Practicing Yoga with Children

Practicing yoga together is a great way for both parents and children to experience the wonderful benefits of yoga. Yoga helps us concentrate, focus and pay attention; build physical strength and flexibility; encourage inner strength and body awareness; boost confidence and self-esteem; teaches relaxation and self-control; and promotes feelings of well-being and respect for others. Doing yoga with children is also just plain fun!

Try these sample yoga poses for children and adults to do together:

Butterfly (or Badhakonasana)

Butterfly pose is a great stretch for the inner thighs, groins and knees and improves groin and hip flexibility. To perform this pose:

Sit on the floor and place the soles of your feet together. Hold on to the feet or ankles, and let the knees drop toward the floor. Sit up with a tall spine.

Tree Pose (or Vrikshasana)

Tree pose is great for stretching the legs, back and arms. Tree pose helps develop balance and improve concentration. To perform this pose:

Stand up straight and tall. Breathe in and out and imagine the legs reaching toward the ground and the head reaching toward the sky. Look at a still spot ahead to keep the eyes steady. Lift the right foot and either place the toes on the floor alongside the left ankle or lift the right foot onto the left leg and place it on the inside of the left leg- either above the knee or below the knee. Imagine that the left foot is a root in the ground and strong like a tree. Grow the arms towards the sky like branches. If the tree starts to teeter, do not worry- instead, smile and have fun with it. To come out of the pose, lower the arms and place the right leg back on the ground. Try Tree pose on the other side.

Fish (or Matsyasana)

Fish pose is great for stretching the chest and neck. It also provides relief from respiratory disorders, such as asthma, by encouraging deep breathing. To perform this pose:

Lie down on the back with hands on the belly. Point the toes and squeeze both legs together. Come onto the elbows with both palms flat on the floor. Lift the belly and chest and let the head rest lightly on the floor. Lift the chest up. To come out of Fish pose, release down carefully on an exhale.

The poses above are just a few to get started. As a parent, if one wishes to teach their kids yoga, it may be beneficial to take a special teacher training.

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