Kids these days face more challenges than any generation that came before.
Between cyber-bullying, the over-use of technology in general and things like STAAR testing, the amount of stress kids face is incredible.
Add to that a busier work schedule for parents that often has both parents working outside the home, and it’s no wonder kids may feel overwhelmed.
As we look for ways to boost their self-esteem, kids yoga is one of the most powerful activities you may not have thought of.
How yoga helps you and your kids
Yoga has been popular in our culture for decades now.
It can be done at home on your own or in a yoga studio. You can even pull up your favorite style of yoga on YouTube and follow along. Aside from maybe a yoga mat, no special equipment is needed.
Yoga is a great exercise for both reducing stress and centering and calming the mind. But it also builds core strength and balance.
Yoga comes from India and was created thousands of years ago.
In Sanskrit, yoga means “to unite”. In this case, the union is between the mind and the body or even the spirit and body.
While yoga is part of the Hindu religion it has been embraced by all cultures and religions across the world.
With its heavy focus on the breath, yoga is a great way to build coordination and flexibility while naturally helping with stress management.
Learn more about why you should do yoga here:
7 Reasons You Should Start Doing Yoga Immediately
Thus, finding ways to incorporate kids yoga into your child’s activity schedule is a great way to help them navigate the sometimes troubled waters of adolescence.
The self-esteem challenges kids face today
Kids today face incredible challenges.
Bullying, especially cyber-bullying on social media, has become rampant over the past decade. So finding ways to teach our kids how to overcome bullying is crucial.
But we also see our kids stressed and challenged by:
- High parental and school expectations
- Body image issues
- Peer pressure
All of these can take their toll on our kid’s self-esteem. They can lead to depression, drug or alcohol abuse or even suicidal thoughts.
So as parents, we must find a way to help our kids.
Kids yoga is an easy way to help your child improve their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
The proven benefits of kids yoga
The benefits of kids yoga are many, but a few of the top ones are:
- Improve their body awareness
- Improved stress management
- Builds focus and concentration
- Increased confidence and self-esteem
- Improved coordination and flexibility
In short, kids yoga is an easy way to get them moving and off electronic devices. It’s also a healthy weight management practice too. Of course there are other healthy exercises for kids too, so check them all out:
34 Best kids yoga exercises that your kids will love
At first your child may be resistant to yoga. After all if their friends or favorite YouTubers aren’t doing it, it’s not cool. So make a commitment with them. Get them to agree to trying it for a set period of time (ideally 2-4 weeks minimum).
Kids aren’t likely to just quietly do gentle yoga poses for an hour with meditational music in the background. So once you get that commitment, then it’s crucial to find ways to make it fun and keep them motivated.
If we want them to love yoga (and they will), we have to make it appealing to them. Remember this is about the end result, so whether your local yoga guru would approve isn’t relevant.
For these kids yoga poses, we’re using the common names in English rather than the traditional Sanskrit names. We’ve also adapted some of the poses to be done with the aid of a chair to make them easier for younger kids.
Easiest kids yoga poses to start with
These are some easy poses that are great for beginners or younger kids.
1. Bow Pose
Have your child lie flat on their tummy with arms laying alongside their body with palms up. Have them bend the knees and bring the feet towards their head.
Take a deep breath and lift the chest, looking forward. Then have them reach their arms back and grab their ankles.
2. Bridge Pose
Have them lie on their back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Knees should be hip width apart. Arms should be down alongside the body with palms facing down. Have their fingers touch the back of the heels.
Then tuck the chin into the chest, and as they breathe in, lift the bottom off the ground and press up.
The most fun kids yoga games
3. Yoga Pose Musical Dots
Cut out circles on different colors of construction paper. Write the name of a different yoga pose on each circle. Play some fun music that your kids like.
Then, as with musical chairs, have them walk slowly around the circle and then randomly stop the music. Instead of 1 person getting taken out of the game, the kids simply have to do the pose written on their circle.
4. Yoga Pose Detective
Call out different options (ie: “Show me a yoga pose with 1 foot on the ground”) and let the kid(s) choose from any of the yoga poses they know that match the description.
