You might think that kids and yoga just don’t mix. After all, your practice is designed to bring a sense of calm and restfulness to your daily life. Your kids, on the other hand, not so much. But even the most rambunctious child can benefit from yogic principles including mindfulness. And by starting them off at a young age, your kids will be able to incorporate yoga into lifelong healthy habits and grow their practice as they grow up.
1. TABLETOP POSE
This is the starting position for many other poses such as cat and cow. Resting on your hands and knees, bring knees hip width apart (the feet should be in line with the knees, not splayed out). Palms should be directly under the shoulders with the fingers facing forward; back is flat.
2. CAT AND COW POSES
For cat pose, while in the tabletop position, round the back and tuck the chin into the chest. For cow, sink the belly toward the floor and arch the back, looking up. Feel free to alternate between the two poses. (Meowing and mooing are optional, but strongly encouraged.) These are typically used as warm-up exercises for the spine.
3. STANDING FORWARD BEND
See if your child can grab their ankles by bending forward at the waist. They can also bend their knees to make it easier. This helps stretch the hamstrings, calves and hips and strengthen the thighs and knees.
4. CHILD’S POSE
For this appropriately named pose, sit back on the heels and slowly bring the forehead down in front of the knees. Rest the arms alongside the body. This peaceful pose gently stretches the hips and thighs and helps calm your kid’s mind.
5. EASY POSE
Sit cross-legged and rest hands on the knees. If your child is having a hard time sitting flat, prop them up on a folded blanket or place a pillow under their hips. This pose helps strengthen the back and calm them down.
6. WARRIOR II POSE
From a standing position (that’s mountain pose for you yogis), step one foot back and turn it so the toes are facing slightly outwards. Then raise the arms up, parallel to the floor (one arm in front, the other toward the back). Bend the front knee and look forward over the fingers. Reverse the feet and do it again on the other side. This pose helps strengthen and stretch your kid’s legs and ankles, as well as help increase their stamina.
7. DOWNWARD-FACING DOG POSE
This is one of the easiest poses for your child to mimic and probably one they’ve already done naturally. They can either enter this pose by rising up from their hands and knees or by bending forward and placing their palms on the ground, then stepping back to create an upside-down V shape with their butts in the air. In addition to stretching, this pose also energizes them. Plus, they’ll get a kick out of the upside-down view.
8. THREE-LEGGED DOG POSE
Also called one-legged down dog, this is a variation of downward-facing dog but with one leg extended up. It will help strengthen their arms and help your child develop better balance.
These are the basic yoga poses for kids.