Just like adults, kids also live in the same modern world where they can often feel pressured, stressed, and anxious. The many stimulants offered by this competitive reality – school, video games, social media, sports, clothes – can often take a toll in the emotional and mental health of the young.
And just like adults, kids can also benefit greatly from practicing yoga.
Yoga, when taught in a way that kids can understand and relate to, can counter the many stresses and pressures they experience. Aside from flexibility, body awareness, strength, and coordination, yoga can also cultivate calm, focus, and relaxation among children. If you’re planning to get your little ones into this highly beneficial practice, here are some easy yoga poses – asanas – to try.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
This foundation of all standing yoga poses is great for improving posture, strengthening the leg muscles, and alleviating sciatica. Practicing mountain pose, while breathing deeply and consciously, for 30 seconds to one minute will help your child feel grounded and relaxed.
Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
Don’t let the name fool you! If your kid is always sitting on a chair, then sukhasana can be quite challenging. Shins should be crossed and each foot slipped beneath opposite knees as the legs fold toward the torso. Easy pose is a good pose for focusing on the breath, calming the brain while also strengthening the back. This pose stretches the knees and ankles, so be cautious if your kid has any prior knee injury.
Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
If your kids spend most days sitting watching TV or being on the computer, Happy Baby is a fun, powerful pose to loosen up their hip joints. Laying on their backs, bend their knees towards their belly on an exhale. As they inhale, have them grab the outsides of their feet with their hands. If they have trouble reaching their feet, loop bands over their soles and have them grab onto these instead. Then, open their knees slightly wider than their bodies and bring them up to their armpits. Make sure to have the ankles over the knees and make the shin perpendicular to the floor. This pose gently stretches the hips and the spine.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
For stiff shoulders, bhujangasana is a powerful but gentle pose to teach your kids. This is a bit more challenging but easy enough for kids to try. To start, have them lie prone on the floor with their legs stretched and tops of the feet pressed firmly on the surface. Bring their hands under their shoulders, fingers spread. Hug their arms to their body and on an inhale, slowly stretch their arms straight and lift their chest off the floor. Make sure the pubis, legs, and tops of the feet are pressed firmly on the floor. The shoulder blades should be firm against the back with the side ribs gently puffed forward. This gentle backbend strengthens the spine and relieves tense shoulders. It can also improve slouching.