Easiest kids yoga poses for improved coordination
5. Mountain Pose
Have your child stand with their feet at hip distance apart. Have them press their feet down into the ground to create a solid base. Stand up straight with arms at their sides. Have them turn the palms forward and spread the fingers wide. Keep a straight back as they lift from the crown of their head to the sky.
6. Chair Pose
From a seated position, stand in Mountain Pose. Have them lift their arms up in front of them at about a 45 degree angle while looking at their hands. Then have them sink their posture as if they were going to sit, but have them not touch the seat.
The best kids yoga poses to calm the mind
7. Lotus Pose
Have them start by sitting on the floor with legs extended. Bend the right knee and bring the foot across to meet the left elbow. Place the right foot and the left elbow together while having the right knee meet the right elbow. Bring hands together in a prayer-type position. Have them lightly sway back and forth to open the hips.
8. Child’s Pose
Sit back on the heels and lean forward with the arms stretched out in front and palms flat on the ground. Have them bring their forehead to the floor. Then they lay their chest on the thighs. Then bring the arms alongside the body.
Best yoga poses for building strength
9. Boat Pose
Have them sit with a tall back and the legs bent a little bit in front of them. Have them lean back a little and place their arms straight out in front. Then have them balance on their bottom, and raise the feet off the ground. Have them gently rock back and forth.
10. Dolphin Plank
Have them start in a push-up position and then bring the forearms to the ground. Place the elbows right under their shoulders. Gently lock the fingers together and make sure they keep their belly, hips and knees off the ground.
Top kids yoga poses for healthy weight management
11. Upward Facing Dog
Have them start by lying flat on the belly, with their hands under the shoulders and elbows tucked in. Ask them to press up off the floor leaving their lower body on the ground. Press up and stretch before resting back down.
12. Triangle Pose
From a standing position have them extend arms out and spread the legs wide. Turn left foot out and reach down with their left hand and grab their own left ankle. Extend the right arm straight up and press up. Repeat on the other side.
The top animal poses (That kids will love to copy)
13. Cobra Pose (with a chair)
Have them sit at the very front of a chair. Ask them to open their chest, pressing the chest up and arching up slightly, bringing the shoulder blades towards each other. Hold on to the back of the chair seat and focus the gaze upwards.
14. Cow Pose
Have your child sit at the front of a chair, with their feet flat on the ground. Ask them to place the palms of their hands on their knees. Focusing on the breath have them look up slightly, while arching their back, and opening the chest.
The best poses for building outrageous flexibility
15. Downward Dog Pose
Stand in front of a chair, facing the chair. Have them place their hands on the front of the chair while slowly stepping back. Have their arms outstretched in front of them. Keep the back flat while ensuring the legs are hip-width apart. Their gaze should be down between the legs.
16. Tree Pose
Stand behind a chair. Hold on to the back of the chair with one hand. Then have them shift their weight and balance on the leg closest to the chair. Bend the knee of the other leg and place the sole of that foot on the inner thigh or calf of the standing leg. While balancing, gently sway and focus on the breath.
The proven power of the breath in kids yoga
17. Lion’s Breath
This style of breathing is one of the most fun for kids yoga. With Lion’s Breath, kids inhale deeply through the nose. Then they lean their head back and open their mouth wide while exhaling loudly and sticking their tongue out.
18. Breath of Fire
Used in Bikram yoga, this style of breathing is great for warming up the abs. Practice the Breath of Fire by having the kids sit tall. Then ask them to inhale gently through the nose. As they breathe in, they begin to exhale out through the nose rapidly while sucking in their stomach in quick succession.
Best kids yoga poses for kids with autism
19. Warrior I Pose
The warrior poses are done in a deep lunge stance. For warrior 1, have your child stretch their arms straight up while pressing the chest gently out and up.
20. Cat-Cow Stretch
Have your child place both hands on the ground and rest on the knees. Alternate between arching the back up while pressing the head down (cat) and gently arching the back in while pressing the head and shoulders up to the sky (cow). Animal noises are encouraged!
Great yoga poses for improving self-regulation
21. Alternate Nostril Breathing
Have your child sit comfortably with legs crossed. Have them breathe in normally and exhale through the nose. Have them press the right side of the nose closed and breathe in through the left nostril. Pause. Release the right side of the nose and press the left side shut. Exhale through the right nostril. Repeat in reverse order.
