August 28, 2019

10 Yoga Poses for Children

Yoga, when presented in a child-friendly way, can be a perfect complement to our busy days.

 

If you want to really dive in, yoga has been shown to be effective in helping children develop social skills, focus on the present moment, and slow down their thoughts. Its physical benefits include increased flexibility, coordination, balance, strength, and body awareness. Studies show that yoga at an early age can also encourage self-esteem and acceptance through exercise in a noncompetitive, fun atmosphere.

 

At Doodle Bugs!, yoga is regular part of our day– oftentimes happening right before rest time as a way to calm our bodies and minds.

 

As we begin the school year, you might catch your child experimenting with one of these poses at home. We encourage you to give it a try as a means of transitioning from a busy day at “school” and work, or perhaps after bath time as a part of your nighttime routine.

 

Start with slow, brief sessions, focusing on just one pose at a time with lots of praise and guidance. Typically, a child’s attention span is typically their age in years plus 3, meaning that the developmentally appropriate expectation is that a 2 year old will focus for about 5 minutes.

Airplane Pose


Benefits: improves balance; develops concentration; strengthens legs, chest, and arms

  1. Begin in Mountain Pose (stand tall with your toes touching and heels slightly apart).
  2. Extend arms out to either side.
  3. When you feel balanced, exhale and lean forward, lifting one leg straight behind you.
  4. Hold this pose, then return your left to the ground and your arms to your sides.
  5. Repeat with the opposite leg.

To encourage breathing, invite children to make airplane noises or talk about where they are flying.

 

Bridge Pose

Benefits: stretches the chest, neck, and back; calms the mind; reduces stress and depression; improves digestion; strengthens legs

  1. Lay down on your back.
  2. Place your arms on the floor, alongside your body.
  3. Bend your knees, setting your feet flat on the floor.
  4. Exhale, and lift your hips toward the ceiling.
  5. Hold this pose for a few breaths.
  6. Exhale, and lower your hips back to the floor.

 

Butterfly Pose

Benefits: helps parents or caretakers bond with baby, gently stretches inner groin muscles and spine, builds body awareness, aids digestion

 

  1. Sit baby up with her toes out. Gently bend baby’s knees back and bring her toes together to create butterfly wings.
  2. Breathe slowly with baby while gently moving her butterfly wings.
  3. Stretch baby’s legs out straight and bring back in to butterfly again.

 

Child’s Pose


Benefits: strengthens the hips, thighs, and ankles; calms the mind; relieves stress and fatigue

 

  1. Place baby on the floor, kneeling, with his big toes touching.
  2. Sit baby back on his heels, and separate his knees so they are hip-width apart.
  3. Gently bring baby’s head down, and rest it on the floor in front of him.
  4. Place baby’s hands wherever they are comfortable—by his head, his knees, etc.
  5. Baby can relax and breathe in this pose.

 

Happy Baby Pose

Benefits: gently stretches inner leg muscles and spine, calms the mind, helps relieve stress and fatigue

 

  1. Lay down on your back.
  2. Exhale, bend your knees into your belly, and hold onto your feet.
  3. Allow your body to gently rock side to side.

 

Kite Pose


Benefits: stretches arms, improves balance and coordination, strengthens core and legs

 

  1. Begin in Star Pose (stand with your feet wide apart, arms stretched out to your sides).
  2. Keeping your neck and spine straight, tip your star to one side, balancing on one leg for as long as you can.
  3. Return to star pose, with both feet on the floor.
  4. Tip your star to the other side, and hold it with your leg firmly on the floor.

 

Star Pose

Benefits: improves balance and coordination, increases strength and core stability, releases tension, stretches shoulders and chest

 

  1. Stand with your feet wide apart.
  2. Stretch your arms out to either side.

 

To use star pose to energize children, invite them to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” while in the pose. To use as a relaxation pose, have children take deep breaths as they enjoy the full body stretch.

 

Salutation Seal


(This is great for starting and ending your sessions!)
Benefits: calms the body and mind, helps relieve stress, relaxing

 

  1. Sit with your legs crossed.
  2. As you inhale, bring your palms together. Gently press hands against each other, straighten your back, and close your eyes.
  3. Hold this position and breathe deeply.

 

Tree Pose

Benefits: improves balance; strengthens thighs, calves, and ankles; stretches legs and chest; develops concentration

 

  1. Begin in Mountain Pose (stand tall with your toes touching and heels slightly apart).
  2. To help with balance, extend arms out to either side.
  3. Lift your right foot and turn your knee out. Place your foot above or below your left knee, depending on your comfort level and balance.
  4. Press your hands together.
  5. Raise arms overhead, and look up to your hands.
  6. Return hands to your chest, and lower your right leg.
  7. Repeat with left leg.

 

Upward Facing Dog


Benefits: strengthens the spine, opens and stretches the chest, relieves stress and fatigue, relieves symptoms of asthma

 

  1. Begin with baby on the floor, lying on his stomach.
  2. Bring baby’s hands up by his shoulders, with his palms on the floor.
  3. Straighten baby’s arms, gently lifting his head and torso as high as you can, keeping baby’s elbows close to his body.
  4. Hold this position, breathing with baby.
  5. Breathe out with baby, returning him to the floor.
  6. Breathe deeply with baby for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

 

Here’s to the school year ahead. Namaste!