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Yoga for Kids

By Yi Chen, DPT

“Yoga is the fountain of youth.  You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” - Bob Harper

 

Yoga is popular for adults who are looking for relaxation, improving flexibility, improving breathing and meditation.  Many people do not know that yoga can help children address stress-reduction, internal awareness, self-regulation and social and emotional intelligence as well. Research revealed that children show improvement in executive functioning when mindful movement was completed.

Physiological Benefits of Yoga

-Balances autonomic nervous system

-Balances endocrine system

-Improves sleep patterns

-Decrease pulse rate

-Strengthens the immune system

These are some examples of yoga poses you can practice with your children at home to improve their strength and balance.

Waterfall

 

-Inhale, reaching your hands to the ceiling, stretching your body long

-Exhale, folding your body forward, reaching your body forward, reaching your hands toward the floor

 

BENEFITS

-Relieves headaches and insomnia

-Calms the brain and reduces stress

-Improves digestion

-Stretches back and hamstrings

 

Warrior II

Keep your feet apart, turn your left foot in and your right foot forward, raise your arms, turn your head to the right and bend your right knee (this may be done in both directions)

BENEFITS

-Elongates hip flexors and groins

-Increases stamina

-Relieves backaches

 

Downward Dog

 

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Begin on your hands and knees and take a big breath in. Exhale and push your hands and your feet into the floor. Lift your bottom up to the sky. Look at your feet and try to keep your legs straight. Your heels reach toward the floor.

BENEFITS

-Calms the brain, relieves stress

-Energizes the body

-Strengthens the arms and legs

-Elongates the shoulders, hamstrings, arches of the feet and hand

 

Plank

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Begin in down dog. Look forward and slowly begin to straighten your body to make it into one straight line. Curl your toes under, lift with your belly and straighten your legs

 

BENEFITS

-Strengthens the shoulder girdle, arms and wrists

-Builds arches of hands to aid in grasp patterns

-Tones abdominals

 

Seal or Superman

 

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Lay on your stomach with your forehead on the ground. Stretch your arms and legs away from each other. Inhale and lift your upper body and lower body off the floor first. Exhale and relax into the floor.

 

BENEFITS

-Strengthens the back extensor muscles, gluteus muscles, arms and legs

- Stretches the shoulders, chest, belly and thighs

-Improves posture

- Aids digestion

 

Boat pose

 

 

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Sit down with knees close to your chest, feet on the floor and back tall and straight. Hold behind your knees and lift your feet to bring shins parallel to the ground. Release your hands and stretch arms straightforward.  Lean back slightly as you stretch your legs until they are straight.

 

BENEFITS

-Strengthens abdominals and quads

 

Child’s pose

 

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Kneel on the floor with your legs together. Rest your forehead on the floor. Your arms can remain by your sides or you may stretch your arms in front of you along the mat.

 

BENEFITS

-Stretches the back, hips, thighs and ankles

-Relieves back pain

-Reduces stress and fatigue

 

 

 

Balance pose

Tree Pose

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-Stand in mountain pose, palms to chest; tuck one foot inside the opposite leg. Stretch your arms out like branches, bring your hands together above your head

 

 

Airplane Pose

-Stand with feet parallel and under hips, breathe, focus and stretch on leg back. Tip forward until you are parallel with the floor. Spread your arms out like wings

Connor McCarthy