Kids yoga is a non-competitive activity that allows them to have fun and exist outside of the daily stresses of life. It helps children learn about themselves by being present and mindful in their bodies. It’s important to change the lessons based on how best to teach yoga to different ages of kids.
When I teach kids yoga, the emphasis is on creativity and having fun as they pretend to be a cat, tree, superhero, or wherever the poses and their imaginations lead them. While learning the yoga basics they are also discovering how the poses make them feel.
Through yoga, children will experience body awareness, empowerment, and ways to slow down and be in the moment, all in a safe and fun environment. Each new year and stage of development brings with it a unique excitement and challenge.
The following general guidelines, found from my interview with Catharine Hannay of Mindful Teachers, will help you decide what types of yoga games and activities are most appropriate for your students or your own children.
What is happening outside right now? The grass is getting green. Trees and flowers are growing and sprouting their leaves. Baby birds are hatching and animals are coming out of hibernation. There are many plants and animals that are changing by the day at this time of year! It is very, very exciting with all of the things that are happening with our Earth during Spring.
Today we are going to combine all those exciting things that are happening with our Earth, Earth Day and the season of Spring! We are going to combine them into a fun kids yoga sequence.
Lesson Plan Tips:
This Spring Yoga Sequence can be done with kids of any age. You can also practice this yoga sequence by yourself. It just feels good in your body for sure and a fun way to celebrate Earth.
You do not need any materials or resources just a place to move your body! I will be using our Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards that have yoga pose visuals for the poses we will be practicing. It is always good to have visuals when practicing yoga with kids.
First, we need to warm up our bodies. One of my favorite ways to do this is through Sun Salutations with a Sunrise and Sunset. We are going to move into Mountain Pose.
Stand up, nice and tall and look between your hands and feel the strength in your arms and legs This will be our Sunrise. Go ahead, breathe in and dive forward into the Sunset. It’s almost like you’re diving into your swimming pool like it’s almost Summertime.
2. Now breathe in and bring your arms up high and relax your shoulders. Breathe out as you dive forward over your legs. Do this a few times warm up your entire body.
Seed to Flower Yoga Sequence
For our first yoga sequence, we are going to pretend to be a seed in the ground.
Go into Chid’s Pose and make a small seed shape with your body.
Now, very slowly I want you to go ahead and grow into something that you can find outside. It could be a flower, could be a tree, or a plant.
Feel the warm sun on your back as you slowly starting to grow and sprout. Are you a flower? A tree? A plant?
Caterpillar to Butterfly Spring Yoga Sequence
Now we are going to go through a huge metamorphosis. Do you know what animal does that? It is a caterpillar turning into a butterfly! So let’s go into Caterpillar Pose.
Go on your bellies and into cobra position. Put your head down so you’re spine is straight.
Now you’re just going to raise up like you’re a caterpillar munching the leaves. We know that the caterpillar needs to eat a lot because pretty soon he’s going to make a cocoon.
Step back into Plank Pose because this is going to be our strong cocoon that is hanging on the branch. Caterpillar, cocoon and then you will become a Butterfly!
Jump up through your legs and come into Butterfly Pose. Let’s see our butterflies flap your wings. Oh butterflies can you fly, faster and faster!
Tadpole to Frog: Spring Yoga Sequence
Our last Spring Yoga Sequence Metamorphosis is Tadpole to Frog Pose. A frog starts his life in egg.
Go ahead and find Child’s Pose. This is a very good restorative pose that you can come into at any time. Now we are tadpoles in our eggs.
Let’s go ahead and come forward into a swimming position on your bellies with your arms outstretched. This is just like tadpole swimming in the water. This is good for working your lower back.
Then the tadpole finally becomes the frog. Move into Malansa Pose. Let’s do our best Frog hops!
These are some fun yoga sequences that you can do with kids and as a family! Ready for more Kids Yoga Game & Activities?
Welcome to our Spring Easter Family Yoga Class. I know that Easter may be a little different for you this year, but we still wanted to bring some Easter fun to you. We are going to learn and practice some fun Spring yoga for kids poses and games that can be done at any time.
1. What words or things do you know about Spring? What happens outside and with the animals? Discuss with the children. This helps activate their prior knowledge and sets the tone and theme of the class.
2. Move into Child’s Pose. Pretend to be a little seed in the ground. Feel the warm sun on your back and slowly begin to grow. What are you going to grow into? A flower? A tree? Something in your garden?
4. Now let’s warm up the whole body with some Egg Rolls. It is important for your body and mind to participate in some Active Movement every day. This gets your heart pumping and happy!
5. Now it is time learn and practice our Spring Easter Yoga Poses! Draw out a plastic egg and inside will have a pose for us to practice! Find a full list of yoga poses here. We have practiced Flower Pose, Butterfly Pose and Tree Pose.
6. Now we have worked warmed up our body, practiced Bunny Breath and Yoga Poses, it is time to work on some balance! Balance is very important in yoga because as you get older, you lose your sense of balance. The good news is that it can be maintained by practicing some yoga poses. We are going to use our plastic eggs for balance! You can use whatever you have at home.
Easter Egg Balance: Remember this is not a race! Your goal is to go slowly and mindfully and to not let your Easter Egg fall!
First, let’s practice balancing the egg on your outstretched hand. Remember to switch hands when you get across the room.
Now let’s practice on your shoulder, under your chin, or top of your head! Where else can you think to balance your egg?
