Puppets work especially well in yoga class. Even the shyest child will engage with a puppet, and they are a valuable way to introduce topic work or to vocalise feelings. Puppets are great for asking questions, for injecting humour, and for providing a ’safe’ place to interact. They are also wonderful at bringing stories to life, and can be found in all shapes, sizes, and themes. It is best to choose puppets with a welcoming face, who can become a confidant, amabassador or friend. The key to being a good puppeteer is to make the audience believe the puppet is alive by looking at the puppet when talking to it, using gentle movements, and having the puppet display emotions.
- happy: mouth open while rocking side to side
- sad: head faces down/hands wipe tears
- shy: look up slowly, then away slowly, repeatedly
- worried: glance quickly back and forth
- angry: head tilts to one side away from puppeteer
- tired: make the puppet yawn or move slowly
Aruna Kathy Humphries, of Young Yoga Masters, has these suggestions on using a puppet in kids yoga class from her experiences with Mr. Moo Moo.
Mr. Moo Moo: In case you haven’t guessed Mr. Moo Moo is a cow. But he is a very special cow because he loves yoga. He’s a black and white puppet that I’ve had for about 10 years.
When I introduce him he hides his face in my neck (he’s shy). He often whispers things in my ear and then I’ll ask the kids, “He wants to know if you are kind?” “He’s wondering if anyone will grab him, he doesn’t like that.” If people are sitting quietly he will come over and whisper in their ear. If they are doing a yoga pose he may sit on them, under them, or go through them. He likes to wake kids up from their relaxation too.
If they are not quiet or doing the pose he doesn’t come. Great incentive to get kids (even 11 year olds) to pay attention and do what we’re doing.
Aruna Kathy Humphries is a certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor whose teachings and life has been influenced by Tulshi Sen. She can be found on her website Young Yoga Masters.