I Love Myself!

A couple of years ago a friend posted this video on Facebook.

I watched it 17 times in a row, and then I couldn’t get it out of my head. I loved the chant, the physicality, the flashes of self-confidence in the girls’ eyes as they moved.

So I decided to incorporate a version of it into my school-aged classes and it’s become one of our favorite warm-ups. (You can scroll down to see some kids doing the chant, Friendly Yoga style.)

The version of this that I teach kids in Friendly Yoga classes goes like this:

I love myself.

In each and every way.

From the color of my skin.

To my ME energy.

I do my dance! I do my dance! I do my do my do my do my do my dance!

A few notes:

  • In the Friendly Yoga version, “I mean every single thing” changed to “In each and every way” simply because I couldn’t remember the original words the first day I taught it to the kids. We got used to saying it that way, and it stuck. Ditto about the “I do my dance” part.
  • I changed “soul energy” to “me energy” just to make sure we steered clear of words that brought in religious or spiritual connotations since some families already need to be convinced that yoga isn’t “religious.”
  • I wanted to find out more about the chant, so I watched this video by klovethepoet, who wrote it. In her words, “It’s definitely for every little girl, man, to feel good about themselves, specifically, little Black girls.” I believe it’s important to honor that that’s the specific impetus behind this chant, and the “color of my skin” line. This chant was written for a specific group of girls that klove cares immensely about and for the larger community they are a part of.  I also believe that raising children of every background who feel great about the package they came in AND who celebrate their individual “me energy” is a world that will grow more and more inclusive, accepting, and kind.


Sometimes I feel like jumping for joy!

A gentle roller coaster of rising and falling energy. That’s the image I keep in mind when planning a yoga class for young children.

ImageThe peak of each upswing gives kids a chance to expend energy, to find themselves in their bodies, to express themselves and laugh and play and move.

And then we coast into a quieter activity that challenges the kids to slow down, relax, notice, and focus, externally and internally.

Friendly Yoga classes usually begin with a greeting song, and then a chance for each child to ring our chime or answer a question. For the youngest kids, that’s quite enough sitting still, thank you very much!

Time for an exuberant warm-up to get our muscles pumping, our faces smiling.

One song I love to begin with is Sometimes by Frances England. Sometimes is the first song on her first CD, Fascinating Creatures.

Intermission!! Three fun things to know about Frances England.

ONE: Her children’s music  – – melodies, lyrics, her voice  – –  is sweet, folky, intelligent, playful, and original. I play a lot of Frances England songs in my classes.

TWO: (I especially love this one) She recorded her first CD as a fundraiser for her son’s school, not expecting that a wider audience would ever hear it.

THREE: She also has a beautiful album of music especially for grown-ups.

Intermission over!! Back to fun yoga class planning!

Here you can find the lyrics to Sometimes, along with some drawings suggesting “moves” you might do with the kids during each part of the song.

Before we begin, I tell the kids that it’s a listening and doing song and that we’re going to listen to what the singer says about her feelings, and act it out with our bodies. The first time or two that we listen to it, I repeat or paraphrase each lyric to the group, as if I’m hearing it for the first time.

The major warm-up action comes during the chorus:

high, high diddy high hee hee

low, low diddy low hoo hoo

When she sings “high,high…” we reach up as high as we can, up on tiptoe, fingers wiggling to the ceiling.

When she sings “low, low…” we quickly flatten ourselves as low as we can onto the ground, like the beginning of a cobra pose. The kids love the challenge of moving quickly from up to down and back up again.

During the verse that begins, “The highs, they soar…” we’re already on the ground, so we stay on our bellies, and when she sings about the highs, we raise our arms and legs, in a flying “superman” pose.  When she sings about the lows, we rest our limbs back down onto the ground.

You’ll be surprised how out of breath you are by the end of this one! It ends with everyone deliciously tuckered out and on their bellies, and I usually say something like “Now rest on your bellies and turn your head to one side, with your ear on the ground. Can you feel your heart beating or your belly pushing into the ground when you breathe? Turn your head to look the other way, and take two more deep breaths, in and out.  In and out.” I then use a very quiet voice to transition them into a story, meditation, or quiet noticing activity.

Planning tip: It’s especially helpful if warm-up activities like this end with the kids in a physical/attentional position in which they are “with you” and ready to follow you down into a more relaxed, focused state.  This song/activity sets you up perfectly for that transition.

As always, enjoy, and feel free to share!


Post by post, I seem to be writing a guide called 101 Fun Yoga Games to Play with Pom Poms.

Idea #72: Pom Pom Popcorn Scramble! This is a great energy-dispersing, good-feeling-generating physical challenge for all ages.

Here’s what you need:


1 pot, preferably with a lid

A whole bunch of pom poms

Popcorn by the Barenaked Ladies (silly name, yes, and this song is from their excellent, quirky children’s album Lunchtime) cued up on the sound system.

Here’s how we play:

•  Fill a pan with popcorn pom poms.

•  Remind the kids about any rules during the game.

I usually have three rules:

1) Once the music starts, sit as still as possible in easy pose until you hear the singer say the word POP three times. Then get up and get ready to move!

2) Each time we play, we have one fun rule about retrieving popcorn, such as: only one or two kernels at a time; you have to hop or skip or tiptoe to the pom poms and crawl back to the pot; you have to balance pom poms on your head to bring them back to the pot; you can only retrieve pom poms with your toes, etc.

3) When the music stops, everyone returns to their mats and sits in easy pose.

•  Start the music! Hold the pot out over a pretend stove, and dramatically act out turning up the heat. When the singer starts to say POP, remove the lid, and throw the “popcorn” all over the room!!! (Little kids especially love this part – a grown-up, making a big mess and throwing stuff? Awesome!) Kids retrieve all the popcorn, according to whatever “rule” has been imposed.

•  Do it again! This is one of those games that always ends in “Do it again!”  And, like the Water Balloon game, it leaves you with happy, laughing kids who have just expended some silly energy and who end the game in easy pose, breathing deeply and ready to transition into the next activity.

Water balloon warm-up

This time of year, kids come into yoga classes with energy to spare.

A warm-up game played to the song Water Balloon by the Okee Dokee Brothers is a great way to burn off extra wiggles while encouraging kids to notice how their bodies are moving, turn on their self-control, and explore the concepts tense and relaxed.

Here’s how we play:

•  First, we pretend to hold water balloons in our hands and talk about how they move and jiggle in a loose, floppy way. We stand up and practice moving our bodies that way, letting arms hang loose and allowing the torso and head plenty of give and sway.

•   I tell the kids that as long as they hear the Water Balloon song playing they can run around the room (of course, be sure the running they do is safe and appropriate for the space you’re in), letting the top part of their body move like a water balloon, muscles as relaxed as possible.

•   When the music stops kids run back to their mats and stand sideways, in Star Pose.Yoga Bunny star pose (tense) imageThey make every part of their body as tense as possible. I say something like: “Tense your feet and grab your mat with your toes! Tighten your leg muscles! Suck in your belly muscles!  Arm muscles tight, tight, tight! Tight fists! And squinch up your face like you just ate 300 lemons!  Hold tight for 3…2…1…”

•  When the music comes back on, kids continue running around with super relaxed “water balloon bodies.”

•  At the end of the song, we all return to our mats and “splat” belly down like a burst water balloon.

•  Because this is a very short song, I make the running-around bursts fairly short, and we usually do the song twice in a row.

•  The water balloon warm-up will leave you with happy kids laying on their bellies, breathing deeply, and usually more focused and relaxed than when you began.  You’re ready to transition into a quieter, more focused game or activity.

Have fun, and prepare for many requests for this song!