Updated: June 1, 2022
By Victoria Miller, contributing writer
While yoga is great for adults, it can be even better for kids.
Yoga teaches children valuable life lessons, such as the importance of discipline, calm, and focus. The benefits of yoga goes beyond the physical activity as well by improving balance, and mental clarity.
If you practice yoga, it’s important to tell your children the benefits of the poses they are doing. By teaching them at an early age, they will learn the importance of staying fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
By now you’re probably wondering: What type of yoga is best for kids?
Indeed, there are a lot of different styles of yoga out there and the type that is right for your child will depend on their experience level, as well as what they like.
This story will focus on the best yoga for kids – some of the best yoga poses for kids and the benefits that they bring. It will also cover some calming techniques that you can use to help your child focus.
How to Get Started with Yoga Poses for Kids
Ideally, you want to start off with yoga positions that match your child’s experience level. Start out with a kids yoga sequence that features easier poses and then works its way up. You need to ensure that your child has the ability and drive to do the poses correctly.
The best way to get children started in yoga is to implement some fun into each yoga session. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as through the use of music or by encouraging your kids to use their imagination.
For example, you can have the children pretend to be animals and do animal yoga poses for kids!
What’s the best type of yoga for kids?
The best type of yoga for your child will depend on their age. For children around the age of five, Yin yoga is a great choice as the poses are simpler and easier. An older child that is around the age of 13, on the other hand, may enjoy more complex yoga styles like Vinyasa yoga.
On the whole, be attentive to how your child responds to certain poses. If there are some asanas that they love more than others, try to incorporate those poses into your yoga routine. This is a great way to foster a love of yoga in little ones!
What are some common yoga positions for kids?
Some common yoga positions for kids include:
1. Tabletop yoga position
Tabletop is normally the starting position for other poses like cow and cat. It involves getting on all fours, with your back in a horizontal position. In this asana, your knees should be hip-width apart. It is a good exercise for kids because it helps improve balance and flexibility.
2. Child’s pose
This fan favorite involves sitting back on your heels and bringing the forehead down slowly in front of the knees, and then resting the arms straight, in front of the body. You can also bring the arms behind you, toward your heels and let the shoulders release to the floor. Child’s pose helps stretch a child’s thighs and hips, as well as calm their mind.
3. Mountain pose
Mountain pose is simple, yet powerful. It involves standing as if a string were pulling you upward. In this position, your feet should be firmly on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be straightened at your sides, but your palms can face forward. You can also lift your arms up to the sky. This variation is called Upward Salute.
Mountain pose encourages kids to stand properly and strengthens their body, especially their back muscles.
Easy yoga poses for kids
If you’re teaching yoga to children who are beginners, it’s best to start them off with some easy yoga poses. Here are some asanas we recommend for balance, flexibility and strength:
1. Easy seated pose
Easy pose, which we call Pretzel Pose, involves sitting cross-legged and resting your hands on your knees. It’s quite simple, but you can also add some extra support to help you align your back. You can do this by placing a pillow or folded blanket under your buttocks. This pose is helpful for strengthening your back. It’s also beneficial for calming children down.
2. Boat pose
Boat pose is also one of the easiest yoga poses for kids. It involves balancing on your buttocks with your body balancing in a “V” position. This pose is useful for improving flexibility and balance. To make it more fun for children, try rocking from side to side in this position.
3. Dancer pose
This standing, balancing pose is useful for stretching out your back, arms, and legs. In order to do this pose, stand up straight, then grab your foot behind you if possible. Lift the opposite arm in front of you and try to pull your leg up higher behind you. In addition to improving flexibility, Dancer pose also helps you balance.
Ancient yogis believed that imitating animals could help release tension within the body – so why not introduce your kid to some stress-relieving animal poses?
Here are some of the best animal poses with a little information on how to do them:
Top yoga poses with animal names
1. Cat yoga pose for kids
If your child is an animal lover, then they may love the cat pose. This yoga pose involves coming to an all-fours position, while keeping the knees and hands hip-width apart and your back horizontal. After this, the final step is to arch your back upward, like a cat when it is spooked on Halloween.
