This blog-post has been guest-written by Victoria Tso of @inner_child_yoga_school
Have you ever tried yoga? Or looked into its well-researched benefits? In fact, regularly teaching yoga to children can enhance focus, attention, comprehension and memory, encourage community and connectedness within settings, and reduce problem behaviours by providing opportunities for reflection, patience and insight*.
With all this research, along with countless anecdotal evidence, it seems obvious to me that we should all be trying to infuse a little more yoga into our children’s lives. After all, once children learn these techniques they can use them for life—you just don’t forget this stuff!
Yoga is a truly lifelong form of exercise which can be done anywhere, in groups or alone with very little or no equipment. Indeed, anyone who can breathe can practice yoga! The combination of both physical and mental benefits makes yoga a fantastic tool for helping children cope with the stresses in their lives all while having fun and learning about their bodies’ capabilities in one.
One of the barriers to children enjoying yoga at home or in their school/nursery setting is that adults aren’t sure which poses are safe for children to practice. It is wise to show some caution, as children’s bodies are very different to adults’. Children are naturally flexible, so it’s more important to focus on strength, coordination and balance. Sometimes children have the flexibility to get into more challenging poses but lack the strength to come safely back out.
In this post, I am sharing 8 child-friendly yoga poses for you to enjoy with the children in your life. Although these are child-safe poses, each child should tune in with their own body, and come out of any poses that feel uncomfortable, especially if they feel any pinching.
Standing with your feet together, or a little apart, bend your knees and lift your arms, sitting down into your chair.
Sitting on our bottoms, we lift up one foot, then the other foot, now one hand and then the other hand! Start with knees bent and extend them straight for an extra challenge.
Step one foot backwards and place it parallel to the short end of the mat behind you. Keep hips facing forward and reach up high bending the front leg.
Starting on all fours we sit back onto our heels and reach our hands in front of us. We rest our heads onto the mat.
We come onto our tummy, placing our hands underneath our shoulders we wiggle up into a snake.
Sitting up straight twist your whole spine as you look behind you. Keep your back nice and straight.
Wide-legged forward fold
Sit with legs stretched wide, bend knees slightly and reach forward.
Standing tall, place the heel of your foot on top of the other. Bring your hands together at your heart and grow your branches up tall. Try to balance with your foot against your calf and then your thigh (but never press your foot into your knee).
About the guest-writer:
Vic is a specialist children’s yoga teacher and experienced classroom teacher. She creates resources for parents and teachers to help them share yoga safely with the children in their life. Enjoyed this little infusion of yoga? Vic has a free bedtime yoga series for kids on her website (innerchildyogaschool.com) which you can join anytime! Vic loves to hear from anyone who is interested in finding out more, so feel free to get in touch to share you successes or ask further questions on her Instagram @inner_child_yoga_school
*Research papers for claims in first paragraph: