1.7 million school-aged kids in the US do yoga for good reasons. Yoga has many mental, emotional, and physical benefits. It makes kids strong and flexible, gives them a sense of accomplishment, and helps them build body awareness. Yoga also helps them be more mindful.
While we often think of yoga as just poses (called asanas in Sanskrit, the original language of yoga practice), it actually includes physical, spiritual, and breathing practices. There are many different types of yoga.
However, today we’ll focus on the physical part, and learn about 3 easy yoga poses for kids.
Downward dog is one of the most common yoga poses. We’ve probably all seen a dog stretch out its paws, bum in the air. This is where the pose gets its name.
It stretches the legs and spine, strengthens the upper body (incl wrists and hands), increases circulation, and helps back and neck tension.
Kids often naturally do poses close to downward dogs when they’re just goofing around, so it’s simple to learn.
- Start on the hands and knees, with both hands and the top of both feet pressed against the floor.
- Curl the toes under, so they are touching the floor.
- Push up, until the bum is towards the sky and the legs are straight. The body should be shaped like an upside-down ‘V’.
- Spread the fingers and press them into the floor.
- Relax the head.
- Take five deep breaths.
Downward Dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEnd0jPkunQ
In tree pose, kids have to stand on one leg and try not to fall over. It’s tough!
It helps build a strong core, legs, and glutes, improve balance, and stretch the leg muscles.
- Stand with the legs slightly apart (about as wide as the shoulders).
- Take a few seconds to feel the feet pressed against the floor.
- Slowly lift the left foot, keeping the right leg straight.
- Slowly raise the left foot to the right inner thigh. Put the hands on the hips or raise them above the head, pressing the palms together.
- Squeeze the left foot and right inner thigh together.
- Look at the floor about 12 inches in front of the toes. This helps with balance.
- Take 5 deep breaths.
- Repeat on the other side.
Tree Pose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfLrMwcxw1g
This appropriately named pose looks similar to the fetal position, hence the name. Bala means ‘child’ in Sanskrit.
A child’s pose is a restful posture that stretches the hips, spine, thighs, and ankles.
Kids can do this pose to cool down after the downward dog and tree pose.
- Kneel on the knees, bum touching the heels
- Lean forward until the forehead gently touches the ground.
- Make sure the arms are pointing back towards the legs, palms facing the sky.
- Breathe deeply in and out 10 times.
Child’s Pose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3viYoYQuFsI
Practicing yoga poses helps kids build strong, healthy bodies and minds.
And with guidance, they can be easy and fun to learn. Yoga can also be a great bonding experience for caregivers and kids.
Visit the UCA store for yoga gear to get started, and build a fit, flexible family.