The global pandemic and shifting priorities in personal lives are changing how families interact with one another. Many families meet their children’s recreational and physical needs with yoga. Yoga allows adults and children to participate in an environment free of competition and judgment. Yoga brings many benefits to a child’s developing body. There are considerations to measure before beginning. But overall, yoga is a great activity to channel extra energy into guided focus. This article explores animal yoga, and the 10 best animal yoga poses to try with your kiddos.
BENEFITS OF ANIMAL YOGA FOR KIDS
It’s easy to forget that children are human beings with the same complicated feelings as adults. Children haven’t developed many coping mechanisms in their short lives. Sometimes anxiety, worry, and fear build to unhealthy levels. Yoga provides an outlet to reduce unhealthy emotional levels through concentration and physical exertion. Unproductive focus shifts away from dwelling on problems when a child is pretending to be a lion or a monkey. Later, a child learns to turn to yoga to balance the mind and calm the soul.
A 2019 study published by the National Library of Medicine showed increased concentration among kindergartners. 5-year olds in a 12-week study displayed decreases in inattention and hyperactivity. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recognized the benefits of focus and stress relief children get from yoga. Animal yoga is one way to help a child cope with hyperactivity, impulse control, and distractions.
PROMOTES HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Kids who practice yoga have better posture, more flexibility, and improved balance, motor skills, and strength. Little ones have fun while learning skills to benefit their entire lives.
BEFORE STARTING ANIMAL YOGA FOR KIDS
REVIEW PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
Always check with a pediatrician to be sure animal yoga won’t add to complications of any condition or injury. A doctor will advise on which breathing activities to avoid if a child has respiratory issues. Likewise, some poses increase head pressure signal avoidance, especially for children experiencing migraines or blood pressure conditions.
MONITOR FOR OVER-STRETCHING
A child’s flexible body is in stark contrast with an adult’s stiff set of joints. Even so, this flexibility can lead to injury if not observed carefully. Spreading joint and muscle tissue too thin causes strains and injuries. Always ask how a pose feels to a child. Encourage the child to listen to what their body says. Your child needs to know that it’s okay to stop if any movement is uncomfortable or painful.
PROVIDE THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
Not much is needed to start animal yoga for kids. A piece of necessary equipment is a good floor surface. Bare feet help to reduce slipping, so kick off the slippers before starting. A slick floor surface is safely converted with a yoga mat. Be mindful of the sun and heat if practicing outdoors.
TIPS TO INCREASE INTEREST IN ANIMAL YOGA FOR KIDS
One can argue that a child’s attention span is that of a gnat! Encouraging your kiddo to pretend to be the animal in the post turns yoga into a fun game. It also fosters a healthy imagination while exercising.
Every once in a while, try to incorporate a session in the backyard or at the park. A change in scenery gives new life to the same old routine.
More than one child provides the chance to play the mirror game. Giggles and creativity ensue as each child tries to mimic the other’s moves in tandem.
Coax your kiddo to imitate an animal on his own. This encourages observation and appreciation of the world around him.
FINALLY, THE 10 BEST ANIMAL YOGA POSES TO TRY WITH YOUR KIDDO
Keep eyes forward with a straight back while standing. Raise hands in front of eyes with clenched fists forward. Bend your knees a bit, then turn your head right, left, then back to the right. As the head turns right, side jump to the left. As the head turns left, side jump to the right. Don’t forget the monkey sounds!
Begin with feet shoulder-width apart. Cross left arm over the body. Bend the right arm up to hold the tip of the nose loosely. Encourage the child to swing side to side like a giant elephant. The left arm acts as the trunk. Have them perform their best elephant trumpet while keeping their knees bent. Slowly drop your hands to the side to finish.
Start by balancing on one leg. Raise one leg slightly off the ground. The supporting leg should be bent a bit for more support. This is a wonderful foundation for difficult balance poses in their future.
While seated, press the soles of the feet together. Hold each ankle while the elbows rest against the inner thighs. Bounce your legs up and down gently to get a stretch.
Start lying flat on the belly with outstretched legs. Bring hands even with shoulders and push up arms to lift the torso and head. Take 5 deep breaths with exhales sounding like a snake, sssssss!
Start with hands and knees on the ground. Raise your spine while looking downward. Inhale for 2-3 breaths and exhale with a hearty meow!
Start with hands and knees on the ground. Inhale while dropping belly to the floor. Inhale with 2-3 breaths while exhaling with some mooos!
Begin on your back and lift your legs and arms into the air. Let them freeform sway in the breeze.
Start with hands and knees on the ground. Extend one leg straight behind while looking straight ahead. Stretch the opposite arm in front. Roar like a tiger while
Start with hands and knees on the ground. Raise one arm high toward the sky while following with the eyes. Repeat on the other side.
GIVE YOUR KIDDOS A HEAD START FOR LIFE
Yoga has many incredible health benefits for any age. Young children benefit from confidence, coordination, and togetherness by practicing yoga with their friends and family. It’s never too early to start!
If you’re interested in learning some more fun yoga poses you can try with your little ones, come flow with us at Zuda Yoga! For only $30, you can practice 30 days of yoga.