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Home With the Kids? Do Yoga!

Here's How

By

Updated June 29, 2013

In my experience, and I have a little, kids love to do yoga, but they especially love to do it with you. So while you could sign them up for kids' yoga classes (and that would probably be worthwhile in many ways), setting up a few mats in the living room and throwing down some asanas together is also a great idea, especially because it allows you to get in some yoga time too. Rainy weekends, hot summer afternoons, and any other times you hear the dreaded "B" word ("I'm bored,") are ideal times to work a little yoga into your kids' lives. You'll all feel better for it.

Tips:

  • If you have a mat, your kid is going to want one too.
  • The more creative you get with the narrative of the poses, the more engaged your kids will be.
  • Keep things age-appropriate and safe. The following poses are suitable for most children four and up, but kids' bodies vary a lot, both from one another and from adult bodies, so expect approximations of the poses.
  • Your kids may not have the attention span for more than a few poses. A book or snack on their mat may buy you a little more time with younger children, but realize that you may have to cut the session short.
  • The suggested poses below fall into three broad categories: nature, animals, and humans. This allows your child to relate the postures to shapes and experiences with which they are familiar.
  • Kids also love to make up their own poses.
  • 1. Tree Pose

    © Barry Stone
    Tree is always a favorite with kids. Invite them to imagine that they have roots that are helping them balance. They can sway their arms like branches in the breeze. It's also a good time to show them that it's ok to topple over and just to have fun with it.

    2. Plank Pose

    Plank Pose
    © Barry Stone
    Plank may look easy to them, so let them try to hold it as long as they can.

    3. Cat- Cow Stretch

    © Barry Stone
    Meow as you move from a rounded Halloween cat position to an arched, mooing cow.

    4. Downward Facing Dog

    Downward Facing Dog
    © Barry Stone
    If your family has a dog, this stretch will undoubtedly look familiar to your kids. A basic hands and knees position is a simple alternative, and both provide the perfect opportunity to wag your tail. You could also call this mountain pose (not to be confused with mountain pose).

    5. Eagle Pose

    © Barry Stone
    If your kids are small, have them try eagle with their butts leaning on a wall. Encourage arm flapping and bird calls. You could also call this pretzel pose.

    6. Cobra Pose

    © Barry Stone
    Cobra is always a favorite, since who doesn't like to slither on her belly while hissing? This pose always reminds me of tummy time, so you could take that angle too, even breaking out old photos of baby in her first cobra for inspiration.

    7. Lizard Pose

    Lizard Pose - Utthan Pristhasana
    © Barry Stone
    Modify as necessary by dropping the back knee and/or coming up on straight rather than bent arms. Either way, darting the head around and sticking out your tongue makes this more reptilian.

    8. Elephant's Trunk (Foot Phone)

    Eka Hasta Bhujasana - Elephant Trunk Pose
    © Barry Stone
    The arm balance here is a little ambitious for most kids, though your budding gymnasts may enjoy it. Instead, focus on throwing your arm over your shoulder to make a trunk. This can also lead to the always popular foot phone, in which you bring your foot up to your face and pretend to carry on a telephone conversation.

    9. Butterfly Pose

    © Barry Stone
    Flutter the legs as they take the shape of a butterfly's wings.

    10. Warrior II

    Warrior II
    © Barry Stone
    Most of our kids poses are a little silly, but you can also work on being a proud, fierce warrior. Your child could imagine facing a scary situation with bravery or standing up for themselves while doing this pose.

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