This yoga pose helps your child stretch out their back and neck. It also helps relieve tension in their spine and belly.
2. Cow pose
The cow yoga pose is quite similar to the cat pose – and usually done in conjunction with cat pose as a combo called cat/cow pose. The only difference is the arch of the back.
To get into cow pose, get an all fours with your arms and legs shoulder-width apart. Your back should remain horizontal. This is the “tabletop” position we covered earlier. At this point, lift your head and chest, arching your middle back downward so that it dips toward the floor.
In this pose, your child can arch their back upwards and down again, effectively alternating between cow and cat post. Feel free to instruct them or let them have fun with it as they please. Ensure that they keep a calm, stable breath.
3. Downward Dog pose
Given its ease, this is one of the most common yoga positions for kids. To get into Downward dog, start from a standing position, then plant your hands firmly on the ground and walk your hands out until you are in a plank position (push up position). Keep your feet planted on the floor, then lift your hips up so that your body forms an upside down “V”.
This pose helps kids stretch out their upper body, arms, shoulders, abdomen and legs. It’s also useful for improving blood circulation.
4. Lion pose/Lion breath
Lion pose begins from a seated position while resting your hips on the heels and palms on the knees. You then need to inhale and bring your palms back to the floor, in front of your knees, as you exhale. Then, gently lift your chest skyward. When teaching kids yoga, encourage them to stick their tongue out, look up towards the sky and roar like a lion. They’ll have a blast!
The good thing about the lion pose, shown here, is that it helps to relieve tension and improves circulation of blood.
Incorporating Relaxing Music for Kids
Relaxing music can come in handy during yoga sessions. It helps calm the nerves and the spirit. Here’s some information on the importance of using relaxing music for kids:
How important is calming music for kids?
Relaxing music is beneficial for children in many ways. It helps reduce anxiety and stress. It’s also good for regulating emotions, encouraging productivity, and improving concentration. Some even argue that calming music helps children process speech and language better.
Music is also good for teaching your kids discipline. Over time, they’ll learn that when the “yoga” music starts, they must finish playing and listen to their yoga instructor.
Top calming techniques for kids
Kids have a lot of energy, so it’s important to teach them the importance and benefits of calming down every once in a while.
Here are some of the top calming techniques for kids:
1. Belly breathing for kids
Belly breathing involves deep breathing exercises that teach kids how to strengthen their diaphragm and belly muscles. It’s also useful for training them to use their lungs to their maximum capacity, effectively increasing their oxygen intake.
Belly breathing is easy to implement. Start by telling your child to take a deep breath for as long as they can. Then, once they’ve reached their full capacity, tell them to breathe out. You can even have them envision blowing up a big balloon in their belly and then letting all the air out!
For older children, you can instruct them to count to six (in their head) as they breathe in and then count to six as they breathe out.
2. Meditation breathing exercises
Meditation breathing exercises are beneficial in calming kids down and there’s a few different methods that you can do with your child.
One method suggests lying down on the floor in a comfortable position. Then instruct the kids to breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth.
3. Visual breathing exercise
Visual breathing exercises use mental imagery to help kids relax. Tell your child to close their eyes while sitting in Pretzel Pose. Then ask them to imagine the air going into and out of their body, from their mouth, to their throat, down into their lungs, and all the way out.
This is especially beneficial for kids if done in intervals of about five to 10 minutes.
Visual breathing can help calm anxiety and improve focus.
4. Soothing music for kids in deep relaxation pose
Introducing music can help take a child’s relaxation to the next level. It works well for rambunctious and tranquil kids alike. We recommend listening to the sounds of nature, such as a waterfall or rainforest, as this has scientifically been proven to calm people down.
The benefits of listening to calming music include reduced anxiety and increased concentration.
The Bottom line
With the onset of the 2020 pandemic, children are experiencing high levels of stress. Whether you’re looking for preschool yoga poses, easy yoga moves, animal yoga for kids, or relaxation techniques for kids, we hope you now have some great ideas for practicing yoga poses with children!
Victoria Miller is a yogi-wannabe with a deep passion for freelance writing. She works as a copywriter with a special interest in blog writing and has a wide breadth of experience in the marketing field.