Yoga for kids

General

Article by Siddhi Pareek

June 3rd, 2020

Dhanurasana by Siddhi Pareek.

Yoga improves the quality of life by bringing emotional balance since it is a non-competitive activity. It helps children improve resilience, mood, and self-regulation skills.

Asanas

Vrikshasana (Tree pose)

Vrikshasana teaches your kid the grace of a tree, standing tall and maintaining balance.

How to do:

  1. Begin the posture with the mountain pose, wherein the legs are straight, hands at the sides, back straight, and thigh muscles firm.
  2. Lift the right foot with the knee out.
  3. Place the right foot on the left inner thigh in a position where it feels comfortable.
  4. Press the hands together above the head.

Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)

The stretch might promote a sturdy back, abs, and strength.

How to do:

  1. Lie face down with the tips of the feet flat on the floor and palms on either side of the body.
  2. Pull the shoulders slightly back towards the spine.
  3. Engage the abdomen throughout the exercise as it keeps the lower back protected.
  4. Lift the body into a cobra pose while keeping the chin up. Use the hands for support, but without putting unnecessary pressure.
  5. Hold the posture for 15 to 30 seconds, before gently releasing the body to the floor. This is a good, morning yoga pose for kids to practice daily.

Possible benefits:

Strengthens the spine; stretches the chest, shoulders, abdomen, and buttocks; stimulates the abdominal organs and releases fatigue and stress, might be good for managing breathing problems like asthma.

Caution:

Ask your kid to arch the back as much as the body can take. Every child has different flexibility, so let them take it slow.

Marjaryasana (Cat Pose)

The cat pose is a gentle kneading for the back and core.

How to do:

  1. Take a tabletop position using the hands and knees.
  2. The knees should be directly below their hips, and toes curled.
  3. The wrists, elbows, and shoulders should be straight and perpendicular to the floor.
  4. Center the head in a neutral position with eyes looking at the floor.
  5. With an exhalation, arch the spine up towards the ceiling.
  6. Release the head towards the floor without forcing the chin towards the chest.
  7. Come back to the initial tabletop position while inhaling slowly.

Possible benefits:

Relaxes and stretches the Spine, Neck, torso and the organs of the abdomen

Caution:

If your kid faces difficulty while rounding their upper back, lay a hand above and between the shoulder blades for support.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Bend the back like a bow and open the chest and shoulders with the bow pose.

How to do:

  1. Lie flat on the stomach, keeping the arms stretched along the sides of the body and head resting gently on the mat.
  2. Inhale and bend the knees bringing the feet towards the hips.
  3. Grasp the ankles using both hands.
  4. Lift the shoulders, torso, legs, and hips off the floor while gazing straight ahead.
  5. Hold the posture for four to five breaths, then lower the knees and release the feet.
  6. Rest on the stomach.

Possible benefits:

Stretches and strengthens the back, shoulders, chest, and legs; brings flexibility to hip flexor function, and regulates the digestive system

Caution:

The bow pose involves a great deal of stretching, so if your child feels heavy in the lower back, keep the posture lower until it is comfortable to stretch. Help them in holding the ankles in step 3 and lifting the body in step 4.

Mandukasana (Frog Pose)

This pose might help in relieving sprains or back pains.

How to do:

  1. Start by going on the floor on the hands and knees.
  2. Position the knees a few inches apart and place the feet right behind the knees.
  3. Place the palms right under the shoulders with the fingers facing forward.
  4. Look downwards and focus at a point between your hands.
  5. Now, push the tailbone towards the back. This will stretch the spine. This position is known as the table position.
  6. Slowly move the knees outwards to the sides. Then align the ankles and feet with the knees in a straight line.
  7. Start to slide downwards while keeping the palms flat against the floor.
  8. Exhale and keep pushing the hips backwards until a stretch is felt.
  9. Now, hold this position for three to five breaths.
  10. Come back to the table position again.

Possible benefits:

Stretches the hips, thighs, and spine

Caution:

If it hurts your child under the knees or the elbows, place a folded blanket to provide support and strength. Let them not stretch beyond their comfort level.

Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

This is the simplest of all poses that the child can try.

How to do:

  1. Sit upright with legs crossed.
  2. Rest the hands on the knees with the palms facing up.
  3. Evenly balance the weight across the sit bones.
  4. Keep the head, neck, and spine aligned all along.
  5. Elongate the spine but without stiffing the neck.
  6. The feet and thighs should be relaxed.
  7. Retain this posture for a minute.
  8. Release and change the cross-legged position.

Benefits:

Good for the back, thighs, and hips; gives a stretch to the knees and feet; helps in negating anxiety and stress.

Caution:

If your kid’s hips are tight and they are finding it difficult to sit flat, prop them up with a folded blanket or firm pillow under the hips.

Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose)

A pose that makes your kid flutter like a graceful butterfly, is believed to offer some valuable benefits.

How to do:

  1. Sit with the spine upright and legs spread out straight.
  2. Fold the legs so that the feet are touching each other. Hold them with your hands.
  3. While exhaling, gently move the thighs and knees in a downward motion.
  4. Then start flapping the legs up and down, like the wings of a butterfly.
  5. The flapping should be slow initially and then pick up to speed. Breathing should be at a normal pace.
  6. Slow down gradually and then stop.
  7. Gently release the posture while exhaling.

Possible benefits:

Stretches the thighs, knees, and hips; regulates the intestine and bowel movement; for girls, helps in easy and painless menstruation.

Caution:

If your kid has a knee or groin injury, keep a blanket under the thighs to prevent pain or ache.