Simple and Beneficial Yoga Poses for Kids

parent and mom doing yoga poses for kids

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Yoga is an ancient relaxation and mindfulness practice with numerous benefits for kids and adults! Many yoga poses are simple and easy for kids to learn, and adults can join in for a relaxing bonding time. Yoga is also an excellent way to incorporate brain breaks for kids in the classroom or at home when a break from homework or other chores is needed. 

Kids can do many of the same yoga poses as adults. There are also yoga poses for kids, which are simplified versions of popular adult poses. Yoga and breathing exercises can calm upset or hyperactive children, help them focus, increase their attention span, and improve their sleeping habits. Yoga is a full-body exercise that benefits a child’s mind and body!

Key Takeaways

Yoga is beneficial to a child’s social-emotional development.

Yoga is a full-body exercise that increases flexibility, coordination, and balance. 

Kids and adults can enjoy doing yoga with simple, kid-friendly poses.

Benefits of Yoga for Kids

Yoga has numerous cognitive, emotional, social, and physical benefits for children. Children who participate in yoga may improve their physical skills, coordination and balance, behavior, and confidence. 

Social-Emotional and Cognitive Benefits

  • Increased confidence
  • Increased attention span
  • Decreased hyperactivity
  • Reduced problem behaviors
  • Improved emotional regulation skills
  • It helps create a positive, positive image
  • Improved memory
kids smiling doing yoga pose
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Physical Benefits

  • Increased balance and coordination skills
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Increased oxygen flow and respiratory systems
  • Improved digestive health
  • Develops sensory awareness 
  • Strengthens the immune system

Easy Yoga Poses for Kids

Yoga helps increase balance and coordination, but there are many easy poses to build towards balancing on one leg. These are our favorite yoga poses for kids, which adults can enjoy!

Cow and Cat Pose

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your palms flat on the floor and your knees under your hips.
  2. Inhale through your nose as you arch your back and look at the sky. 
  3. As you exhale, round your back, tucking your chin to your chest. 
  4. Continue rolling through these two poses, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Mountain Pose

  1. Start by standing up and stepping your feet about hip-width apart. 
  2. Squeeze your belly while standing straight and tall. Imagine a string pulling you up through the top of your head as you press your feet onto the floor. 
  3. Relax your shoulders and back, and keep your chest open.
  4. Rest your eyes on an unmoving point and take deep breaths.
kids doing boat pose
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Boat Pose

  1. Start by sitting down with both legs straight out in front of you. 
  2. Next, bring your legs up, bend your knees, and reach your hands up towards your legs. 
  3. You can either stay in the position or straighten your legs out and reach toward them with your hands.

Locust Pose

  1. Start by lying flat on your belly, extending your arms out in front of you and your legs behind you. 
  2. Bring your arms and legs straight up, keeping your belly flat on the floor.
  3. Hold this pose for multiple breaths and then come back down on an exhale. 
  4. If raising your arms and legs at the same time is difficult, you can lift them separately. 

Child’s Pose

  1. Start by getting on all fours, supported by your hands and knees. Keep your palms flat beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips.
  2. Sit back onto your feet, keeping your knees hip width apart and the soles of your feet pointing towards the sky.
  3. Gently lower your upper body to the ground, resting your forehead on the floor.
  4. Raise your arms over your head and rest your palms on the ground. 
  5. Take deep breaths and relax your shoulders.

Downward Facing Dog Pose

  1. Start on your hands and knees, tuck your toes, and press your hands and toes into the floor to lift your knees up while pressing your hips and back up and your bottom into the air.
  2. Keep your back straight. It’s ok if you need to bend your knees a little. 
  3. If it’s comfortable, try pressing your heels into the floor, but don’t force yourself.
  4. Hold the pose for a few seconds, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. 

Tree Pose

  1. Begin by standing with your knees bent and your feet flat against the floor. 
  2. Slowly straighten your knees while raising your arms above your head, bringing your palms together.
  3. If you feel ready, you can try balancing on one leg! Stand on one leg, bend the other knee, and touch the bottom of your foot to the opposite leg.
  4. Try holding the pose for a few seconds, then lower your foot and try balancing on the other side.

Beginner Yoga Tips

Yoga is excellent for kids because it can be done practically anywhere. Here are a few tips to make your yoga time with kids go smoothly!

  • Use yoga mats or a carpeted area.
  • Do yoga in bare feet (if possible) as it increases the sensory experience.
  • Dim the lights or find a peaceful area outside.
  • Play relaxing music if you’re not using a guided video.
  • Remember to breathe! Practice taking deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Have fun, and remember, no one is perfect; mistakes will happen!
girls doing yoga with text relaxing and easy yoga poses for kids

Ways to Incorporate Yoga Poses in Your Daily Play and Activities

Adults can incorporate yoga poses for kids in different games and activities. Try follow-the-leader games like Simon Says, or follow along with a yoga story!

  • Yoga dice: Use large foam dice and put a picture of a different yoga pose on each side. Roll the dice and perform the pose shown.
  • Simon Says: Play the traditional game of Simon Says but use yoga poses instead of the usual movements. 
  • Yoga Pose Cards: Place yoga pose cards in your calming corner at home or in your classroom. Kids can use the cards when they need a break to try out some poses independently. 
  • Follow the Leader: Like Simon Says, choose someone to be the leader. Follow the Leader is a wonderful silent game that allows children to practice visual observation skills.
  • Yoga Stories: You can incorporate yoga into almost any familiar story. Read along with a favorite book and find opportunities to place yoga poses.
  • Pre-Sleep Yoga Routine: Create a simple yoga routine that encourages taking deep breaths before nap or bedtime. An easy four or five-pose routine can help children relax and prepare for sleep. 

Final Thoughts

Doing yoga with kids is beneficial for them and you! It is relaxing, low-impact, and builds muscle strength and coordination! There are many easy yoga poses for kids, and you can turn yoga into a game or a pre-nap time ritual to help kids relax.

All you need for yoga is a soft area, some space to move, and the desire to have fun while helping kids benefit their growing bodies!

Author

  • L. Elizabeth Forry

    L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with fifteen years of classroom teaching experience. She earned a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from The University of North Dakota and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and one in Music from Lebanon Valley College. She has taught children in Japan, Washington D.C., Chicago, and suburban Maryland. She is trained as a reading therapist, has a TEFL certification, and has done extensive work with children regarding autism, ADHD, mental health, social-emotional development, and gender development. She has written curriculum for children and educators and has led training sessions for parents and educators on various topics related to early childhood development. She is the mother of two boys and resides outside of Annapolis, Maryland.

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