Kids really can enjoy yoga once they start learning the poses. It gives them a sense of body awareness and a chance to relax and de-stress. We may not think of children as having a lot of stress, but there are more and more demands being placed on their time. Between school and homework, sports and activities, and other family obligations, there are lots going on in their lives. Stress relief is an important skill for children to learn at a young age, because they will already have these healthy habits and coping strategies in place as they grow. I’ve been lucky enough to teach yoga to children, and the joy and playfulness that they approach their practice with is inspiring. They are never afraid to try anything new, not afraid of falling, or looking silly, or playing around. That being said, here are some of their favorite poses I’ve found they love to try:
Jump the feet apart, and point front toes towards the front of the room. Turn back toes out to between 45 and 90 degrees. Depending on the age of the students and their level of imagination, they can pretend their yoga mat is a surfboard and that they are surfing, or dance around side to side. Make sure to practice Warrior 2 on both sides!
This fun pose gives the students a chance to test their balance. The sole of the right foot gets placed on the left leg, above or below the knee. Hands can come into the heart, or reach up and out like tree branches. Try it on the other side and switch it up!
Kids will start off lying down on their mats. Hands get placed underneath the shoulders, and then arms start to straighten. The arms can stay bent to where is comfortable, and the chest puffs out forward as the shoulders roll down the back. Have them take a big breath in, and as they breathe out make their best snake hissing noise.
Students sometimes call this bridge pose, but the kids love to be upside down and look at things from a different perspective. They can start off lying down, and then flip their hands so the palms are in contact with the ground. From there, they can use their strength to push themselves up and off the mat!
Shoulder Stand or Candlestick
Start off lying down and lift the feet and hips up toward the ceiling. Place the forearms down onto the ground and then use the hands on the back to help support.
Whether it’s for a silent or guided meditation, or 30 seconds of quiet, students truly cherish getting to relax and lie down on their mats at the end of their practice. Don’t forget the relaxation - this is often their favorite part!