By Tvisha Patel, contributing writer
A morning yoga practice provides several benefits for kids.
While it may be challenging for kids to start building a morning yoga routine, as a yoga teacher or educator, you can definitely build this into your classroom curriculum.
You can start with small ways to start incorporating a morning yoga practice into your classroom. Since kids are now experiencing many mental health and anxiety issues, it’s even more essential to help kids learn how to manage their self-care. And, morning yoga for kids – and you – can be a vital part of an overall self-care regimen.
This can be done in several ways. First, it can be a good idea to add in some mindfulness with a short meditative practice. During this time, you ask the kids to notice their breath, their feelings and their body. Then, invite them to set an intention for the day. After that, you can start your class by introducing fun yoga poses for kids.
Hopefully, these tips will help you bring yoga into your school (or into the morning classes you teach!)
Here are some more tips to include into your morning yoga classes
Mindful Morning Minutes
As the day begins, kids may have a lot of things rushing through their minds about what tasks they have to finish or things they didn’t get done the night before.
It’s important to help them find a few minutes to begin their day, so they can feel grounded and calm. Being grounded is essentially the ability to feel present in the moment.
First off, set the tone of the class with peaceful music. Then, ask the kids to close their eyes and imagine how they would like their day to go. Ask them to clear their head of any tension and imagine a happy day ahead of them. Encourage them to set their intention for the day.
One way to help kids alleviate overwhelming thoughts is to ask them to stand in Mountain Pose and feel their feet on the ground. Ask them to place their awareness in their feet and pay attention to any sensations. Slowly invite them to bring the awareness through their feet up through their legs, and slowly feel the sensations coming up the spine. As they do this and bring awareness to the body, their thoughts will dissipate as they calm their monkey minds.
Mindful Meditation for Kids
A longer mindful meditation may be the next step in your morning yoga routine with your classroom. Mindful meditation can help increase focus and concentration, as well as reduce stress and anxiety.
To begin mindful meditation, you can start with implementing breathing exercises for the kids. Ask them to start by closing their eyes, sitting down, and taking deep breaths. Ask them to notice the warmth of their breath and be present. You can even add an element to this by asking them to feel their breath moving by putting their hands over their stomachs.This activity will help put awareness into the breath and help relieve tension in the morning.
Another mindful meditation technique is to incorporate visualization methods. This technique uses imagery to help guide the meditation. A popular guided imagery you can introduce to the kids is ‘Light Bath.’ In this technique, you ask the kids to imagine themselves being bathed in good and positive energy. This positive energy can be viewed as the ‘light,’ which they can imagine as any color. For example, if they close their eyes and imagine the Light Bath – and all the positive energy surrounding them is ‘blue’ – this can symbolize a feeling of calm.
Morning Yoga for kids
After you’ve done a morning minutes and mindful meditation session with the kiddos, they will feel more prepared to practice yoga poses. Their bodies and minds are more prepared because with the previous exercises, they had the chance to alleviate stressors from their minds and focus on the present moment. All of this can only enhance their yoga practice.
The first few yoga poses you introduce should focus on helping the children stretch, while preparing them for the day ahead. Remember: Yoga can be an integral part of the kids’ routines and it can help promote relaxation, which is beneficial for brain health.
Here are some yoga poses you can try:
Extended Puppy Pose
One of the poses that you can implement in a morning yoga routine for kids is extended puppy pose.
Ask the kids to start on a mat, on their hands and knees. Their body should be aligned so that their shoulders are above their wrists and their hips are in line with the knees. As they exhale, ask them to walk their hands out in front of them and allow their chest to come towards the floor as they bring their forehead to the mat. The upper arm bones should be outwards, away from their ears to broaden the shoulders. On the next inhalation, ask them to go deeper into the stretch by reaching the hips back and continuing to let the chest melt toward the floor. Ask them to stay in this position for a few breaths. This pose will help them stretch their back and spine.
Another great addition to a kids yoga routine for the morning is cobra pose. In this pose, ask the kids to start by laying on their stomach. From there they can bring their hands flat to the ground underneath their shoulders, and straighten the arms enough to lift up the chest. Hold the pose for a few breaths and ask them to release to the floor afterwards. This pose helps reduce fatigue, and promotes circulation.
Seated Forward Fold
Ask the kids to start by bringing their legs out in front of the body and flexing the feet up. Then bring the arms up over the head and fold forward as far as they’re comfortable. Ask them to reach for their feet or floor, until they feel the stretch, without overdoing it. This pose promotes relaxation, and is a great stretch for the entire back body.
Are you ready to start implementing a morning yoga routine for your yoga class?
We hope these yoga poses, mindfulness techniques and meditation tips have given you ideas for a morning yoga routine for kids.
Whether you teach your own kids at home or you teach yoga in school, children are bound to feel more relaxed and ready for the day ahead after doing these simple techniques!
Tvisha Patel is a blog writer at Pretzel Kids. She loves doing yoga in her downtime and is currently a business student at Schulich School of Business – York University, in Ontario, Canada. Tvisha also enjoys exploring nature, music and photography!