The official start of summer is with the arrival of the summer solstice on June 21st. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this marks the longest day of the year. This is the moment when the Sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, which is its highest point. For those who live in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the shortest day of the year and the arrival of winter. The solstice happens at the same moment for everyone, everywhere on Earth.
What makes this day even more special is that June 21st is also International Yoga Day which is recognized around the world since its inception in 2015.
What better way then to recognize both of these celebrations than with some family-friendly outdoor yoga?! Check out some of our favorite yoga poses and games!
Do you love yoga and kids? Keep the fun of International Yoga Day going all year long! Introduce the joy and fun of yoga to children while instilling the benefits they will have for life. Enrollment is now open for our Kids Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher Training! Find out more here.
Kids love partner yoga poses! Partner yoga poses help teach children the importance of teamwork and working together plus they are fun to do. They build trust and community with one another within the group. These partner poses can be done at home, school, camp, yoga class or anywhere you have kids ready to try something new and have fun.
I incorporate partner or group poses in every kids yoga class. It is a great team-building activity and gives everyone a common goal to work toward. I love the confidence built when mastered.
I kept this in mind when I created the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards, I purposely incorporated partner poses for some of the yoga challenge poses. The partner poses are built on progression and gives the children a goal to work toward.
How to Teach Partner Yoga Poses to Kids
Have kids partner up with those of similar size. All partner poses can be modified, but it is a good idea to start this way.
Have the partners get to know one another before practicing the poses. Take a moment for them to introduce themselves to one another and pose a few questions that they need to answer as something they are good at or a favorite game to play. I sometimes have the pair come up with a team name together. That builds community and teamwork for sure!
Have one pair of partners demonstrate the Partner Pose before everyone tries it. As the partner pair is demonstrating, this is a good time to talk about proper form and any safety concerns. Although yoga partner poses are safe and fun, it is still a good idea to remind kids to take it slow. They will naturally be excited to get right into the pose so this will help them remember.
After the partners have practiced the featured yoga pose for 1-2 minutes, have each group demonstrate their pose. Kids love to show off the poses with their partners.
Kids Yoga Partner Class Lesson Plan
First, have the students get into pairs. It is helpful to have a partner of similar size, but not necessary. Modifications can be made for any of the partner poses.
Have the partner pair get to know one another (if they don’t already) and think up a Team Name. They love doing this. Refer to their team name throughout class. They LOVE this and it will absolutely motivate them.
Explain to the students that they will be working through a series of partner poses. Talk about how being safe is the number one priority and how they need to look out for their teammate.
l used the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards for this kids yoga class because these yoga cards include leveled partner poses. It is important to begin with the easier “one-starred” levels and work your way up to level 5. 5.
5. I began with See Saw Partner Pose and showed the students an example pose card. This Partner Pose is perfect to begin with because it warms up your legs and allows the children to work together. I invited a pair to come and demonstrate it to the group. I had them model how you begin slowly in a see-saw fashion. Legs can be made into a diamond shape or bent if you have some children that are taller or different heights.
6. I allowed a few moments for the children to practice this first partner pose before moving on to the next pose with the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards. Each time, have a pair model the partner pose as you explain to the students about how to safely get in and out of it. You could also use the Kids Yoga Challenge App for pose visuals, but keep in mind that the poses are randomized for fun with the app.
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
Spring has finally arrived! It was a perfect day to celebrate with Kids Yoga in the Park with Go Go Yoga for Kids and Des Moines Parent. Over 50 kids, parents, and caregivers joined in the outdoor yoga fun.
First, we warmed up our bodies with Sunrise and Sunset Salutations followed by some Sunflower exercises. Next, we selected surprise poses from the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards. We practiced and perfected our yoga poses by showing how strong we were with our Warrior 2 jumps, rowing in our Boat Pose, Down Dog kick ups, and the Tree Pose balance challenge.
We practiced our poses with a fun Musical Mats game and completed the class with a very peaceful and relaxing Stillness and Savasana while listening to the sounds of nature all around.
Check out our Kids Yoga in the Park preview below. It was a windy (but sunny!) day. The audio isn’t perfect and we were able to get just a little glimpse of this fun class with video, but will give an idea of the fun we had!
Want to learn more about How to Plan a Kids Yoga Event and Class Like a Pro? See our best tips and article here. No it does not include fully charging your video camera 😉 These tips are very hands-on and practical.
The fall season means getting back into a schedule and creating new routines for you and your family. No matter where you are in your day, these mindfulness tips will help parents and kids feel calmer and better able to handle whatever comes your way.
Begin the Day with Calm
Starting a brand new day at a frenzied pace is not an ideal way for anyone, adults or children, to begin the morning. Instead, spend a few moments doing some Sun Salutations and mindful breathing.
Begin by standing tall with your arms at your side. On your inhale, reach your arms up to the sky. On the exhale, relax and bring your arms back down to your sides. This simple movement along with deep, cleansing breaths gently awakens your body and calms your mind. Notice how you feel calmer and more prepared to embrace the day.
Take a Mindful Break
By the end of a school or work day, your mind can reach information overload. Instead of rushing immediately into the next thing you have to do, recognize this transition time between your day’s activities and home by taking a mindful break. This will help you set a more mindful tone before you begin your after-school activities, dinner preparations or other endeavors.
We are honored to be featured in Yoga Iowa’s latest issue. Get Your Yoga and Mindfulness Tips for the Whole Family. Continue reading the full article here.