Yoga for kids: Simple poses (and their benefits) to get you started
Yoga has shown to lower stress, improve feelings of calmness, and naturally uplift our mood – all while introducing a healthy, relaxing element to our routines. No matter what age, everyone can try yoga; all it takes is a little time and commitment.
Yoga can be a great way to not only help kids learn to manage their emotions, but help them to calm down and destress while building their confidence and self-esteem. Attracting all body types, ages and personalities, from all different backgrounds, kids can not only enjoy the playfulness and creativity of the different poses, but also see the benefits of a healthy, calming routine.
Here are three simple poses to help introduce kids to yoga.
Start with your right leg forward. Step your back foot towards the back of the mat to create a long stance. Bend your right leg so your knee is in front of your ankle (but not over your toes) and extend your arms upward. Angle your hips forward, and keep both feet facing the same direction.
Benefit: The warrior one pose helps stretch their chest, shoulders and legs, as well as strengthening their legs. Kids love the strength and fierceness of the warrior poses.
Start on your hands and knees, positioning your knees directly below your hips and waist, with your elbows and shoulders in line. Keep your head in a central, neutral position, with your eyes on the floor. As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling. Make sure you keep your shoulders and knees in position. Release your head towards the floor (but don’t force your chin into your chest). Return to your hands and knees position.
Benefit: This playful pose helps relieve tension and stress while stretching the back and neck. Kids can find this pose both calming and fun. Try getting them to meow like a cat while in the pose to help them focus on their breathing and posture.
A bit more of a challenge, the tree pose can be a test of balance for kids. Starting with your feet together, slowly raise your left leg and place your foot on your right inner thigh or shin (while avoiding putting your foot too close to your knee). Bring your palms together in front of your chest, or if you’re feeling steady and confident, raise your arms above your head.
Benefit: The tree pose can help kids improve their balance and concentration. It can also help strengthen their legs and ankles, as well as stretch their chest and legs.
If you’re looking for a good way to talk to children about yoga and explain it (and the benefits), Fearne Cotton’s Yoga Babies can be a great place to start, or Yoga Journal has a great range of simple child-friendly poses you can try out together.