7. Finally, we are going to end our yoga class with a little mindfulness practice! Mindfulness is paying attention on mindfulness on purpose. Let’s shake these Easter Eggs one by one, listen carefully, and see if you can guess what is inside! This is a good practice of slowing down and being mindful.
“Yoga makes you feel good inside and out and it is also fun! It is form of active movement and exercise that really works with kids.” Sara J. Weis of Go Go Yoga for Kids
What are the best practices in teaching yoga to children? How has teaching yoga to children changed over the years? These are just a few questions and more that are answered. I was honored to be interviewed by Catharine Hannay of Mindful Teachers.
In this Mindful Teachers Q+A, Sara discusses what she’s learned from the coronavirus crisis, as well as from her 20+ years teaching kids.
We are in time of such uncertainty and change. It is important for kids and parents to recognize their feelings and understand that it is ok to not always be ok. Take a moment and recognize those undesirable feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, and depression and then move on.
Here are some easy ways to do that with your family:
Establish and build a new routines and schedules as quickly as possible. Our schedules are so now different now and even though the days feel the same, they are not. This can cause additional anxiety.
Have children go to bed and wake up at the same time.
Create established learning/school time; and
Build in time for physical activity. Include simple mindfulness times, for example through a mindfulness game.
My family does this every night at dinner. We share what we are thankful for and why. This is simple, but effective, and takes the focus off our ourselves and our uncertainties.
Find out more here about my thoughts on some controversy of using the word Namaste and practicing yoga in schools as well as easy to make adaptations for children with mental and physical disabilities.
Welcome to a fun family yoga class! We will move into some yoga poses that will help you feel calm, comfortable and strong. Then we will move into some partner yoga poses, a Plank Challenge, and then a relaxing stillness and savasana which is so good for your body.
You can find all the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Card visuals that we use for this family yoga practice here. You do not need to have a yoga mat to this. The carpet or hardwood floor is fine or you can use a beach or bath towel.
1. First, begin in Child’s Pose. Bring your forehead to the ground. This is a very centering and grounding pose. Let’s take a few deep centering breathes in and out of your nose. We have had some crazy weeks, our schedules have changed, we miss our schools, our teachers, our friends, but it is going to be ok. We will have a strong body and mind and we will get through this.
2. Move into Tabletop position and let’s move through Cat Pose and Cow Pose. You may be on a screen a bit more than normal and it is important to keep our spines fluid and flexible.
3. Go ahead and step forward into Ragdoll Pose. Sway side to side. Let your arms and head hang. This is a great release for your lower back and a very centering pose.
4. Now move into Gorilla Pose. This is a fun pose! Bend your knees as much as you want to. Place your hands under your feet. Maybe you can just reach a few fingers under there. That is ok! Let your head hang. Can you make some gorilla noises?
5. Now reach overhead to mountain pose. Feel strong and tall. Pull your shoulders back. Look up above your hands. You are strong. LET YOUR HEART SHINE. Go ahead and close your eyes. It feels good and strong.
6. Now take a big inhale and on the exhale dive forward over your feet. This is almost like you are diving into a large swimming pool. We can’t wait to do that this summer!
7. Next step back into Down Dog Pose. Would you like to be taller? This pose lengthens and strengthens your leg muscles. Walk out your dog. Think about taking your dog for a walk after he has been cooped up all winter!
Now let’s put it all together! Look forward and hop or step to the top of your yoga mat.
Breathe in and stand tall into Mountain Pose. Exhale dive forward and step back into Downdog. Continue this simple Sun A matching your breath to your movement.
Now that your body is warmed up let’s move into our Plank Challenge! Grab your mom, dad, brother, sister…anyone can do this Plank Challenge with you!
In the Plank Challenge, your arms and legs working. Pull your belly button to your spine. Feel yourself getting very very strong. Squeeze everything together. That will make you feel lighter.
First, hold Plank Pose for 15 seconds. Then try 30 seconds (Be sure to stretch out into Child’s Pose in between) Lastly hold Plank Pose for 45 seconds or 1 minute!
Bonus Family Yoga Game: Freeze Dance Yoga!
Now it is time to get your heart pumping and strong with Freeze Dance Yoga. I love playing games in my kids yoga classes and with my family. This is a perfect game to get the wiggles out and practice the yoga poses that you just learned. It is also completely fine to make up some of your own yoga poses in this game.
How to Play Freeze Dance Yoga:
Crank up the music really loud and Dance. When the music stops. Freeze in a yoga pose! Hold that pose until the music starts again. There are lots of fun variations to this game. Find out this and over 150 other favorite Yoga Games for Children in our book Go Go Yoga for Kids: Yoga Games & Activities for Children.
Feel free to dim the lights or turn them off. Bring your legs straight out in front. Shake them like spaghetti. Then fold like a sandwich over your legs. As you are ready be like a melting icicle as you slowly melt into the ground. Bring your knees to your chest and give them a hug! Your body deserves this hug. It has worked hard for you today!
Find a comfortable position to lay in. This could be on your back, side, stomach, curled up into a ball. It doesn’t matter. Just know that you are safe and loved. Now relax. You earned this. You deserve this! It is so important to take time for you each day.
When you are ready to move on with your day go ahead and roll over to your right side and use your arm as a pillow. Then slowly move up into a seated position and we are going to end our time together with some full cleansing breaths. Go ahead and breathe in and raise your arms above your head. Bring your hands to heart center as you exhale. Continue with this a few more times. Matching your breath and movement with inhales and exhales. Now place your hands at heart center, bow your head, and give thanks for our time together. Namaste