Starting kids on yoga? Here are the best beginner moves.
Kids love to move around and have fun. It’s one of the many reasons why yoga can be so great to practice with your children. But it’s important that you emphasize starting slow in teaching them the foundations of breathing and forming a solid base.
Kids are generally very naturally flexible so starting them at a young age encourages them to stay flexible for the rest of their life. Yoga can also teach your kids discipline, focus, and how to take care of their bodies.
But how do you get your kids started with yoga? We’re going to give you a simple 6 pose routine to help you teach yoga to your kids.
Make sure that you’re really encouraging your kids to have a great time with yoga. Hold them to a very low gradient and work to establish the practice of breathing deep and learning the foundational moves.
They won’t get the postures perfectly, they’ll move around, and they’ll want to go in every direction. It’s all good. Just keep working with them and give them time to adjust to the practice.
I’ve found that letting them have fun while maintaining consistency helps kids learn to love the practice. After a few weeks, they’ll go right into the poses with minimal coaching. And if they really start enjoying yoga, you can get them their own yoga mat and swing.
Teaching kids is a wonderful opportunity to bring out the inner child in you. So invite creativity and make the postures come alive with stories, animal sounds, movements, partner poses and singing, and chanting. Yoga is a holistic practice that helps understand the mind, body and breath connection and also enables the children to relate to the natural world. Regular practice can help them feel confident about themselves and think outside the box.
“Children love Yoga because they can pretend to be anything that they can imagine.” Betty Larrea
Beginner moves for kids yoga
There’s no better way to kick off a kids’ yoga session than with a child’s pose. It’s a very easy pose to perform, requires little coaching, and teaches kids the foundation of relaxing into a pose.
To perform the child’s pose, have your child get on all fours on their yoga mat. You should also do the poses with your children so they can model your body positioning.
Once you’re on all fours, bring your legs together and sit back on your heels. Now reach your hands up to the sky and lower your chest and head down to the yoga mat. Make sure to pull your chest into your knees and keep your hands extended out above your head as if you’re trying to grab the far wall. You’ll notice length in your spine and probably some stretching throughout your neck and shoulders. You can rest your forehead on the yoga mat and remain in this pose for 30-60 seconds or longer if you’re comfortable.
While you’re holding the pose, encourage your children to focus on breathing. Tell them to breathe in through their nose and exhale like they’re trying to fog up a mirror. If they start getting antsy, move into the next pose.
The cat-cow pose is a really fun one for kids because they can act like a cat and a cow. This pose is perfect as a foundational movement for children because it builds flexibility in the back and encourages children to keep their spines healthy.
To perform cat-cow, you’ll start on all fours on your yoga mats. Make sure that your hands are shoulder-width apart and your knees are hip-width apart.
From all fours, round your back up towards the ceiling while dropping the crown of your head down towards the yoga mat. Push your shoulder blades out and really focus on the stretch throughout your back.
Now as you are inhaling deeply you’ll move into the cow pose. Bring your head up towards the ceiling focusing your gaze high on the wall or the ceiling if you can and bring your belly down towards the yoga mat. This is the exact opposite of the cat position. Repeat this 5-10 times until you feel nice and loose.
The forward bend is another flexibility building pose that most kids can do without instruction. It’s another ideal way to build length in the posterior chain, decompress, and relax. It’s also a very simple pose that kids can feel successful with and have fun while doing.
To perform the forward bend, simply stand on your yoga mat with your feet shoulder-width apart. Now, hinge at the hips and bend forward. As you’re bending, engage your core to draw your belly button in.
You can place your hands on the ground or bend your knees if you feel too much tension in your hamstrings. You can also use a belt or yoga strap if you need something to help you pull down even further or place a block next to the feet to rest your hand on. Chances are that the kids won’t have any issues doing the stretch. It’s usually the adults that have tight backs and hamstrings. You can hold the pose for as little as a few seconds or as long as they’re having fun.
Moving from forward bend into a downward dog is the perfect transition and begins teaching your children how to seamlessly move from one pose to another.
As you’re in the forward bend, begin to walk your hands away from your legs until you’re in an “A” frame position. Now spread your fingers out like the roots of a tree for stability.
Next, you want to draw your belly in to tighten your core and really cement your stabilizer muscles. Hold the pose for around 30 seconds. This pose builds length in the posterior muscles, core strength, and upper body strength so kids may not be able to hold it for very long. That’s okay, just keep practicing with them and they’ll get it soon.
Warrior Pose I & II
Kids love the “warrior” pose because it inspires them to be courageous and makes them feel like a superhero as they learn to balance and focus. After all, which kid doesn’t have fun pretending to be a warrior?!
To perform the pose, you’ll have them stand on the mat with feet spread wide and facing forward. Then, face your back foot to the right while keeping your front foot in the same location. Now, rotate the upper body so it’s facing the front.
Next, bend the front knee to a 90-degree angle while keeping the back leg straight. Nows the fun part. Raise your arms up to the sky like a warrior!
Hold the pose for around 30 seconds and you’re done! You can also move into a Warrior II pose while maintaining the same stance. Just turn your torso sideways and bring your hands down to the shoulder level with fingers stretched out. Keep your gaze straight ahead and smile 🙂
Happy Baby Pose
The name says it all! It’s a perfect way to end your yoga routine on a positive and fun note. It’s a relaxing yoga pose and is fun for both kids and adults. It helps massage their back and adding a gentle rocking movement can make it very interesting for kids.
To perform this pose, lay on your back and bend your knees towards your belly. Encourage the kids to align the heels with the knees. Then grab the outer part of your feet with both hands and gently press down gently.
You can also encourage them to rock from side to side and this will certainly bring a smile on their faces. You can practice this for 30 seconds and then bring the knees together and give a tight hug to the knees by holding them close to the chest and then relax in savasana by straightening the legs and relaxing the entire body.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller
Teaching your kids’ yoga can be a rewarding and fun experience for both you and your children. It’s also a practice that teaches your children how to focus and ground into the moment without reacting to every stimulus in their environment. We encourage you to give it a try and see how it goes. It only takes a few minutes and as long as you’re having fun and encouraging them, they’ll learn to love it and naturally make it part of their day in the future.