I’ve discovered that most children really enjoy yoga. It uses their imagination and it let’s them move around. There are many poses which they find entertaining, but here are a few to get started:
1. Tree Pose. While shoulder stands and Child’s Pose come naturally for kids, Tree Pose takes a few more steps to get started. Start standing. Press the bottom of one foot to the inside of the other leg, or to the thigh. Make sure that the foot is not pressing against the kneecap. As you get your balance, find a focal point (something that is motionless) to keep your eyes on. Try to keep your knee on your lifted leg pointed out to the side. Once everything feels steady, point your arms up toward the sky. Children will enjoy letting their arms sway back and forth like they are in a forest with a breeze. Practice Tree Pose on each side for about 10-30 seconds.
2. Cat Pose. A lot of yoga is based on making the body resemble characteristics of animals. With little kids, especially, they will love adding meows and hisses. Getting into the pose is easy. Start on hands and knees. Simply reach the spine toward the ceiling, creating a pronounced arch in the spine like an angry cat. You can alternate this pose with Cow Pose, which reverses the movement by pressing the belly toward the floor, while the chin and tailbone lift toward the ceiling.
3. Wheel. Being able to hold a backbend is a confidence-builder for children and adults, alike. With kids, however, they’re much less hesitant to give them a try and they’re usually more flexible than their grownups. Starting on your back on the floor, place palms on the floor with fingertips pointed toward your feet. The hands are next to the head. Knees are about hips-width apart and feet are flat on the floor. Supporting weight with hands and feet, lift up first onto the crown of the head. Come up off the head and you and your child are now in a wheel shape with bellies lifted to the sky and the body forming an arch. To come out of Wheel Pose, reverse the directions – first coming down to the crown of the head, then rolling the spine to the floor from the neck to the tailbone. Wheel is a more advanced pose, at least for grownups, so take this one a little easy.
We all know that children love to pretend that they are different shapes, characters and animals through charades and made-up games. Try some of these yoga poses with your children to show your playfulness to them. Have fun and always remember to breathe while you’re getting into, holding or coming out of any yoga poses.