Yoga is a set of exercising poses, breathing techniques, and meditation that can be practiced by people of all ages. So, yoga is great for kids and brings numerous benefits to their growing bodies, developing minds, and inner mental state.
This article will tell you everything about kid’s yoga, will give you instructions for the 12 best yoga poses for kids, and will advise a couple of tips for you to improve the kids’ yoga experience. Read on and guide your kid in the beneficial world of yoga.
Benefits of yoga for kids
Kid’s yoga also promotes mindfulness and calmness, while decreasing stress, built-up energy, anxiety, and anger.
With it, some schools around the world included yoga in their classroom programs. This also proved that yoga has positive effects on kids.
Kid’s Yoga is great because:
- It can be practiced in nature
- It calms the kid-practitioner down
- It can be done in groups, so it’s a social activity
- It’s fun and engaging
- Get’s the kid away from screen time
- It’s a form of exercising
- Develops the habit of deep breathing and calmness
1. Tabletop pose
The tabletop pose is a great pose to start with. You need to get on your knees and hands and hold the pose. Most of the weight should be on your hands and wrists. However, you should constantly tighten your abdominal muscles while continuing to breathe. This basic pose will help you tense your core and make you more stable.
2. Butterfly Pose or Baddha Konasana
The butterfly pose is very interesting and fun for kids since they get to “be” butterflies. This is how the butterfly pose is done:
- Sit on the ground with your feet touched together in front of you and you knees bent to the sides.
- Straighten the spine and hold your touching feet with your hands.
- Now, with the legs imitate the movement of the wings of a butterfly.
- Breathe calmly and fully. Release when you feel ready.
With the help of this pose, your kid would strengthen the muscles in the legs and abdomen, while improving digestion and blood flow. The Butterfly Pose is also very good for grounding, relaxing, promoting creativity, and releasing stress and anxiety.
3. Cat Pose or Marjaryasana
Another interesting, animal-inspired yoga poses for kids is the Cat pose. It’s fun for kids since they tend to imitate animals anyways. This is the way to do the cat pose:
- Get into the tabletop position, supporting your body with your hands and knees.
- From there, make sure that your knees are below your hips in a straight line.
- Your shoulders, elbows, and wrists should also be in a straight line.
- Gaze at the mat before you and keep the head in a neutral position.
- While exhaling, arch the spine toward the ceiling like a cat does when it stretches. Turn your head a little bit down, towards the floor.
- Inhale, get in the same starting position, with your spine arched toward the floor.
The Cat pose is a wonderful pose for spine stretching and strengthening. It works the neck and the torso and improves circulation in the body. It’s also a great way to exercise rhythmical breathing and promote calmness.
4. Cow pose
The cow pose is combined with the cat pose. Start in the same position as the cat pose, which is cross-legged. As you inhale, you should tilt your pelvis down. In the opposite position as in the cat pose. Combine these two positions and warm up your body. This position not only stretches your back and opens your chest, but can also improve your posture.
5. Corpse Pose or Savasana
This is one of the simplest poses in yoga, so it’s a very good start for kids’ yoga practice. The pose is simple and includes relaxing while lying on the back on a flat surface.
This is how the Corpse pose is done:
- Lie on the ground with your arms by the sides of your body and your legs relaxed.
- Turn the palms of your hands up, facing the ceiling.
- Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply.
- If you stay in this pose longer, you can cover yourself with a blanket for warmth.
This pose is mostly done during meditation and relaxation. It decreases negative feelings and tension in the body while helping the kid to relax, ground and focus. It might also increase awareness of the body. For kids, this is a great way to stay calm. So, if you like, you can give instructions about mental images that the kid can do (imagine yourself being in nature) or promote their self-esteem with positive affirmations.
6. Hero pos
You should sit on your feet. If you feel comfortable, you can also sit between your feet. Your toes should point back and your knees should be aligned. You should sit up straight so you can stretch your spine. This is a great grounding pose that will help you stretch your thighs.
7. Cross-legged pose
This is again a seated position. Only here, while sitting, you cross your legs and stretch a different part of your muscles. If the position is not comfortable, you can sit on a blanket or a prop. In this pose, you can stretch your hips and strengthen your back.
8. Seated Forward Bend or Paschimottanasana
There are numerous forward bend variations and all of them are very useful. The seated one is easier to do, and it flexes almost all the same muscles as the standing forward bend.
