Yoga For Kids: 16 Easy Yoga Poses Your Kids Can Totally Do
If you love yoga, it’s only natural to want to share the practice with your kids. When they’re quite young, they may be happy just to be around you as you practice and receptive to following along if you give them a little mat of their own. Strategically place some Lego nearby and you may even be able to extend your own session a bit.
Your older children, who have seen you on your mat time and again, maybe be ready for a little more direction. Use these 16 poses with simple instructions as a place to begin.
Why Is Yoga Beneficial for Kids?
Yoga has many of the same benefits for children that it does for adults.
As all parents know, any type of movement helps kids get the wiggles out and can change their moods from grumpy to sunny in the blink of a quick lap around the park. Learning calming practices like deep breathing and stretching also help kids in their journey toward self-soothing.
For older children, improved body awareness is another big benefit. A lot of kids don’t have much sense of where their body is in space. Following alignment instructions helps improve the communication between their brains and bodies.
Finally, family yoga time can be a bonding experience. Just make sure you’re not attached to any particular outcome to keep things low-key and fun. Younger kids have short attention spans and children of all ages like to make their own choices.
16 Best Yoga Poses for Kids
A full-body stretch that also builds arm strength.
- Come to your hands and knees.
- Tuck your toes under.
- Straighten your legs and take your bum up toward the sky.
- Let your head hand loose.
Scaredy Cat Pose
A great way to work out backaches and learn how to move the spine.
- Come to your hands and knees
- Push the middle of your spine up toward the sky.
A nice stretch for the lower back, especially after sitting in the car or at school.
- Lie down on your belly.
- Bend your elbows and bring your hands flat on either side of your shoulders.
- Press into your hands to straighten your arms a little or a lot.
Squatting is a good way to maintain hip mobility.
- Stand at the front of your mat with your feet on the wiggly lines.
- Bend your knees and sit almost all the way down.
- Keep your bum off the floor if you can.
A wonderful way to stretch the sides of the body
- Stand at the front of your mat with your arms overhead.
- Press your palms together
- Take both hands to the right while your hips go left.
- Come back to the centre and do the other side.
Activating the hands and feet creates whole-body awareness.
- Stand facing the side of your mat with your legs wide apart.
- Take your arms up to make an X shape.
- Separate your fingers and make your hands bright.
A balance challenge that improves core strength
- Stand at the front of your mat with your feet together.
- Lift one foot off the floor and place the sole of that foot on the inside of your other leg.
- You can use your hands to help place your foot above your knee if you want.
- It’s ok if you fall. Trees fall all the time.
- Put your foot down and try the other side.
A fun way to open the hips.
- Kneel with the tops of your feet and shins flat on your mat and your bum sitting on your heels.
- Shift your bum to the right so it sits flat on the mat.
- Slide the sole of your right foot to the inside of your left leg.
Starting to work with basic alignment cues builds body awareness.
- Come to a hands-and-knees position
- Make sure your wrists are lined up under your shoulder and your knees are under your hips. That makes the table legs straight.
An easy first backbend.
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent and pointing up to the ceiling.
- Bring your arms alongside your body.
- Press into your feet to lift your bum off the floor, making an arched shape with your back.
Great for strengthening the core and arms.
- Come onto your hands and knees with your toes tucked under.
- Stretch one leg straight behind you, so that foot is at the back end of your mat with your toes still tucked under.
- Do the same thing with your other leg
- Don’t let your bum stick up or drop down.
A challenging posture that improves core strength and balance.
- Sit on your mat with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent and pointing up to the sky.
- Put your hands onto the mat on either side of your bum.
- Lean your upper body back a little bit.
- Lift your feet off the floor. Bring your shins in line with your knees if you can.
- No floppy feet!
- Ready for a challenge? What happens if you lift your hands off the floor?
A floppy pose teaches how to relax the body.
- Stand at the front of your mat with your feet separated a little.
- Forward bend like you’re going to touch your toes, but you don’t have to touch them.
- Let your arms and head hang loose.
- Wiggle them around a bit if it feels good.
Belly Ache Pose
This one really works!
- Lie on your back.
- Hug your knees tightly into your chest.
- Rock a little from side to side if you like.
- It’s ok if a little fart comes out.
Legs Up the Wall
A very mild first inversion.
- Bring your mat over to a blank space on your wall.
- Lie down on your back with your bum close to the wall.
- Take your legs straight up the wall with the soles of your feet facing the sky.
Learning to relax and take deep breaths is perhaps the most important pose of all.
- Come to lie on your back with your hands by your sides.
- Turn your palms to face the sky.
- Let your feet open out to either side.
- Close your eyes.
- Relax your body by taking at least 10 deep breaths.
What’s the Best Age to Start Yoga for Kids?
Since there’s a big difference between a toddler and a tween, it makes sense to approach their yoga time differently. Every kid is different, so use any of these methods that work for our child, no matter their age.
Side by Side (Ages 1-5)
If you’ve ever tried to do yoga at home with young kids, you know they are not inclined to leave you undisturbed while you get in a 30-minute (or even a 10-minute) practice. Our children love to be close to us, especially when we’re trying to do something else! However, kids also love to have their own version of grown-up things, hence the popularity of mini kitchens, mini laptops, and mini prams. While we can’t guarantee that having their very-own-super-special-just-like-mummy’s yoga mat will keep them off yours, it should buy you enough time for a Down Dog or two. Whether they like to imitate your movements or you set them up with some toys, your kids will enjoy having their own mat.
Basic Yoga Instruction (Ages 4-10)
When your kids get a bit older, you can start to teach them basic poses and plant the seeds of good alignment[https://liforme.com/blogs/blog/yoga-alignment] habits. Most children are visual learners, so putting their hands on the stars or feet on the hearts will appeal to them. They may also want to use their mat for imaginative play, head up their own class for stuffies, or make up poses and teach them to you. Ending yoga playtime with a mini Savasana helps them begin to associate their mat with feelings of calmness and relaxation.
Independent Yoga Play (Ages 7-10)
Older kids may start to initiate their own yoga explorations once they have the tools to do it. While you can’t make your kids love yoga, you can show them that yoga is an important part of your life because it helps you self-regulate and feel better. Provide the time, space, and opportunity for the love of yoga to take root in your children.