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.
-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
-Relieves headaches and insomnia
-Calms the brain and reduces stress
-Stretches back and hamstrings
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)
-Elongates hip flexors and groins
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.
-Calms the brain, relieves stress
-Energizes the body
-Strengthens the arms and legs
-Elongates the shoulders, hamstrings, arches of the feet and hand
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
-Strengthens the shoulder girdle, arms and wrists
-Builds arches of hands to aid in grasp patterns
Seal or Superman
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.
-Strengthens the back extensor muscles, gluteus muscles, arms and legs
- Stretches the shoulders, chest, belly and thighs
- Aids digestion
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.
-Strengthens abdominals and quads
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.
-Stretches the back, hips, thighs and ankles
-Relieves back pain
-Reduces stress and fatigue
-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
-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