The next section of this article will explain the seated forward bend with an angle. Your kid can decide which one they prefer, or they can do both.
This is how to do the seated forward bend:
Sit on the ground, with your legs in front of you.
- Flex your feet by pushing your toes toward the ground.
- Bring your arms up.
- Fold forward with your chest, head, and arms as much as you can.
- Aim for your hands to touch your feet, but go as far as you’re comfortable.
- Hold for a few breaths and release by raising yourself in the starting position.
The forward bend will bring mindfulness – relaxation, stress and anxiety relief, and reduced fatigue. But, it will also exercise the muscles in the calves, tighs, hips, and spine. It will improve digestion, and decrease headaches and belly aches.
9. The Mountain Pose or Tadasana
The Mountain pose is one of the fundamental poses for yoga. It’s also very easy to do and has a couple of mental benefits for kids. This is how to do it:
- Stand straight with your legs being a few inches apart from each other.
- Rest your arms at the sides of your body, with the shoulders relaxed, but not bent forward.
- Simultaneously raise both your arms towards the ceiling and stand steadily.
- Breathe slowly and deeply.
This pose is great for improving posture and strengthening the legs and thighs. It also works the muscles on the abdomen and hips. Mentally, it gives a sense of firmness, strength, stability, and calmness. This pose can be quite useful for highly temperament or energetic kids, as a way to calm down and relax.
10. Seated Forward Fold with Wide Angle or Upavistiha Konasana
The seated forward fold or bend with a wide leg angle is a variation of our previously mentioned forward bend. This one is easier to do but stretches different sets of muscles.
Follow these steps to do the seated forward bend with leg angle:
- Sit on the ground and widen your legs to the sides.
- Flex your feet by pushing your toes toward the ground.
- Raise your arms above your head, stretching them up.
- Now slowly push your body in front of you, together with the arms. Go as forward as you can toward the ground, in the space between your legs.
- When you reach your maximum point, hold there for a few breaths and slowly raise your upper body.
- Another variation of this pose is to do the pose in pairs. Two people sit facing each other, with their feet touching. They hold hands and rhythmically push-pull their upper bodies in the pose.
The forward bend pose is great for the flexibility and strength of the spine, legs, and hips. It also helps the tummy to decrease belly aches and improve digestion.
11. STANDING FORWARD BEND
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a deep breath and raise your hands above your head. Then exhale and bend forward. If the posture is comfortable, you can hold it for a few seconds. You can bend your knees to make the pose a little easier. Since children sit a lot throughout the day, this is a good position to release that tension.
12. Warrior I pose or Virabhadrasana I
There are numerous Warrior poses and their variations. But, the Warrior I pose is simple to do and promotes strength, focus, and balance. Here’s how to do it:
- Start from the Mountain pose and make a big step forward with one leg. Bend the front leg under a 90° angle.
- Rotate the back foot flat to the ground, at a 45° angle outwards.
- Raise your arms above your head, stretching the spine and keeping the hips aligned.
- Hold for a few breaths and then release.
- Repeat the steps with the front leg now being back.
This pose will strengthen almost all muscles in the body. It will also promote balance, straight body posture, calmness, and blood circulation. It’s known to reduce anxiety, the tension in the body, and sore spots.
Note that it might be a little bit complex for smaller children or novice kid yoga practitioners. If you notice that your kid has a hard time doing the Warrior I pose, start by showing the pose yourself, or by helping your kid place their legs in the right way.
13. WARRIOR II POSE
This pose is great for strengthening your core and legs while opening up your knees. Start by standing on the front of your mat. Step back with one leg while bending the other. The bent knee should be right above your ankle. Extend your arm and focus on a point in front of you. Relax and breathe through your nose.
Warrior poses are great postures to introduce a mantra or to bring children’s focus to the present moment.
14. DOWNWARD-FACING DOG POSE
This pose can be as playful as it sounds. Kids spend a lot of time sitting and this is a great pose to balance that out. You can also start from a tabletop and press up and back. Spread your fingers and push in through your hands
15. THREE-LEGGED DOG POSE
This is an extension of the downward-facing dog pose. After you get into that pose, you should lift one leg at a time. The pose will make your core stronger and it will challenge your balance. This pose is usually a lot of fun for children because it is similar to what cats and dogs do and every kid enjoys imitating an animal.