22. Warrior II Pose
Start in a deep lunge stance. The foot of the leg in front should be facing forward. The other foot should be at about a 45 degree angle. Extend both arms in opposite directions with following the legs on the same side. Arms should be parallel to the ground with palms facing down.
Awesome yoga poses for active kids
23. Waterfall Pose
Have your child lie on their back with feet flat on the floor. Have the knees bent. Press down into the feet and lift the hips up. Place their hands, palms down, under their bottom. Alternately you can place a soft block or pillow there. Slowly raise both legs up pointing to the ceiling, similar to a leg raise.
24. Flying Eagle Pose
Start by having your child do Mountain pose (listed above). As they come out of that pose, they extend their arms like an eagle flying. Then, slowly raise one leg up behind them and gently bend forward at the waist.
Poses to help kids connect their emotions and their body
A variation of the high lunge. From standing, bend at the waist and place both hands on the ground. Take a big step back with the left leg. Hands remain flat on the ground on either side of the right leg. Hold for 4 seconds and repeat on the other side.
26. Upward Salute
Start by having your child do Mountain pose (listed above). Have them raise their arms out sideways and point the fingers straight up to the sky. Palms face one another and the arms should remain in parallel.
The best kids yoga poses done with their favorite songs
27. Plow Pose
Have them lie down on the floor on their back while bringing the knees into the chest. Lay the arms along their sides, with your palms pressing down. As they exhale have them swing their legs up over their head. They should stretch the toes as far back over their head as they can get them.
A partner pose done with 2 kids. Have the kids sit across from one another with legs out in front of them in a V shape and a straight back. Holding hands, have them gently rock back and forth in time to the music.
Confidence building kids yoga poses
29. Supine Butterfly
Have them lay flat on their back with knees bent. Let the knees fall gently to each side while the feet press into each other. Have their arms extend out away from the body at a 45 degree angle going down away from the head, with palms facing up.
30. Warrior III
Have them stand with feet together. Have the hands extend over their head with palms together. Slowly bend at the waist and lean forward. As they lean forward they should raise one leg back, ending with standing on one leg with arms flat in front and 1 leg flat extending back.
Kids yoga poses that look like cool martial arts moves
31. Side Blade Kick
From standing, have them kick out with one leg. Rotate the leg and hip so that the toes are angled down slightly and the foot is horizontal. Raise the arm on the same side as the kicking leg, bending at the elbow so the top of the arm is parallel with the kicking leg and the upper arm is pointed straight up making a fist. Bring the other arm across the torso pointing towards the extended leg and make a fist with that hand also.
32. Cobra Pose
Have them lay down on the belly with their legs extended flat on the ground. Place the hands on the floor just under the shoulders with palms facing down. Have them press the tops of the feet and legs into the floor. While inhaling, have them press down into the floor with the hands while slowly raising the upper part of their body up. Hold for several breathes while gazing forward.
Next level poses for more advanced kids
33. Dancer Pose
Start this one from Mountain pose too (listed above). On the inhale, their weight shifts back to the right foot. Have them lift the left leg towards their bottom on the left side and bend the knees. Point the toes to the sky. Hold the left ankle with the left hand while the right arm extends forward at a 45 degree angle.
34. Wild Thing
Start from a downward facing dog pose (listed above). Raise the right leg high in the air. Then have them bend the right knee and point the right foot towards their left hip. As they press that foot down, they will naturally rotate and end up with their body facing up instead of down. Have them plant the right leg on the ground and reach out with the right arm, extending past the head.
How kids yoga can reshape your child’s self-image
In this post, we looked at what yoga is and some of the best kids yoga poses. But we also took a look at some of the things that add stress to our kid’s lives and how kids yoga can help overcome them.
We know that kids face more challenges and different challenges than any generation that came before.
Thus it’s crucial that we, as parents, find ways to help our children find healthy outlets and activities. We have to provide the much needed guidance to set them up for success in physical and mental health but also for life in general.
Kids yoga is an easy activity to incorporate into your kid’s life that can help boost self-esteem. It can also help develop them mentally, physically and emotionally.
With the low costs involved, it’s literally something every parent could introduce their child to, and your child can start seeing the benefits right away.
Featured photo credit: Rainbow Yoga via rainbowyogatraining.com