Yoga for Special Needs Lesson Plan

Lesson # 12  - Air: Wild things with Wings, opening the heart

This themed class emphasizes the elements of air and space. It is designed to help students become more present to their breathing and also to the imagined freedom of flying high above their limitations to a world of infinite possibilities. This can encourage students to expand beyond their current challenges and spread their eagle wings to explore the beauty of the natural world.

These poses can be done independently or combined through vinyasas.

Turtle/Child’s pose, begin as a baby bird within an egg in the nest.

Crack the shell with your beak and stretch up, taking your very first breath of fresh air. What does this feel like?

Sit in cross legged position, stretch the right hand to the floor out from the hip and reach the left arm overhead for a side stretch. You are slowly finding your wings. Switch sides.

Rise to standing and shake off your shell and other gooey contents from the egg.

Stand at the top of your mountain in Mountain Pose and take in the view. What do you see?

Flow through three Sun Breaths, training your wings to fly.

Earth and Sky: inhale hands to prayer position, exhale reach the right arm up and the left arm down. Inhale back to heart center and switch sides. Continue for four more breaths.

Eagle arms on both sides, followed by Eagle legs and build up to combining the action of the arms and legs together.

Chest stretch 1—bring hands up in front of the chest and imagine holding a ball between your palms. Inhale and open the arms, keeping the palms facing one another and exhale bring palms back in front. Can you feel the energy in your body growing as you breathe and move the arms?

Chest stretch 2—each hand catches an end of the strap behind the body and open palms out to expand the heart space for deeper breathing.

Ostrich pose‐‐Warrior 1 with the fingers interlocking behind, fold the torso forward on the inside of the right knee. Can you reach your arms up behind you and lower your nose toward your right big toe like an Ostrich with its head in the sand?

Grey Heron‐‐Warrior 3 with arms flapping smoothly.

Warrior 2 with arms sweeping up and down like a raven.

Bakasana/Crow Pose: from Mountain Pose, reach arms overhead and lower hands to the floor shoulder width apart. Slowly transition weight onto the hands.

Pigeon Pose: from table pose, slide the right knee to the outside of the right hand and tuck the right foot over to the left, beneath the left hip. With hands under the shoulders, inhale and lift the chest up, looking forward, and exhale fold forward to rest on elbows. Hold for five breaths and rise back up on the inhalation, returning to table pose. Do the same on the other side.

Partner Pose: the falcon, if the students feel strong enough to attempt this, Partner A lies down on his/her back and lifts feet in the air. Partner B presses Partner A’s feet into his/her hip crease, with the feet angled out. Partners now interlock fingers while Partner A lifts Partner B into a horizontal position in the air. Partner B’s hips must be aligned over Partner’s A’s hips in order for a successful take off.

Supine twist: spread your arms like wings of your favorite bird.

Legs up the wall pose with song: Blackbird by Sarah McLachlan

Final Quote:

“Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.”

Emily Dickinson