16. LOCUST POSE
For this pose, you need to lay down on your belly and place your palms on your sides. You need to flex your body and slowly lift your head and feet up. By squeezing your legs and arms together, you can create a powerful pose. It is important to keep the children’s awareness of their breathing and make sure they are mindful throughout the pose. By holding the locust pose you can strengthen the back muscles.
17. LOTUS POSE
This pose is a bit more advanced than the locust pose. This is also a sitting position, just here you sit cross-legged. If you are flexible, you can put your feet onto your thighs.
18. BOAT POSE
Sit down on your mat first and take a deep breath. Then slowly lift up your legs with your knees bent. Don’t forget to keep your spine straight and to breathe slowly. If you feel grounded you can try straightening one leg at a time and then both legs. Since it strengthens your core, it can also contribute to a better digestive system.
19. The Bridge Pose or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
The bridge pose is a back bend pose that stretches the spine, thighs, hamstrings and buttocks. Here’s how to guide your kid through it:
- Lay flat on your mat and bend the knees a little, enough for the soles of your feet to be positioned firmly on the floor.
- Keep a hip-width between them, don’t let them touch. Make sure that your ankles and knees are in a straight line.
- Place your arms next to your body, with the palms touching the floor.
- Take a breath and lift your body – starting from the buttocks and then the low, middle, and upper part of the back.
- Your arms, shoulders neck, and feet are will support your body. Find your balance in this position.
- Further strengthen the body parts that are in the air.
- Move your hands a little inward, to have them touch each other, under your body. Then, interlace the fingers and use your hands to push your torso up a little bit more.
- Hold this pose for a couple of breaths and slowly release – first move your hands apart and then lower your body back on the floor.
This pose stretches and opens the front part of the body, while it strengthens the muscles on the back. It also increases spine flexibility and gives a sense of achievement, since it’s a little complex to get into the pose.
In case your kid has a hard time doing this pose, you can get them to raise their lower back just a little bit and use the help of a bolster, pillow or yoga block. Also, you can exclude the second part with finger interlocking and further pushing upward.
20. WHEEL POSE
Firstly, you need to get into bridge pose and practice that a couple of times. Then reach over your head and push yourself up. If someone struggles to do it, a parent or a trained teacher can help them into the pose, by holding their waist. The pose might be a challenge to some, but after some practice, it can be a great trick to learn.
21. DANCER’S POSE
Stand straight and begin in mountain pose. Bend your foot and catch it with your hand. You need to catch it with your hand from the same side as your raised leg. Now lift your feet with the help of your hands and try to do the pose. This elegant pose can turn yoga into a dance class in no time. It helps you to stretch the core and leg muscles and it also helps to practice balance.
22. The Tree Pose or Vrksasana
This is another fun pose for kids. It can be a little bit challenging to do in its entirety, but there are variations you can do. Kids certainly love trying out this pose and they are very happy when they achieve it.
This is how to do the Tree pose:
- Start the pose by standing upright, in the Mountain pose.
- Focus on one spot in the room or one object and try not to look away. This will increase your ability to stay stable.
- Shift your body weight on one of your feet and bring the other one on the ankle, shin, or thigh on the stable one.
- Bring your arms up or in front of your chest.
- Deeply inhale and exhale a couple of times, then release.
- Repeat with the other hand.
Doing this pose is very productive – strengthens the whole body and promotes balance and upright posture. It gives a sense of strength (physical and mental), trains concentration, and exercises body muscles. Since it’s a little bit challenging, it’s also very positive for improving kids’ self-esteem once they can hold the pose.
23. WIDE-LEGGED FORWARD FOLD
Firstly, stand straight with a wide stance. Then bend slowly over with a straight spine. You can try to touch the ground or anywhere on your leg. By holding the pose, you can stretch out your leg and back muscles.
24. TRIANGLE POSE
Stand tall in mountain pose then take a leap backward. Stand with your feet wider than your hips. Raise your hand, stretch it out on the side and then try to reach the floor. This pose will energize you and help you to stretch out your muscles.
25. The Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana
The Cobra pose is another very productive, but also interesting pose for your kid to do. Here’s how to do it:
- Lay on your belly, with the tips of your feet on the yoga mat.
