The ABCs of Yoga for Kids

How to Make an Impact on Your Child's Health and Fitness

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The ABCs of Yoga for Kids

Many adults recognize the health benefits of yoga, but they may not realize that kids can obtain the same benefits. Practicing simple yoga postures is an ideal way for kids to naturally unwind and be physically active at the same time.

Yoga can have a tremendous impact on children’s health and fitness, and practicing the following yoga poses is a great way for kids to begin to create healthy habits at an early age — reducing stress, toning internal organs and glands, stretching and strengthening the body and increasing focus and concentration through holding the poses.

The following six yoga postures — inspired by IMPACT — are safe for parents to do with their children at home as they represent a gentle introduction to practicing yoga with kids.

Practicing these simple yoga poses may spark an interest for kids to learn more poses or to participate in a yoga class with mom or dad. The verses with each pose are from my book The ABCs of Yoga for Kids.

INHALE

It is very important to breathe in and out through the nose while practicing yoga. This type of breathing oxygenates the lungs, calms the body, and helps to reduce stress. Inhale and let the belly rise, then exhale and let it gently fall.

One of the most important parts

of any yoga pose,

Is remembering to breathe deeply

by inhaling through my nose.

Inhale
Illustration: Kathleen Rietz

MOUSE

This resting posture gently stretches the lower back, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. It can help to control hypertension by calming the mind and is a good place to start a yoga practice with kids. It helps them transition from what they were doing prior to practicing yoga to focusing on their yoga practice.

I am a quiet mouse

Curled up in my little house.

I put my head on the floor

And sit back on my heels,

Then I fold my upper body

some more.

Oh, I like how this feels!

I put my arms at my side.

There are so many places

For a mouse like me to hide.

Mouse
Illustration: Kathleen Rietz

PRETZEL

This twist increases spinal flexibility and calms the mind and nervous system. It compresses and massages digestive organs to flush out toxins from the kidney, liver and spleen. These organs get a fresh supply of blood and oxygen once the twist is released.

A pretzel is yummy to eat.

It’s a very twisty treat!

First I sit in Easy Pose,

Then turn my head to one side

And stare at my nose.

Reaching one hand across my body,

I rest it on my knee.

My other hand then stretches

Directly behind me.

Before switching sides

I count to eight.

Twisting really does feel great!

Pretzel
Illustration: Kathleen Rietz

AIRPLANE

The airplane posture improves spinal strength and flexibility. It strengthens the middle spine, helping to prevent low back pain. A healthy spine equates to a healthy nervous system.

I am an airplane

Heading for the sky.

Lifting my chest, arms and legs,

I begin to fly.

Airplane
Illustration: Kathleen Rietz

CAT

Cat is a gentle posture that stretches the spine and prepares the body for activity. It lengthens the back and creates a natural human traction for the spine.

My hand and knees on the floor,

I become a cat.

Stretching one leg to form a tail,

I say, “Meow,” just like that!

Cat
Illustration: Kathleen Rietz

TABLE

Table pose opens the chest and shoulders, strengthens the core muscles, increases focus and concentration and stretches the hamstrings. Try using plastic food and plates to “set the child’s table” in this fun yoga posture.

To create the shape of a table,

I must be strong and stable.

Sitting up tall

With hands behind me,

I’m sturdy as can be.

I press into my hands

And into my feet.

Lifting my body up,

I await a healthy treat!

Table
Illustration: Kathleen Rietz

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