During the holiday season we want to feel the excitement of our kids. Christmas is really centered around them and all the cheer they bring, but what about those times that you would like them to calm down for just a moment while also still spending that quality time with them?
Doing yoga with kids always depends on how the kid is feeling. It’s funny how you can allow them to take the lead. I’ve joked and said that yoga comes from babies and toddlers because I always catch them unintentionally in a yoga pose. Whether it be sleeping in child’s pose or playing in downward dog, kids know yoga and do it well.
For those of you who would like to see your toddlers practice yoga intentionally, here are a few ideas you can use to calm, stretch and strengthen your little one.
Most little ones aren’t that aware of their breath but we can incorporate fun ways to show them what it is.
The doggie breath is done by sticking your tongue out and panting like a dog.
Catch a bubble shows children how to take a deep breath. We take a deep breath in then puff out our cheeks to catch a bubble in our mouth. Then blow it out like you’re blowing out a birthday candle.
Bubbles are also a regular visit to my class. I either show breath by blowing the bubbles, or if they’re able, have them use their own breath to blow bubbles.
Balance is pretty hard for someone who just started walking only a year ago. Practice tree pose and airplane pose by holding your toddler’s hands or having them to hold on to something. Also have them try without holding on to anything!
Using animals in kid’s yoga practice is a must for me. I love telling stories with Cat, Downward Dog, Butterfly, Frog (low squat) and Snake (baby cobra). The story can be as simple as: Tommy was walking through the farm and saw all types of different animals. First he saw a cat. He pet the cat and the cat said “meow”. Then the cat saw a mouse and left Tommy to chase it. Next Tommy saw a dog… & so on.
The entire time you talk about that animal, have the kids crawl around like the animal making their noise.
I usually use a singing bowl, but you can use a bell or anything that can repeat a pleasant sound. If the child is toddler age, I usually repeat the the sound 10 times while they close their eyes and count in a whisper. With preschool to school age, I have the children count the amount of dings in their head, ask them how many they heard, then repeat for a few rounds.
Like I said it, doing yoga with kids depends on how the kid is feeling. You may get 15 mins out of them, or maybe only 2. No matter how long, bringing kids’ awareness to their breath and body can boost confidence, give them tools for calming down, maintain their flexibility and enhance their coordination.
Happy Yoga with Tots!
Here are some of my favorite Kid’s Yoga “tools” I’ve used.