- Place your palms flat on the ground beneath your shoulders.
- Pull your shoulders towards the spine to prepare for pushing.
- Using the hand muscles, and some back strength, lift your chest. Push with your hands to help the raising.
- Hold for a few breaths and release.
Doing this pose increases positivity, and awareness, and lowers anxiety and stress. It also works the muscles in the upper body, increasing spine flexibility and correcting posture in the process. It also increases blood flow.
Please note, that kids might be prone to pushing all the way up, as much as they can. Even though they are more flexible, make sure that you tell your kid to take it slow and push more only when they feel ready to do so.
26. LION POSE
There is nothing like imitating an animal! This pose is one of the favorite poses of children. It helps them connect to their inner strength. Sit on your legs and put your hands on your knees. Now press your tongue down and roar!
27. CRESCENT MOON POSE
Stand up straight and lift your hands up. Stretch from one side to another. This pose is great to improve your core strength.
28. DOLPHIN POSE
This pose is very similar to downward dog. When you get into that pose, try to slowly press your forearms down. This is a powerful pose that requires a lot of strength, so be careful with it!
29. PIGEON POSE
You need to go into a downward-facing dog pose. Lift one leg and lung it forward. Bend your knee and put it gently on the mat. Sit up straight and look forward. Focus on your hips and keep them facing forward. This pose will help you stretch your hips.
30. PUPPY POSE
Come to your hands and knees and walk your hands slowly forward. Lower your forehead onto the ground and hold the pose. This allows you to stretch your back and front body.
31. CHAIR POSE
Standing in a mountain pose with your feet together, you should slowly start bending your knees. Imagine sitting on an invisible chair.
32. Child’s Pose or Balasana
This pose might even come naturally to your kid, without you showing it. Here’s how to instruct it, in case you need to:
- Bend on your knees and then place your hands in front of you, just like a dog would do.
- Move your hips back, until they rest on your foot heels.
- You can leave the hands where they were, now stretched in front of you. Or, if you prefer, you could curl them on the sides of your body.
Since the child’s pose gives a sense of protection and security, it’s a very good pose to promote relaxation, grounding, calmness, security, and confidence in a child. But, this pose will also reduce stress, and increase flexibility and strength in the lower part of the body and the legs.
33. HAPPY BABY POSE
This pose will surely make anyone giggle. The happy baby pose is a great pose to unwind and relax. Babies instinctively know what is good for their bodies, so by following their playful movements we can help ourselves too. You should lie on your back and lift up your feet. Grab your inner toes and rock side to side.
34. RESTING POSE
There is nothing easier than this pose, but this one might be the most important one. At the end of every practice lay down on your back with arms and legs spread. Breathe normally with eyes shut. Focus on the present and try to clear your mind.
Tips for Kid’s Yoga Practice
If you want to start yoga practice with your kid, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Start slow and explain poses in a simple way – you can show them or both read and show them.
- When your kid can’t do a pose, don’t push. Start step by step and turn and twist your kid’s body parts to show them what and how they should do it.
- Adapt poses in a way that suits you and your kid.
- Making the poses perfectly good should not be the main goal. Make practice fun, interesting and engaging.
- Engage, motivate and inspire the kids. Know which poses they prefer and always do them in the yoga routine.
- Always tell them when they’ve done a good job. If they are not successful or can’t do a pose, tell them that they try their best and that is very important. Reassure them that with time and practice, they will be able to get there.
- You can verbally underline some benefits of the yoga poses for kids. For example, as a kid gets into the pose, you could say “Do you feel how this pose makes you feel tall, strong, and stable?”
- Wear comfortable clothes that are suitable for yoga practice and correct yoga posture.
- Practice together with your kid, or make it a family activity. That way, yoga practice becomes a set of socializing, bonding, playing, and exercising.
Kid’s yoga is a yoga exercise with all the characteristics of regular yoga. Main yoga poses for kids are the fundamental ones, adapted to the kid’s level of flexibility and abilities. For kids, yoga is fun, interesting, challenging, and has numerous benefits.
This article explained 12 yoga poses for kids and gave you some helpful tips if you want to make yoga a bonding, exercising, and socializing home activity.
Reach out in our comment section below, if there is anything you want to add or share about your experience with yoga poses for kids. I would love to hear it!