kids & teens.
Prepare bowls or individual baggies of strawberries (red), lemon slices (yellow), pears (green), blueberries (blue), and grapes (purple), and clementines (orange). The first thing the kiddos will want to do is eat them, but make it clear that that will come after a little fun exploration. This may be a real test in patience, but your little yogis can do it!
Begin with a discussion about mindfulness and healthy eating, and sharing your favorite foods while showing off your favorite poses. After moving through our physical asanas (and tiring them out! ), have a chat about why it is important to eat the “colors of the rainbow.” Some few yogis may try to convince you that strawberry ice cream fits the bill!
- First ask if anyone has any allergies
- Assure everyone that they do not have to try or like everything on their plates
- Roll call with the fruit, ROYGBIV-style. With each fruit, hold it, look at it, study it, smell it, lick it – but do not eat it yet! (holding the fruit for only about 20-30 seconds, but it may seem like an eternity to the budding yogis! )
- After some time considering and describing the fruit, enjoy! Have the yogis take a small bite, chew it really, really slowly, or close their eyes while swallowing. With each fruit, allow the yogis to describe the texture, taste, and experience (i.e. peeling the grapes to see what was underneath the peel).
This exercise not only allowed the little yogis to explore the benefits of healthy eating in a fun way; It calmed them down, demonstrated an exercise in patience, and also helped with those afterschool hunger pains. For more healthy eating activities, recipes, fun worksheets and to learn more about Zomppa visit them on the web.
The YoKid team