Why is a Yoga for Kids sequence of postures becoming more and more relevant? Well, children, today, spend long durations sitting. They sit in the school. And, once back at home, television, tablets, and mobiles are their favorite playmates. Due to this sedentary lifestyle there has been a dangerously high surge in the number of childhood obesity cases. Along with keeping their health intact, a fun-filled yoga for kids sequence will gift them a plethora of other benefits.
Yoga improves their focus and concentration. It helps to bring down the academic stress and induces deep and calm sleep. It also makes them mentally alert and more energetic. Here is a beautiful sequence that a child can practice daily.
Energetic Yoga for Kids Sequence
Tadasana – Parsva Tadasana – Mountain Pose
Standing tall and erect helps to release the tension children store in their spine. But given their active nature, asking them to stay still in one place is challenging. This version of Tadasana sways their body like a palm tree, yet giving them the much wanted stretch. This is the first in the Yoga for Kids sequence of poses.
Stand with the feet slightly separated. Press the soles of the feet into the floor and lengthen the spine, aligning it with the neck and head. Engage the abdominal muscles and tuck the pelvic bone. Inhale and lift the arms over the head and join the palms in Namaste. Tilt the head back and gaze up at the fingertips. Hold here for seven breaths.
Inhale and on the exhalation, bend the torso, arms, and neck sideways to the right. Fix the gaze at the fingertips and hold here for seven deep breaths. On the next in-breath, come back to the center. Exhale and repeat on the left side. Complete the sequence by coming back to the center.
Uttanasana – Standing Forward Fold/Bend
We can add a simple variation to the classic forward bend by making this pose into a Rag Doll. While alignment is important, allow the children to relax into the pose by allowing the head to fall forward freely. This is the second pose in the Yoga for Kids sequence.
After coming back into Tadasana, exhale and fold forward from the hips. Maintain the length of the spine. Instead of placing the palms on either side of the feet, hold cross the forearms and hold the opposite elbows. Let the head hang freely or rest on the forearms. Hold here for seven deep breaths.
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose
Allow the little yogis to stretch the entire body and feel the blood gushing through the system with this Asana.
Place the palms down on the final exhale of Uttanasana. Walk the legs back or hop back. Adjust the arms so the wrists come right under the shoulders. Press the soles of the feet close to the floor as the hips move up to the ceiling. Let the head come in between the elbows. Keep the elbows straight, but unlocked. Roll back the shoulders. Gaze at the navel. Hold the Asana for seven deep breaths.
Runners’ lunger or low lunge offers excellent hamstring stretch while lengthening and strengthening the spine. Make it a little kids-friendly by offering a variation.
From Downward Facing Dog Pose, inhale and lift the right leg up and straight to the ceiling. On the exhale, place the right foot between the palms. Rest the left knee on the mat, toes extended backward. Inhale and straighten the torso, lifting the palms away from the mat. Cross the forearms behind the back, clasping opposite elbows. Open the heart and roll back the shoulder blades. Push the chest forward and hips closer to the mat. Tilt the head back and gaze up. Hold for seven deep breaths.
On the final exhale, release the palms to the floor. Inhale, press the palms into the floor, tuck the back toes, and lift the right leg to the ceiling. Exhale and come back into Adho Mukha Svanasana. Hold for three breaths.
This pose is a neutral position that releases the spine and back and gives the time for a break. Children could practice a couple of rounds of Cat-Cow movements here, aligning the spine with the breath.
Drop the knees down on the last exhalation of the Downward facing dog pose. Extend the toes backward. Keep the spine neutral and gaze forward. Inhale, scoop the back, and gaze up. Exhale, round the back, tuck the chin to the chest, and gaze down. Repeat seven times.
Bhujangasana to Adho Mukha Svanasana
Practice Baby Cobra or Ardha Bhujangasana. Add a gentle twist for the fun element.
Come back to Table Top position at the end of the seventh breath. Exhale and lie down on the belly, stretching the legs back, and forehead resting on the floor. Let the wrists rest on either side of the chest, right under the shoulders. Inhale, press the palms into the floor, and lift the forehead and chest off the floor. Let the lower abdomen and pelvis rest on the floor. Keep the elbows bent.
Gaze forward and hold for seven breaths.
Inhale after the seventh breath. On the next exhale, look over the right shoulder for a gentle twist. Hold for seven breaths. Inhale and come back to the center. Exhale and repeat on the other side.
On the final exhalation, press the palms into the floor, tuck the toes, and push the body up to come into Downward Facing Dog Pose.
Anjaneyasana (L) – Adho Mukha Svanasana – Bhujangasana
Repeat Anjaneyasana on the Left Side followed by Adho Mukha Svanasana – Bhujangasana.
Dhanurasana – Bow Pose
Let the children sway like a bow and release the stress they experience with the Dhanurasana, the seventh pose in the Yoga for Kids sequence. Plus, it eases the digestive woes children face these days due to inactivity.
After completing Bhujangasana, bend the knees. Exhale and hold the ankles from outside with respective palms. Inhale and lift the forehead and torso until the lower abdomen. Pull the legs away from the body with each exhalation, allowing the body to lift higher.
Hold for seven deep breaths. Exhale and release the legs.
Upavistha Konasana – Dragonfly – Seated Wide-Angle Pose
Let the children stretch out their legs while sitting tall and fold forward to do this Dragonfly pose.
After completing Dhanurasana, gently roll to lie down on the back. Hug the knees to the chest and roll sideways to release the back muscles and spine. Roll to the right and sit up.
Stretch out the legs sideways, as far as possible. Inhale and bring the arms up. Exhale and fold forward, from the hips. Let the arms rest on the floor. If possible, allow the forehead to rest on the floor. Inhale and straighten the spine. Exhale and deepen the forward fold. Hold the Pose for seven deep breaths.
Inhale and straighten the torso. Join the legs.
Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby Pose
Relax the back and release the physical and mental stress by reclining in Happy Baby pose, the last pose in the Yoga for Kids sequence.
Gently recline on the back after completing Upavistha Konasana. Bend the knees and bring the close to chest. Hold the soles of the big toe using a three finger grip [Thumb resting on top of the toe and middle and index fingers beneath the toe.] Let the soles face the ceiling. Straighten the legs as much as possible. Keep pulling the knee closer to the floor with each exhalation.
Hold for seven deep breaths.
Release the legs after the seven breaths and lie down for a couple of breaths before practicing Pranayama.
Children find this practice pretty interesting. It relaxes, de-stresses, and improves focus and memory though its cleansing properties.
Sit down in a comfortable seated Asana. Lengthen the spine. Relax the body and roll the shoulders away from the ears. Rest the palms on the thighs. Close the eyes. Shape the left palm into Jnana Mudra [tips of index and thumb in contact]. Take a slow, deep inhalation.
Lift the right palm and use it to close the alternate nostrils during the practice. Close the right nostril with the thumb. Let the index and middle fingers rest in the space between the eyebrows. Use the ring finger to close the let nostril.
Exhale completely through the left nostril. Take a slow, deep inhalation through the left nostril for a count of 4. Close the left one. Open the right nostril and breathe out through it for a count of 4. Inhale through the right for a count of 4, close the right, open the left, and exhale for a count of 4.
Repeat the process 10 to 15 times.
After completing the Pranayama, lie down on the back and relax in Shavasana for 5 to 7 minutes. This completes the Yoga for Kids sequence.
Teaching children could be a little challenging. The key is to modify the Asanas in such a way that the kids stay glued to the practice.