“Who You Are Begins With What You Do”

This saying hangs on a classroom wall in a high school down the street. It’s surrounded by other motivational posters about believing, achieving, and dreaming. Among all this positivity and the lingering teenage angst, this simple phrase stands out from the crowd. The bright colors or large letters might appeal to our senses, but the words speak to our hearts. As parents, we naturally want our children to be successful and caring people.

This phrase places our attention on the activities our children are doing today, because these events, habits, and experiences are molding our children into who they will eventually become. Suddenly, those seven little words have us evaluating our parenting, child’s activities, and responses. Which causes us to question if we are building our kids up with the best activities to create good people who we can be proud to call our own.

Thankfully, we can provide an excellent foundation for personal and physical growth by teaching our children Yoga. While most of us associate Yoga with adults, children are incredibly adept at picking up the breathing techniques and poses. This form of exercise is great for kids, because it provides a safe environment for kids to explore and challenge their physical abilities. Our sons and daughters can do Yoga, often outshining adults who have practiced for years.

The Benefits of Yoga for Kids

That is part of the beauty of Yoga, because practitioners of any physical ability can take part in the process without pricey gym memberships or lessons. These movements come naturally to our agile and fast learning kids. We just need to make it a priority to instill the proper instruction and guidance to master the art of Yoga.

This allows our sons and daughters to redirect their energy focus which is a life skill needed to overcome the adversity they will encounter at some point in their young lives. As they learn Yoga, they are balancing, developing flexibility, and building strength while moving from pose to pose. Children are also developing gross motors skills, relaxation methods, and learning the value of caring for one’s self.

Beginner Yoga Poses for Children

Introducing children to Yoga when they are young doesn’t have to be painful and the process helps them create healthy habits that can follow them into adulthood. You can practice these moves in the privacy of your own home or use an online child focused class to have fun with Yoga. Just remember to focus on breathing and let everyone take it at their own pace.

Listed below are seven great beginner Yoga poses for kids:

The Sunrise and Sunset Pose. Standing up tall, lift your arms high above your head. Raise and stretch your backbone up as if reaching for the sky. Slowly exhale, bending down at your middle move as if you were touching your toes. Inhale and slowly begin opening your arms wide as you stand up like you were reaching for the clouds. Repeat. Make a world connection for children by comparing the movements to the rising and setting sun.

The Mountain Pose. Standing tall, push your heels down while elongating your spine. Once straight, roll back the shoulders and bring your palms together in front of your chest as if you were praying. Breathe deeply.

The Cat/Cow Pose. Situate yourself so you are down on all fours (hands and knees), similar to a cat or cow. To make the cat position, gently arch your back up high while looking at your stomach on exhale. Now when you inhale, lower your stomach down towards the earth to resemble a cow. Exhale and begin again with the cat pose. Repeat.

The Bridge Pose. Lay down on your back to make a “bridge” with your torso and arms. Press your feet down onto the floor while thrusting your hips into the air and hold. Slowly come down as you exhale.

The Cobra Pose. Laying on your stomach take time to stretch out your legs and place the tops of your feet down onto the floor to impersonate a snake. Now, place your hands squarely under your shoulders and lift your upper body. Lean your head back and feel your chest open. Hold this pose for at least 5 slow breaths.

The Downward Facing Dog. Create a V shape by planting your hands down on the floor and gradually lift your hips high towards the sky. As kids master this pose, have them straighten their legs and stand flat footed to focus on different muscles.

The Resting Pose. Lay back down onto your back and breathe deeply. Now, slowly exhale and inhale. Imagine a warm light is starting at your feet, spreading slowly up. When you are covered in light, sit up slowly.