By: Bridget Hobbs, PT, DPT
Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise, so much so, that you can find yoga studios on many street corners. Yoga is also a very beneficial form of exercise for kids. In the clinic, I use a set of yoga cards entitled “Yoga Pretzels” by Tara Guber and Leah Kalish. They have large, colorful illustrations of the yoga pose on the front as well as a detailed description of the pose on the back. Listed below are 5 of my favorite yoga poses for kids. These help with motor planning, strength, balance and attention and are really enjoyable for kids to do.
1. Down Dog: Down dog is a great hamstring stretch for kiddos (and adults) with tight hamstrings. It is also really helpful for gaining strength in the upper back and core and for stretching the back muscles.
2. Tree: Tree is my favorite pose to work on with kids who need help with balance. Kids pretend like their arms are the branches and stretch them high. Kids can really feel this one working their leg muscles.
3. Butterfly: If your child is a w-sitter, this pose is for them! Butterfly helps kids who have a hard time sitting cross-legged ease into sitting with their feet in front of them. Butterfly is also a great core strengthener, as kids can lengthen their torso tall and gentle flap their legs up and down simulating butterfly wings.
4. Plank: The plank pose is a more advanced pose for older children. It helps kids learn the proper technique for push-ups as well as provide a good calf stretch. It strengthens the chest, shoulder and core muscles. If plank is too tough with legs extended, try putting knees on the ground for more stability.
5. Resting pose: The resting pose is a good pose to end a session with. Kids can focus on listening to the slowness of their breathing to gain calmness and slow down a ‘fast’ engine. This pose can improve focus and concentration.
There are many benefits to doing yoga for children including:
- increasing strength
- overall sense of well-being
Some fitness centers offer yoga classes for children. You can also purchase yoga cards fairly in-expensively and do yoga with your child to make it a family activity. Yoga can be a life-long exercise that is easy on the joints and beneficial for the mind.
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