Stretching Their Skills — Ultimate Guide to Yoga for Kids
Do you love yoga and you want your child to take part in your passion? Do you simply want your child to find a healthy way to let off some steam and stretch their body?
If so, yoga might be the answer for them. Even children can benefit from yoga, and the benefits can be for both their bodies and minds.
With obesity a big problem in the United States, anything you can do as a parent to encourage your child to fit some extra movement into their day is a good thing. I’m always encouraging my kids to move around because I know it’s good for them.
Our guide will share some of the great things yoga can offer children, as well as some safety tips and poses to get you started.
15 Benefits of Yoga for Kids
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Yoga can help your child in so many ways, but it will also be fun for them. They won’t know they’re reaping the benefits of exercise and relaxation — they’ll just know they look forward to their stretching time every day.
1. Health Benefits
If you’re looking to maintain or improve your child’s health, yoga is a great place to start. Here are some of the positive things it can do for your child’s health.
Teaches Awareness of Breathing
Increases Posture and Strength
Improves Balance and Coordination
Keeps Pounds Off and Wards Off Disease
Helps Your Child Sleep Better
Promotes Healthy Exercise Habits
2. Mental Benefits
Yoga offers more than just physical benefits — it can help a child mentally as well. Those lessons can be carried into adulthood too.
Cuts Down on Anxiety and Depression
It’s Great Stress Management
Shows Them How to Live in the Moment
3. Educational and School Benefits
Yoga may even improve your child’s performance in school and help them thrive there as well. With dedicated practice, their grades might improve and that might encourage them to like school more than they did before.
Helps Hone Focus and Concentration
Shows Them That Discipline Pays Off
Helps Kinesthetic Learners
Encourages Self-Expression and Creativity
Safety Precautions for Getting Started
Before your child begins doing yoga, there are a few things you should be aware of. While yoga is a safe and beneficial exercise, there are some precautions you might want to follow.
- Find an appropriate instructor: While your child’s form won’t be perfect, it should be decent enough to let them reap the benefits of yoga. If you aren’t a yoga buff, you might want to find someone who is to help your child master yoga.
- Be careful that your child doesn’t overextend: Kids have a natural tendency to stretch as far as they can, even if they aren’t comfortable while doing so. You should let your child know to stop when they feel the pull or burn during stretching and poses.
- Go with bare feet: Mats are a good idea when practicing yoga and you should always make sure your child has bare feet when practicing it. If they’re wearing socks, they can slide and potentially hurt themselves.
- Watch out for underlying conditions: Children who suffer from migraines should watch out for poses that require a lot of various head positions (source). Children who have asthma should be carefully watched for any shortness of breath.
10 Tips for Introducing Kids to Yoga
If you want to get kids interested in yoga, it isn’t hard to do. Just show them some poses and they’ll be ready to go.
Here are some other tips to ease into a successful yoga transition for your kids:
15 Fun Yoga Positions for Kids
Now that you know why yoga is important and how it can help your child, you need to know which poses are suitable for your child. You’ll need to find less complicated poses that your child will be able to master.
It’s okay to challenge your child with a slightly more difficult pose, but you don’t want it to be so hard that you frustrate them.
Here are 16 great poses to teach your kids:
Your child will like this pose because they’ll love getting to imitate a tree — role playing is fun for children. The tree pose can help your child with their coordination, while improving their ankle and calf muscles.
Standing with their feet together, your child will move their foot up to their inner thigh and rest the bottom of their foot there, while maintaining their balance.
Upward Hand Pose
This pose will have your child reaching high above their heads with both hands locked together. They should like this pose for its simplicity, but also for how relaxing it feels.
This one is a great pose for relieving tension and loosening up early in your routine.
Your child will like trying this pose to see how flexible they are.
For this one, they’ll sit down on the ground, bend their knees and draw the bottom of their feet together. Then they’ll bring their heels toward their pelvis as far as they can go.
