Among adults, yoga is growing like wildfire – over 36 million do yoga regularly, and another 80 million say they would like to try it. However, the benefits of yoga to mind and body are invaluable for kids as well! As our lives have become busier and more stressful, so have our kids’ days. Yoga, for kids, and adults offers both restorative releases from stress but also a powerful form of exercise that takes advantage of kids’ natural flexibility and desire to test out the limits of their bodies. Oh, if only I was as flexible now as I was when I was a kid.
Yoga can increase concentration, self-control, cardiovascular health, flexibility, and more. It’s also an excellent choice for kids who may struggle with attention issues or hyperactivity.
Yoga is something kids can do on their own or as an activity you can do together. Either way, you can be confident of some physical activity, a stress break, and some giggles in your kiddos’ day when they try out some yoga moves.
I think my body was the happiest when I was doing yoga at least three days a week. Getting my girls involved now in yoga for children should help set them up for a lifetime of wellness. Or at least encourage it in the now without stressing their joints and bones. Also, doing yoga with children helps to keep us young, too!
1. Yoga for kids books and games
There are also several non-web-based yoga for kids videos, yoga books and games that can introduce kids of all ages to yoga in a fun way. These types of yoga activities make practice more interactive with you and are less dependent on kids loving the specific teacher or video you try. Plus, parents can do the yoga poses with the kids, too. Which of course, the kids love. And parents love as well.
The Kids Yoga Deck includes 50 illustrated cards that feature each pose, instructions about how to do the pose, and other activities such as breathing exercises. The poses are designed to be fun for kids as they feature animals, vehicles, and more. Do you think your kid can do a giraffe pose?
Yoga Pretzels (Yoga Cards)Yogarilla Exercises and Activities – Yoga Flash Card Deck – Super Duper Educational Learning Toy for KidsYogarilla Body Awareness Card Deck – Super Duper Educational Learning Toy for Kids
If you’re looking for yoga books, try Good Night Yoga and Good Morning Yoga, which include engaging stories along with interactive poses for you and your little one to practice while you read. The adorable illustrations will have you reaching for these again and again. I feel like anything in the evening that will help with relaxation and a good night’s sleep is a yogi kid win. And honestly, a parenting win, too.
Another fun option is ABC’s of Yoga, which features a different pose for each letter of the alphabet and rhythmic rhyming prose. You are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses engages kids in their love of animals by featuring poses that mimic their favorites.
2. Web resources
In general, kids’ natural flexibility means they can do pretty much any traditional yoga moves successfully, and there are countless web resources out there to keep your kids’ yoga practice fresh. Even though they can do them successfully, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be guided into proper poses and reminded to keep good form.
Cosmic Kids offers a robust set of resources for parents, daycare providers, and teachers who want to bring yoga to kids as well as yoga for toddlers. The website has a set of engaging yoga videos that you can sort by length, energy level, or a variety of different categories, such as yoga that relates to a story, encourages dance, promotes mindfulness, and more. Videos are available free on YouTube or, for a small subscription fee ($5 per month after a 2-week free trial) you can access them ad-free. The site also incorporates lesson plans and instructions for teaching the poses to kids. Try their bedtime yoga video to wind kids down for sleep!
If your kids are really enjoying yoga, a subscription would make a great gift for a birthday or other holiday that won’t add to the clutter.
Other sites such as Yoga Journal, Parents, and Yoga Download offer instructions on various poses that are easy for kids to learn and practice. Yoga Download also offers kids-only classes as well as Mom and Baby/Toddler classes. For older kids, it’s great to get them doing it on their own, but for younger kids, you will likely want to do it with them. Of course, the added bonus is that you are gaining the benefits of yoga as well.
However, all yoga for children videos aren’t created equal – kids may gravitate towards one format or teacher over another so you may have to try several videos or sites to find something they love. Don’t give up even if they don’t adore their first attempt at yoga. I’m glad I didn’t give up after my first attempt. It is definitely a case of keep trying and keep practicing.
3. DVDs and streaming videos
While online videos offer you a wealth of options, sometimes it is so much simpler just to pull up a streaming program you own or pop in a DVD, especially for kids; having things ready to go is important for little kids who don’t tend to have a lot of patience.
If you’re interested in doing yoga with your kids, Yoga for Families: Connect With Your Kids is designed to provide fun, challenge, and connection for you and your little ones – choose between relaxing or high energy programs. Great for kids ages 4+.
To incorporate a little imaginary play into yoga time, try Storyland Yoga where kids perform poses that go along with an animal-based story. Anytime there is an animal involved, it seems like kids are more likely to enjoy and appreciate it.
Another option is Yoga for Kids: Outer Space Blast-Off which takes kids on exciting adventures through the galaxy via yoga poses. If you like this one, there are others by the same company including Silly to Calm, which is great for teaching kids to manage their body energy even when they feel ready to burst. What kid doesn’t need a little help transitioning from silly to calm?
For littler ones, YogaKids: Ages 3 – 6 is the perfect blend of yoga and games to keep small attention spans engaged. When you make it fun, they won’t even realize they are doing something that grown ups enjoy and is something that helps them.
Older kids might instead enjoy Kids World Yoga which is geared towards kids 6 – 14 and features three levels of difficulty. If your kids are like mine, you know those older ones will want to make the most difficult right out of the gate.
4. What to wear and equipment
For most yoga practice, kids just need to wear something comfortable that doesn’t restrict their movement. But, if they want to feel like yogi kids, a nice tank and leggings or some exercise shorts and shirts definitely fit the bill. My girls like to wear exercise clothes when not exercising, so they definitely feel more the part when wearing “appropriate” clothes for their activity.
Lucky & Me Jada Athletic Leggings for Girls, 3 Pack, Tagless, Lace Trim, Full Length, Black/Grey/Red, 690 Degree by Reflex Kids – Girls Textured Zig Zag Tank Tops – Junior Activewear – Pink Purple Combo Medium (10)Under Armour Boys’ Eliminator Shorts, Black/Graphite, Youth MediumRussell Big Boys’ Youth Nublend T-Shirt, Ash, Large
With the interactive nature of most kids’ yoga practice, they don’t even usually need a yoga mat. Although, many kids like to have their own special gear so they feel more official. They will likely enjoy a regular yoga may, or might enjoy a mat and other typical accessories but in smaller, kid-friendly sizes like these adorable kid yoga mats.
5. Age groups – Tips for little kids
Even little ones will love doing yoga, although they may benefit more from shorter, more sporadic practice at first. Little ones may enjoy trying poses out of a card deck or book, which allows them to pick out their favorites and stop when they’re done. Videos that appeal to their specific interests may also be a good option but choose shorter length videos.
Doing yoga in mixed age groups can also be fun as older kids can help encourage the younger ones and often, imaginations fuel each other in new and exciting ways. If you enjoy yoga, doing videos with your littlest ones can also encourage them on as you help each other through the poses. You’ll also have a blast letting go and getting your jungle animal imitation perfected. I know my girls would like to pick which animal poses for us to practice together.
Have you tried yoga with your kids? What was your experience? I’d love to hear from you!