Kids are always in motion, so yoga is the perfect way to get their bodies moving and channel their energy in a positive way.
Buddha Belly Kids Yoga co-founder Erin Bracco says the benefits of yoga for kids are endless.
“When children develop a yoga practice, their lives begin to transform in subtle yet significant ways,” Bracco says. “Yoga aides in managing stress, postures can help growing bodies build immunity to illness, helps regulate emotions, and breathing techniques create mindfulness and self-awareness. Plus yoga builds self-confidence and self-esteem, while cultivating creativity and self-expression.”
And yoga can be a whole family experience. “Touch is magic and such an integral part of family bonding,” says Meg Reckley, Buddha Belly Kids Yoga co-founder. “Partner yoga is a great way for families to do yoga together. It doesn’t have to be super fancy acrobatic poses. Just find ways in which you can connect your bodies in the poses.” Here are eight yoga poses to practice that Buddha Belly Kids Yoga recommends as a great place to start:
This is a standing balancing pose that strengthens all the parts of the leg, opens the hips and aligns the spine. Stand on one leg and twist open your right leg so that you’ve created a kickstand with your foot. Either choose to balance here or clasp your right ankle and slowly draw your right foot up to your inner thigh. With your toes pointing down, press your right foot against your thigh as your thigh pushes against your foot. Reach your arms up to the sky as if you are growing branches. Be sure to balance in tree pose on the other foot.
Make it fun: What type of tree can you be? Make your branches into different postures to be different types of trees. Have someone be a powerful wind to see if your tree falls down!
Warrior 3 pose
This is a standing balance pose that strengthens and lengthens the back, while stabilizing the ankles and knees. Stand tall and slowly lean your upper body forward with your arms straight in front. Lift one leg high enough to become parallel to the floor. Be sure to switch your standing foot.
Make it fun: Make airplane sounds and imagine what you see as you are flying. You can then do poses to match whatever you saw on your airplane adventure.
This is a squatting pose that strengthens the ankles, stretches the knees and hips, and lengthens the spine. Squat down, bending your knees with your hands in between your feet. Clap your hands together while pressing your knees apart.
Make it fun: Ribbit like a frog, catch flies with your tongue or jump up and down on your lily pad.
This is a reclining pose that opens the hips, stretches the inner thighs and massages the low back. Lie on your back and bend your knees into your belly. Grab for the outsides of your feet or wherever is accessible on your legs. Open up your knees and rock and roll on your mat.
Make it fun: Pretend like you are a pig in mud. Or rock and roll until you blast off up into the air like a rocket ship.
This is a seated balancing pose that builds core strength. Partners sit facing each other, bringing feet to touch the other’s. Holding hands, make sure your legs are in between your arms. Bend your knees slightly. One foot at a time, slowly push the other’s foot to lift one leg off the floor followed by the other one.
Make it fun: Sing ™Row, Row, Row Your Boat∫ or try to rock your boat from side to side.
Double downward facing dog
This is a gentle inversion that calms the nervous system and stretches the whole body. One partner comes into downward dog and the other partner places their palms on the floor about a foot in front of the dog’s hands. Then, place their feet on the dog’s hips. Adjust yourself so that both partners feel safe.
Make it fun: Have your downward dog be a tunnel through which other family members can crawl.
Starfish on a rock
This is a resting pose that makes for the perfect way to end your day and then get into bed. One partner is a smooth rock that starts in Child’s pose. The other partner starts by sitting on the rock’s bottom and slowly leans back until the whole body is resting on the rock. The starfish keeps straight legs and feet on the floor for stability. You may have to wiggle around a bit to find the most comfortable spot. Both partners then stretch their arms over their heads to grab for each other’s hands.
Make it fun: As the rock, take big deep breaths so that the starfish moves up and down slowly for an even better back massage.