I have repeatedly gone over the yoga training and resources I took while creating this list. However, please do not take these animal yoga poses as unchangeable. This list has been created just to inspire you and guide the beginners and parents.
As kids’ yoga teachers, our first aim is to move with body and breath awareness, and of course to have fun! Therefore, do not be too strict. For example, you can turn a Dancing Dog pose into a Dancing Giraffe pose.
I tried to simplify some poses based on my experiences with children. For example, I changed the Tortoise Pose (Kurmasana), thinking it might be difficult for children.
While I made some definitions such as with right hand and left foot, some of them were expressed as the other hand and the opposite foot, etc. You can decide how it is better to tell according to age groups. (Remember that younger age groups do not know right and left.)
Always be flexible and creative. For example, if there is a chicken, a duck and a goose in the same story, then one may be the Chicken pose, the other the Chick pose, and the other the Rooster pose…
And most importantly, imitate animal sounds during the postures and have fun!
Remember to combine these animal yoga poses with a fun yoga game!
Or, you may like to add some partner yoga poses for kids to your kids yoga lesson plan.
Animal Yoga Poses for Kids:
Standing up, bend your knees and drop your hips until your upper leg is as close to parallel to the floor as possible. Stretch the arms out at shoulder level.
Lie on your back. Feet together, bring your knees towards your chest. Clasp your hands around your legs as if you are hugging your knees. (Pawanmuktasana – Knee Hugging)
Bat, Monkey Swinging from a Tree Pose:
From standing position, open your legs wide. Placing your hands on your hips, fold forward from the hip. Move the head towards the floor looking upside down. (Prasarita Padottanasana – Wide Leg Standing Forward Bend)
The feet lesser than hip distance, lower your hips and bend your knees. Leaning forward, stretch your arms in front of you bringing it parallel to the floor. Hands can be clasped. (Utkatasana Variation Forward Stretch – Chair Pose Variation Forward Stretch)
Bear Walks Pose:
Press into your hands and feet and lift your bottom to the sky. Coming up onto your tiptoes, walk by lifting opposite leg and arm at the same time.
Sitting comfortably, close your eyes and ears with your fingers. Take a deep breath in through your nose and breathe out making a humming sound of the bee which is smooth and pleasant. Keep the eyes closed and remain in silence paying attention to the sound echoing deep within. It helps to keep the mind calm. (Bhramari Pranayama – Bumble Bee Breath)
Sit on your knees. Take three short and quick breaths in through your nose. Breathe out through your mouth with a long and smooth sigh.
Coming to seating position, bring the soles of the feet together. Flutter your knees up and down just like butterfly wings. (Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose)
Butterfly Wings Pose:
Sitting on your bottom, bend your legs at the knees. Hold on to the big toes with your hands. Raise the legs off the floor, extending them outwards beyond your hip distance. Balance your body on sitting bones. (Urdhva Upavistha Konasana – Upward Facing Wide Angle Seated)
Standing on your knees, toes can be tucked or long. Place your hands on your lower back, fingers pointing up or down. Pressing the hip bones forward, lift your chest to the sky. Arching your back, look up. (Ustrasana Variation 1 – Camel Variation 1)
Hands and knees in tabletop position, round your spine. Let your head drop down, tucking chin to chest. (Marjaryasana)
Come to hands and knees. Raise the neck upwards, bringing the belly towards the floor while curving the lower back inwards. Extend the hip outwards and slightly upwards. (Bitilasana)
Cat Walk Pose:
Place your hands and knees on the floor. While resting the left knee on the floor, raise the right knee and bring it closer to the bent left elbow, gazing inwards. In this pose the opposite knee and the opposite elbows are in the air while the body is balancing on the other knee and arm. (Dandayamana Bharmanasana Knee To Nose – Balancing Table Pose With Knee To Nose Flow)
Chick, Sparrow Pose:
From Downward Facing Dog Pose, bring the right foot in between the hands. Drop the left knee on the floor. Bending forward, straighten the right leg by walking with the toes in front. Slowly lift the toes off the ground. Keep the shoulders away from the ears, and try to extend the arms as far towards the back as possible. Keep the elbows straight. (Ardha Hanumanasana Hasta Vimanasana – Half Monkey Airplane Arms)
Chicken, Duck, Goose, Turkey Pose:
Crouching down, balance on your tiptoes. Place your hands below your armpits. For a challenge, you can flap your wings!
