10 Best Yoga Postures for Kids
Yoga is a fantastic way to get kids interested in stretching
and a healthy lifestyle from an early age. Whether your goal is to get the kids
to relax or just burn off a little extra energy, many great yoga poses are
perfect for kids.
Yoga has not just made it's way mainstream with adults and the older population, more children then ever are participating in the practice. According to one National Survey, 3% of children in the U.S. participate in yoga. While this may not seem like a large percentage, the total amount of children that participate in yoga as increased by 1.3 million from 2007 - 2012.
According to an article posted by CompareCamp.com, 1 in 12 children have practiced yoga in the past 12 months.
So why has this number increased?
Well we've discussed at length the benefits yoga has on adults who practice it on a regular basis. However, according to Harvard Health, both yoga and mindfulness have been shown to improve physical and mental health in school-aged children as well. Some of these benefits include; balance, strength, endurance, as well as helping to improve focus, memory and self-esteem. Most of us would agree, these are all vital to a child's development. On another positive note, yoga is free and easy to start.
Research has also shown potential positive benefits on children with ADHD, with interventions such as yoga, meditation, and play therapy. One uncontrolled pilot study which looked specifically at the effects of yoga on cortisol concentrations and classroom "perceived behavior" in 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms, showed some signs of decreased baseline cortisol (stress hormone) and significant perceived behavioral improvements among the second graders.
* More sustainable research is needed to confirm these results, however *
With all of this said, where do the kids start? What are the best and/or more common poses that children can do to develop a foundation. Below, you'll find ten different yoga postures for kids. Included in this list are both sitting and standing yoga poses for kids as well as brief instructions on how to perform them. These yoga poses should give them a solid base on which they can then build from. Some are very easy to perform, while others will test them both physically and mentally.
Related Article: Exploring Meditation For Kids & the Potential Positive Benefits
1. Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)
This is a sitting yoga posture for kids, and slightly challenging for sure, as it takes some pretty good core strength.
1. Have your child take a seat on his/her yoga mat, legs bent and feet flat on the floor.
2. Have them place there hands on there hips and begin to raise their heels off the floor. They will be balancing on there sacrum (or "butt bone").
3. Have your child slowly start to straighten their legs as high as comfortable, then release the arms forward out in front to help stabilize, while also keeping the shoulders back.
4. They should be leaning slightly back with their upper body.
5. Hold for 15 seconds.
2. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
Just as the name implies, this pose is pretty easy, but gives the child some time to relax and focus on the present.
1. This yoga pose involves the child sitting on the floor with their legs crossed while resting their hands on their knees or in a prayer position.
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3. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
4. Extended Mountain Pose with Backbend (Utthita Tadasana With Backbend)
This is a variation of Mountain pose which has your arms slightly more active and creates a back-bend type asana.
1. To perform this pose, first get into Mountain pose like described above.
2. Now, reach up to the sky with both arms, parallel to one another.
3. As you exhale, start to create a slight back-bend or arch in the back, reaching back with your arms as well. Then come back to Tadasana.
Related Article: Yoga Postures for Children: 5 Yoga Poses for Kids
5. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
6. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Cobra pose is another yoga posture fun and easy for the kids. This pose targets the back, arms and core of the body.
1. This yoga pose for kids starts by having the child lay on their stomach on the floor, feet hip-width apart.
2. Place the hands slightly more then shoulder width apart, with the elbows bent. For positioning of the hands, your thumb should be able to touch the top of your shoulder, then place your hands flat on the mat.
3. Now place forehead on the floor.
4. Press your pubic bone down and draw your tailbone toward the feet.
5. On inhale, begin to left up your head, using your back/core muscles. Once you feel like you can't go further, press down and through your hands for a further stretch.
7. Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
A great beginner back-bend asana for kids. This is also a pose done at the beginning of yoga routines as it opens up the spine and helps join the body-mind-breath together.
1. For Bitilasana, begin on all fours, with shoulders directly overtop the wrists.
2. Place the knees underneath the hips.
3. Tuck the toes under, begin to drop your naval toward the mat (on inhale), and gaze upward with your eyes.
8. Crescent Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
The crescent moon pose is another standing yoga pose for kids can begin by getting into Mountain pose. This pose has several variations.
9. Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana)
Definitely more challenging, Dancer's pose is a more advanced yoga posture for kids, but is excellent for developing balance. Dancer's pose helps with not just balance, but is a stretch, strength and back-bend type pose.
1. Start by standing on your mat, feet close together. Begin by transferring weight from both legs to your right side. You can do this pointing the left toes into the mat and transferring your weight to the right side.
2. Now, reach out and back with your left hand, thumb up, while also bringing your left foot up.
3. Grab your left foot with your left hand on the big toe side.
4. After this, try and realign or squeeze your knees back together, your gaze should be forward.
5. Now, reach forward with your right hand in front, palm-down, gaze now is overtop that right hand.
6. Without flaring your hips, begin to hinge at the hip forward and down, almost reaching toward the horizon with the right hand.
7. As you do this, kick back with your left leg (left hand remains holding), and reach further with your right arm.
10. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
A classic yoga pose, oftentimes utilized in restorative type yoga styles, Childs pose can be done at variable times during a routine.
1. To perform this pose, have the child sit on their heels. Big toes can be touching.
2. Then, lean forward until their head is in front of their knees, as there torso rests between there thighs. (turn head to the side if more comfortable)
3. Continue to walk the hands/fingers forward.
4. Focus on breathing, mind-body connection.
Make sure when your children are doing these poses they are supervised, especially the more challenging ones. Also, it's helpful to provide them a yoga mat for stability and comfort.
We hope this can be a fun lesson for your kids to participate in. Get them started early with yoga and have them feeling great in the future both mentally and physically. As always we love to hear stories and other poses that are popular with kids so feel free to comment below.
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