We say this to ourselves several times in a day that it’s hard to be Parents in today’s times. But can we ignore the fact that it’s equally difficult being a Kid today. Children deal with many distractions, temptations and overstimulation. They go through several pressures every moment, every day- from school work to extra-curricular activities, from peer pressure to social media pressure! So here I am listing 7 simple Yoga Poses for Kids & their benefits to help you make things easier.
While as Parents we try to engage and entertain them with various activities, in reality we are just putting those pressures and tensions on the back-burner. How about giving our kids an opportunity to understand their emotional, mental and physical strength at the same time? How about letting them experience play and focus without worrying about being wrong?
Importance and benefits of yoga have been recognised globally now, but you wouldn’t possibly know that Yoga helps kids not only remain fit but also grow up as being more creative & disciplined!
Benefits of Yoga for Kids
- Helps develop awareness of their body and learn how to use their bodies in a healthy way
- Helps manage stress through breathing, awareness, meditation and healthy movement
- Promotes concentration and self-discipline. For example, breathing exercises teach children to deepen and slow down their breath and be calm and inwardly focused.
- Increases flexibility, strength, agility and coordination in children.
- Strengthens communication skills in children and fosters confidence & positive self image.
- Yoga can also help to develop good listening skills as well as compassion for others. They learn to co-ordinate and co-operate better with everyone.
- It boosts children’s creativity and imagination to its peak and teaches self-expression.
And not to forget, it’s the best alternative to tune into from constant attachment to electronic devices.
Click here to make Yoga fun for kids.
Yoga (meaning union or yoke) is the practice of accessing and integrating all aspects of our true nature — body, mind, and spirit — in the pursuit of inner harmony. Now, if you are thinking that it’s a bit too heavy for a 4 or 5 year old child to understand, pause and read on!
Also read “Top 7 Storybooks for 2-year olds”
Yoga is the most fuss-free activity that you can imbibe in kids- no props, no equipments, no specific venue or location- children can indulge in kid-friendly yoga poses anywhere, anytime!
7 Simple Yoga Poses for Kids
Some of the asanas which can be practiced easily at home are given below. Most of them are named after the animals and the kids can imagine themselves like them and can exercise while having fun.
Before practicing these poses make sure that children wear loose clothes to make them feel comfortable.
1.Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
The Sukhasana or the Meditative Pose is a great stress buster. It gives the child peace of mind and completely relaxes the body.
Ask your child to sit comfortably cross-legged and rest the hands on knees.
- Calms the brain
- Strengthens the back
- Stretches the knees and ankles
2. The Cat- Cow Pose (Bidalasana)
If your child is a fan of animals, they’re sure to love this pose. The Cat Cow Pose stretches and strengthens the back and core, and can help improve posture.
Come to an all-fours position with knees hip-width distance apart and fingers spread out. Inhale for cow, lifting your gaze and dipping the belly. Exhale for cat, tuck your chin to your chest and allow the back to arch. Repeat a few times with correct breathing and maybe add in some playful moos and meows for fun.
- Stretches the back torso and neck
- Provides a gentle massage to the spine and belly organs
- Releases tension and stress from the joints and muscles. Hence it is a good relaxation pose.
3. The Mountain Pose(Tadasana)
It is so simple yet so powerful!
Ask your kid to stand on the ground and place their feet firmly and balance. Let your kid stand straight and maintain an erect posture. At the same time, your kid has to also try and relax their shoulders, back and body overall. Make sure that your kid also balances the body weight equally on both the feet.
- Helps your kid to maintain good posture and experience peace overall.
- Encourages the child to stand taller
- Strengthens their body overall.
4. The Happy Baby Pose(Ananda Balasana)
This is such a lovely asana and can be done while playing with your baby.
Let the child lie down on the floor on their back and hug their knees into the chest with the chin tucked in. Once they bring in their knees near their belly, ask them to hold the outside of their feet with both hands. Now ask your kid to open up their knees in such a wide that it gets as wide as they can do comfortably. The knees have to ideally be as wide as their torso. Now your kid has to press the feet into the hands. Make sure that while your kid is doing this particular pose, they keep the tailbone touching on the ground and do not move high.
- Gently stretches the inner groins and the back spine
- Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue
- Makes their spines stronger and more flexible. The pose will also help your kid to keep the spine aligned the way it should be and will also help to open up the hip area and make it more flexible.
- All of this will help to make your kid’s overall body more flexible.
5. The Rag Doll Pose(Uttanasana)
The rag doll pose will concentrate mostly on your kid’s hamstring. Most kids have weak hamstrings that are mostly too tight and are not that flexible. The more your kid will practice the rag doll pose the more they will be able to make their hamstring flexible.
For the rag doll pose, ask your kid to stand straight on the ground and balance the body weight properly on both the feet. Once your kid is comfortable, ask them to slowly bend forward. While doing so, your kid can also bend their knees. Bring the head downwards towards the knees. Once your kid is comfortable, ask them to hold their feet with both their hands and maintain balance.
- Helps prevent getting injured during play by building flexibility
- It is fabulous for reversing the blood flow which helps re-oxygenate the body.
6. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
This works great for building upper body strength in kids. And is the simplest posture you can invite your child to practice.
Let the child lie on their tummy with palms placed flat next to the shoulders. Then press into hands, lift head and shoulders off ground, and hiss like a snake.
- Strengthens the spine, shoulders, and arms.
- Firms the buttocks.
- Increases flexibility.
7. Lion Pose (Simhasana)
Well, we all know the amount of energy kids have. The Lion Pose works great for channelising this energy the right way. This Asana is great for calming the mind, relieving fatigue and stress, removing unnecessary heat. It’s also a lot of fun with kids!
For this, let the child kneel down and sit back on heels. Place open hands & palms on knees. Take a deep breath while inhaling through the nose. Then let the child widen their eyes, open the mouth with tongue stretched out and ‘ROAR’!
- Lion Pose is useful to teach kids to identify and manage their emotions.
- By linking sound and movement through this yogic practice, it creates the teaching of healthy anger outlets and helps to limit emotional outbursts.
As a Parent, it is imperative to lead by example. Before introducing your child to Yoga, show several pictures or videos to arouse your child’s interest and curiosity. Show your child the pose and do it with them. Make it a fun session with them, start with just few minutes everyday, get colorful yoga mats, you can even match your yoga outfits…anything to make it interesting for them. Let your child do as much as he can, do not push it too much.
This Post has originally been written for Hello Parent. Click here to access the original article.