Clam, Oyster Pose:
From a seated position, bring the soles of your feet together. Fold forward, resting your hands on your feet. Your head should hang down toward your heels. (Baddha Konasana Pose Variation Forward Bend – Butterfly Pose Variation Forward Bend)
Sitting on your bottoms, walk your hands behind you, fingers pointing towards your hips. Feet flat, bend your knees. Lift your hips up off the ground. (Ardha Purvottanasana – Reverse Table Top)
Lie on your side, your arms long over your head. Raise the top leg up towards the ceiling. Taking the leg up and down, open your big crocodile jaws. (Sahaja Anantasana – Easy Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose)
Crow, Raven Pose:
Crouching down, place your hands on the floor. Place your knees onto the back of upper arms, close to your armpits. Balance the body here on your toes. Bending forward, put the weight on the wrists and the arms. Try to lift one foot up and then the other, focusing to look down. (Bakasana)
Crow Walking Pose:
Squatting down, place the palms on the knees. Take small steps in squatting position, walking with the knees alternating them. (Kawa Chalasana)
Dancing Dog Pose:
From dog pose, lifting the left leg and bending at the knee and flipping it over, place the left foot with the heels raised off the floor. So the chest is gently turned upward with the help of the rotation of the left shoulder. With a backbend, take the left hand extending behind and gently throw the head back. (Camatkarasana – Wild Thing Pose)
Dinosaur, Giant Pose:
Standing up, legs wide, move into a forward bend. Take hold of your ankles. Lift up one foot after the other. Walk with your big dinosaur/giant footsteps. (Prasarita Padottanasana D – Wide Legged Standing Forward Bend Walk)
Coming to all fours, tuck the toes, lift your knees. Send your hips up and back. (Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog)
On all fours, place your forearms on the mat as wide as your shoulders and parallel to each other. Lift your hips up, extending your legs with your feet grounded. Bring the head between the arms and look downwards. (Catur Svanasana)
Standing up, come down onto one knee. Reaching your arms over your head, lift your chest. You may link your thumbs together and stick out your tongue as you breath out dragon fire. (Anjaneyasana – Crescent Low Lunge)
Standing up, bend the knees slightly. Lift left leg up and wrap it over the right leg. Hook the top of left foot behind right calf. Straighten your hands. Right arm on top and left arm under, wrap together pressing the palms together. Raise the arms to the level of the chest. (Garudasana)
Standing tall, take your feet wide apart. Reach one arm high to the sky like an elephant trunk, the other arm behind the back. Sway like an elephant swinging its trunk. Move it around as you wish.
Extend your legs long and point your toes. Drop down onto your elbows, resting on your forearms. Slide your hands underneath your buttocks. Lift your chest up, letting the head rest lightly on the mat. (Matsyasana)
Standing tall, lift one leg back towards your bottom grasping your foot. Lift your other arm up to the sky. Keep the chest out while maintaining the balance as a graceful flamingo.
Come onto your knees and place the palms on the floor. Lift one leg, bending at the knee. Pointing the toes to the sky, look up. (Vyaghrasana – Balancing Table Pose Variation)
Fox Holding its Tail, Dancing Animal Pose:
Come on all four placing the palms on the floor just below the shoulders and place the knees at hip distance apart. Raise one leg bending at the knee and reach your opposite hand around grab your foot or ankle. Look straight ahead. (Vyaghrasana Variation 1)
Squat down with your fingertips on the floor. Push up to your tiptoes, take heels off the floor and hop!
Standing tall, we reach our hands up tall, making a long giraffe neck and start walking with your long giraffe legs.
Goat, Deer, