Body Awareness Through Art

by Jen Davis

Have you ever seen a stick figure drawing created by a child? They are hilarious! I have seen arms that hang to knees, heads as big as torsos and legs three times as long as the rest of the body you get the idea. Teaching kids correct body proportions when drawing is a great way to tap into body awareness. As part of this yoga art workshop I asked each student to draw a stick figure on a piece of paper. While each student was able to identify body parts during yoga, it was interesting to see the figures they drew. We looked at their drawings and discussed how they compared to their actual bodies.

One student drew her arms raised up, but they stopped at the top of her head. I had her recreate that movement in her body and she was able to see that her arms extend above her head. Although every body is different, the general proportions are similar. I explained that the body of a child is divided into 5ths when drawing – top of the head to chin, chin to mid torso, mid torso to hip, hip to knee and knee to bottom of the feet.

When it came time to begin the art project we looked at a Joan Miro’s painting “People and Dog in Sun”. This painting has a fun whimsical style that is exciting for kids to imitate using stick figures. The results are great! An awareness of their bodies and movement, that was not present in the practice drawings, is felt in their final paintings.