Four Poses to Get Kids Started With Yoga
We adults are by now well-versed in the multitude of physical, mental and spiritual benefits of yoga. But what about our kids? Significant research has shown that introducing children to yoga from a young age can help them practise mindfulness, learn healthy habits, maximise academic, social, emotional and physical development and most importantly have fun and be happy.
No guide to children’s yoga would be complete without the appropriately named Child’s Pose or Balasana. This grounding position is not only easy to do; it will also help your mini yogis feel calm, collected and safe. To guide your kids into this position ask them to get onto their hands and knees, then sit back on their heels resting their head in front of them and stretch their arms out infront of them.
Kids are very visual so asking them to get into positions that are named after something they know or can relate to makes the experience more fun and engaging. The Tree – named Vrkasana in Sanskrit – is a great core strengthening position that will encourage concentration, poise and stability. This is a slightly more tricky position for kids to maintain. First ask your child to stand firmly on the floor with both feet before slowly lifting one heel. Once stable in this position ask them to turn their knee out and place the heel on the inner ankle. If they feel confident try experiment with raising the foot higher.
Cat and Cow Poses
Having your kids simulate animals is a great way to make the yoga more accessible to their young minds. The Cat and Cow Poses or Marjaryasana and Bitilasana, are not only great ways to warm up the spine at the beginning of a session, they also help children to focus on their breathing, encouraging concentration and body awareness. Ask your little one to get onto all fours then inhale as they drop their bellies down to the ground and lift their heads up, on the next exhale ask them to gently round their backs to the ceiling, drawing their belly button up towards their spine and tilting their head downwards.
Happy Baby Pose
This pose is fabulous for kids not least because they’ll love the name. The position itself can also be very beneficial to stretch the inner groin and the spine as well as calm the mind and relieve fatigue.
Get your child to lie on their backs with their knees pulled in towards the chest. Ask them to hold onto the outsides of their feet and open their knees torso width apart pressing the feet into the hands and tucking the tailbone under.