Metamorphosis (Grades 3-5)

This Mindful Moment will lead children through the life cycle of a butterfly using yoga poses.

This week’s yoga is a sort of dance, since the poses will move from one into the other. It was inspired by the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, which changes as it grows from a tiny egg into beautiful strong butterfly. 


Milkweed leaves are a monarch caterpillar’s favorite food. Its pink blossoms have the nectar adult butterflies like to eat for fuel.

  • Stand in tree pose with arms lifted overhead.

Female monarch butterflies lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves so their babies have food to eat once they hatch and as they grow.

Tiny monarch caterpillars hatch from these eggs in early summer and get to work eating, and eating and eating the leaves of the milkweed plant they were born on. Soon they are long and colorful — black and white and yellow striped — and about the size and length of your pinky finger.

  • Slither from child’s pose into a long stretch along the floor with arms reaching forward and legs reaching back. Place your hands on the floor beneath each shoulder and slowly lift your upper body into cobra pose by straightening your arms.

Soon it’s time for the caterpillars to take a long rest. They need all of the energy they’ve stored up for their biggest costume change yet. They’ll connect themselves to the underside of a leaf, hang upside down and form a bright green coating called a chrysalis all around themselves

  • Come into a table pose on your hands and knees and then sit up. Bend at your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Wrap your arms around your bent legs and place your forehead on your knees into a seated child’s pose.

After about 14 days, the caterpillar has transformed inside the chrysalis into a brightly colored orange and black striped butterfly. To get itself ready for flying, the butterfly will slowly start to stretch itself full and fluff its wings.

  • Slowly sit upright and, with the soles of the feet together, let the knees fall apart and out the side into butterfly pose. Unwrap your arms as you do this and reach them in a wide stretch out to each side. If it’s comfortable, gently lift and lower your bent legs in a “flying motion.”

As soon as their wings are ready, monarchs take flight and begin their trip south, stopping only to eat and rest a bit, on their way to Mexico for their winter hibernation

  • For an extra challenge, end by standing in Warrior 3 — this can also be done by holding onto the back of a sturdy chair that doesn’t roll, by placing hands flat against a wall for support or while holding one or both hands of a partner.