If you’re going to rise, you might as well shine!

I love the word “shine”.  I think about people fired up internally and how that manifests itself on the physical body. You can actually feel it if someone is shining.

To teach students how to shine, we use star. First, it teaches students how to activate their bodies. Start with limp, wet noodle limbs. Allow students to get hunched over and small, then… ACTIVATE! Straight strong legs, spread slightly wider than hips, are rooted into the ground. A tall spine and crown reaches towards the sky. Finally, arms are straight and strong with fingers spread. Make sure to roll shoulders back and down… lock them into place. Viola: Star. To get started, download Star from our Move Mindfully Card Deck.

students shine in star

To really get the feel of activate, try playing Activate, Relax, Walk. This game from the Yoga Calm® curriculum develops self-regulation, focus, and transitions through a “Simon Says” like approach moving in and out of activation.

star outside in the snow

We even took our shine outside! It may be below freezing and snowing, but we can still shine!

mythology creative writing lesson

Science and ELA Standards

Then, we wove star into our science standards as we headed to the Star Lab! Our naturalist projected lights that mirror the night sky. With a laser pointer, she circled constellations and told the myths that have been passed down over thousands of years. To weave in writing and literature, students inserted themselves into a Zodiac myth!

Social Emotional Learning

Finally, try bringing the group together with Yoga Calm®’s Galaxy Game. This group pose is actually quite challenging. Students, as individual stars, have to come together to create a galaxy. Not only do students need to navigate the exact size of the circle, but also have to find the perfect amount of pushing pressure. Too much pressure and the circle is unstable. Too little and your neighbors can’t activate. The first time, it took almost ten minutes for the students to find the full expression. I love sitting back and watching the team problem solve! However, subsequent galaxy formations were quick and painless.

The stories of the stars. Shining bright in your own strength. Fully activated and present in the space. Standing together, individual stars contributing to collective shine.

Have you ever taught traditional literature with the star stories? Have you used star pose or galaxy to teach personal and group strength? Leave a comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

12 replies
  1. Dericka McCaleb
    Dericka McCaleb says:

    I love the photos of the kids doing yoga calm outside. What a great way to really open up those lungs, appreciate the different space, and change it up!

    I think this will be a great way to start the new year. I’ll introduce the star pose to my star first graders and and whisper a wish for the new year!

  2. Kim Thole
    Kim Thole says:

    I really appreciate all the things that I can do with my 3-5 year olds. It has made a difference. I also enjoy the poems, etc that you have one the opening page of your emails. They are my self-care!

  3. Twyla George
    Twyla George says:

    I also love the word “Shine” and have a shirt that says “Shine On!” it just feels so good to do the star pose and teach it to my kindergarteners! They are so full of love and light and are naturals when it comes to star pose!

  4. Shaun
    Shaun says:

    Thanks for the great post. My students are loving Yoga in our classroom & I appreciate new ways to introduce poses we already know and love. Taking it outside is a great idea & I love all the smiling faces in the pictures!


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