Doing yoga with kids is a wonderful way to get in quality time. It:
- builds strength
- improves flexibility
- develops breath control and awareness
- relaxes and calms
- develops coordination
- increases body awareness
- improves mindfulness
- develops confidence and self-awareness
How To Get Started
Practice yoga in front of your kids. That models how yoga is helpful and important in your life.
Invite your children to join you. BUT, don’t worry if it takes a bit of time to get your kids interested. Let interest develop. Accept where they are.
Get children their own yoga mats. (Favorite colors help!)
Develop a routine. Practice at the same time of day, starting with a short sequence of poses (asanas) that you do in the same order.
Let your child choose what poses (asanas) you’ll do together and in what order, as if she is teaching you a class.
If your school doesn’t already, see if they will incorporate yoga into the physical education curriculum. My kids used to do yoga at school. I think it’s such a positive investment in their lives, well-being, and helps them learn a valuable life-long practice.
Yoga Books for Kids
If your kids are interested in yoga, Yoga Whale by Sarah Jane Hinder is a new, darling little interactive book of yoga poses that are named after animals. Specifically sea animals. Learn to do a Jellyfish or Dolphin pose or breathe like a Pufferfish. The illustrations show kids doing the poses; each accompanied by a little poem.
Yoga Bug Simple Poses for Little Ones by Sarah Jane Hinder is a darling book! This book will get you and your little one reading and stretching into animal yoga poses — like the bee or the creepy crawly caterpillar. Kids pose on one side while the bug poses on the other. “Wiggle, giggle, jiggle / hands and feet. // Flipped Beetle.”
Breathe with Me by Mariam Gates is not specifically about yoga but breathing, which is a really big part of a yoga and mindfulness practice. It is a book that makes breathing accessible to children with powerful imagery that kids can understand. For example, when you’re sleepy in the morning and can’t wake up — try doing Rainbow Breath. Illustrated with a girl sitting under a rainbow we read about Rainbow Breath:
“Sit up and let your spine grow tall.
Bring your arms out straight to
the sides, palms down.
Inhale and sweep your arms up over your head palm to palm.
Exhale and bring your arms back
straight out to the sides, palms down.
Repeat three times.“
Or when you’re nervous about something new, try Dandelion Breath. (I LOVE the idea of blowing a dandelion, don’t you?) The book has five different ways to think about your breathing in total. And I think they’re all so brilliantly relatable for kids.
Good Morning Yoga A Pose-By-Pose Wake Up Story by Mariam Gates of Kid Power Yoga, illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder is a wonderful picture book for children!! The tone, text, and illustrations gently guide readers through breathing, easy poses, imaginative intentions, and body awareness. Let me explain. Each page has a movement captured in an imaginative way: “a brave ski jumper ready to fly” as well as directions for body awareness and movement: “As I breathe in, as I breathe out, I bend my knees and sweep my arms back”. I adore the illustrations, the diversity of skin tone and gender included. In the back of the book, you’ll see an illustrated page with all eleven poses. Finally, the book ends with a short visualization guided meditation.
Here’s the author reading the book. Isn’t it gorgeous and peaceful?
*You might also like Good Night, Yoga by the same author.
Rachel’s Day in the Garden: A Kids Yoga Spring Colors Book by Giselle Shardlow of Kids Yoga Stories, illustrated by Hazel Quintanilla is a sweet picture book that follows Rachel and her dog, Sammy, from waking up to a rainy day in the garden. As she experiences life, we listen to the words, look at the gorgeous illustrations, and try the poses in the circled insets. The narrative has a perfect text-to-picture ratio and multi-media collage artwork is absolutely amazing. The book ends with four pages that have keywords, the poses, and illustrations of how to do each. LOVE this book!
Yoga Bunny by Brian Russo reminds us that sometimes yoga is about being patient and staying with our truth. Bunny wakes up to do yoga. As his friends walk by, Lizard first, Bunny invites them to do yoga, too. Lizard is too grumpy, Fox is too hurried, and Bird doesn’t want to. Just when Bunny thinks no one will do yoga with him, two mice join him in warrior pose. Then Bird. Then Fox and Lizard. They finish doing yoga in a peaceful hug of friendship. Bunny’s patience left the door open so that when his friends were ready, they could join.
Yummy Yoga: Playful Poses and Tasty Treats by Joy Bauer, photographs by Bonnie Stephens
What an adorable book! Yummy Yoga features yoga posed by fruits and vegetables as well as kids. Do the pose then lift-the-flap for a delicious kid-friendly recipe such as a berry-banana smoothie or a corn on the cob recipe. Poses include triangle, lotus, plank, warrior II, tree, cat, downward dog, and forward bend.
Yoga For Children by Lisa Flynn
Parents and teachers, this thoughtful guide is for you. The author helps you develop your child’s confidence through the practice of mindful yoga. This book gets high ratings from me because it is easy to read and to implement.
Yoga Pretzels 50 Fun Yoga Activities for Kids and Grownups by Tara Guber and Leah Kalish
We used these sturdy cards over the summer. We would rotate picking out the cards/poses to do and in what order. I loved it!
Yoga Videos for Kids
Yoga for Kids by Yoga Today (YouTube)
This is a short 8-minute active Kundalini yoga session help kids get out some energy.
Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure (YouTube)
These children’s yoga sessions last between 11 to 20 minutes and are taught by a woman who shares an imaginative adventure story. As kids listen to the story, they will follow along with the poses. Appropriate for younger kids who will like the cuteness of her approach.
Once Upon a Mat
If you have kids ages 2 to 6, try this video. An instructor narrates 9 separate short yoga stories (safari, outer space, rainstorm) while guiding kids through poses and breathing. Very well-done and developmentally appropriate. I like that it’s a teacher in the video, not kids because little kids don’t usually model the body positions correctly.
Kids World Yoga
This series of beginner, intermediate, and advanced videos are meant for older kids ages 6 to 14 and is taught by tweens. These are surprisingly intense, fast-paced workouts with the beauty of Sedona, Arizona in the background.
Yoga Games for Kids
Spin the spinner. Choose a card from the corresponding color, blue, red, green, or white cards. Do the pose. If you can hold it for 10 seconds, you keep the card!
The first player to collect a card from each color wins the game!
We also just like to shuffle through the cards and pick poses to do. The white cards are for partners which makes for some fun teamwork.
The cards are easily stored inside the yellow spinner case.
This game gets you moving– love it!
Each player is dealt seven green cars of poses and one red mission card. The green cards have the poses which are accurately named in the English and the Sanskrit.
The mission tells players the goal for the game. Below you’ll see this mission: collect 5 cards where the yogi has one leg bent and the other extended.
And of course, you have to DO the poses on the cards you collect, too.
You’ll be impressed at how this game stretches children’s bodies and thinking skills.
Plus, I think younger kids would have just as much fun if they skipped the mission cards and just did the poses.
Match the yoga poses and improve balance as you practice each pose. We haven’t yet tried out this game but it looks like a fun way to be active with both mind and body.
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