This position can help soothe back pain and stretches the lower part of the body.
Extended Side Angle
To do this pose, your child will go into a lunging position, then they’ll reach down and put one hand on the ground and bring the other up high in the air.
This pose will be a fun challenge for kids and it will strengthen the legs and stretch the midsection.
Downward Facing Dog
Kids will like doing downward dog because it looks like a lot of fun and they’ll get a kick out of doing animal poses.
For this one, they’ll use their body to make a pyramid shape by sticking their butt up in the air and creating a wide base with their arms and legs. This one is great for relieving tension along the spine and strengthening the arms.
Kids get to act like a snake in this position, which will be highly amusing for them.
They’ll lie down with their belly on the floor. Then they’ll raise their upper body off the floor, placing their hands in front of them for support (source).
This exercise is good for the spine and for stretching the midsection.
This is another animal position that will be fun for your children, especially if they moo as they do the pose. For this one, they’ll get on all fours on the floor, put their head up toward the sky and drop their belly toward the floor.
This pose is good for relieving tension from the lower back and stretches the hips, chest, and abdomen.
The cat pose is often paired up with the cow pose because your child can go from one to the other seamlessly. Your child will like transitioning from one animal to the next.
While going from the cow pose to the cat pose, they’ll bring their stomach back up and round their back while bringing their head down. This works many of the same areas as the cow pose, so it will be good for the back, hips, and chest as well.
With this position, your child will strengthen its arms, legs, and torso.
If your child is a fan of the cobra pose, they’ll like this one too. It’s basically the cobra pose, except their hands will be tucked at their sides instead of in front of them.
Lie and Rest
Your kid may get a kick out of doing this pose when you tell them another name for it is the corpse, or dead body, pose.
After your child gets used to doing it, it will help them with relaxation. To do this one, they’ll lie on their back on the floor. They’ll pull their arms and legs away from their midsection as much as they can while concentrating on relaxing.
Your child will like the challenge of trying to act like they’re sitting in an invisible chair. Their thighs will get a great workout with this pose.
To get them started with this pose, have them first practice lowering themselves into a sitting position against a wall. Once they master that, have them squat as if sinking into a chair without any support and then have them reach up to the sky with their hands.
The boat can be a challenge, which your child may love. They’ll know if they can pull this off, they’ve accomplished something pretty big.
They’ll rest their bottom on the floor, lean back while keeping their back completely straight, and they’ll lift their legs off the floor, keeping them together and straight as well.
This pose may not look like much, but it will build a seriously strong core.
Standing with their hands on their hips, your child will bend forward while trying to keep their knees straight. They’ll try to bend down enough to nearly rest their chin on their shins.
They’ll love the idea of trying to fold themselves in half at the waist.
This exercise will stretch the legs and hips, as well as helping to strengthen the knees and thighs.
Seated Front Bend
This pose is similar to the stretches you might have done in gym class when you were still in school. Your child will sit on the floor with its legs out in front and then they’ll bend forward as far as they can go.
Your child should like this exercise because it’s easy to see how much they improve from week to week. This pose may help with headaches, stress, and it stretches the hamstrings.
Warrior Pose 1
Kids will love this pose just for the name alone — every kid will feel instantly tougher doing a warrior pose. To do this one, they’ll do a lunge while lifting their hands in the air as high as they can go for a deep stretch.
This is a great exercise for stretching abdominal muscles.
Warrior Pose II
With this pose, you’ll hold your legs in position as with the first warrior pose, but the arms will move out to your sides, stretched out at shoulder height in opposite ways away from your body.
Kids will like the feeling of pretending they are on a surfboard trying to maintain their balance. This pose is good for your legs and arms.
Your Turn Mama
If you are looking for a great way to improve your child’s physical fitness while giving their minds a chance to expand as well, yoga might be the answer.
It will help with every area of their life and it might be an activity you enjoy together. It’ll be nice to pose together for something other than just family photos.
Have you introduced your child to yoga?