Tips to Help Teach Children Yoga
The most important things to remember when practicing yoga with children—keep it fun, free and simple! Let your creativity flow and many more good ideas will come.
When working with young children don’t try to make the poses technically “perfect”. At such a young age, the purpose of yoga is to introduce them to, and familiarize them with, the basic concepts of the practice. The essence of yoga is breathing, relaxing, balancing, trying and being good to self and others.
Benefits of Yoga
• Builds confidence and self-esteem.
• Stimulates brain development.
• Improves overall health.
• Promotes balance, flexibility, coordination and strength.
• Activates creativity and imagination.
• Helps encourage a sense of calmness.
Yoga Positions for Children
Downward Facing Dog
Have you ever watched a dog stretch after their nap? That is what this pose feels like:
• Kneel on all fours and place your hands underneath your shoulders, with your knees underneath your hips.
• Inhale: tuck your toes under, push into the palms of your hands, raise your hips up and back, and lengthen the spine.
• Exhale: straighten your arms, and the backs of your knees, and stretch your heels toward the floor. Look back between your feet. Remember to breath and feel free to make any doggy noises while in the pose!
• Sit, grasping the inside of your feet with your hands.
• Roll onto your back, feet to the sky.
• You can also start by lying on your back. Bend your knees into your belly, then grasp the inside of your feet.
• You can stretch one leg straight keeping the thigh close to the floor while keeping the other one bent.
• Alternate sides and repeat stretches.
• Coo, giggle, and make happy baby noises, then roll back to sitting.
Yoga Tree Pose
• Stand upright on your mat in Mountain pose. Focus on a point on the wall in front of you to help you keep your balance.
• Inhale: take your weight in-to your left leg, then bend your right leg and place your right foot on the inside of your left leg anywhere between your ankle and thigh. Eventually, after practice, you want to place your foot on the top of your inner thigh.
• When you are balanced on one leg and feel steady, exhale and raise your arms over your head. Hold for as long as it is comfortable, then release and repeat with your other leg.
Playing with Yoga
“Yogini Says” is the Yoga version of “Simon Says” and is another great way to encourage children to be creative and do the yoga poses. You can lead by saying: “Yogini Says: touch your toes” and have the children act out the pose. Some poses to try: Mountain, Tree, Downward Facing Dog, Happy Baby, Wheel, etc.
Be creative! Find the fun in everything you do. Be a kid again. See the world though children’s eyes.
Written by Adrienne McCallan, RECE
Home Child Care Consultant
Andrew Fleck Child Care Services
For more fun yoga poses for children, listen to the following YouTube video.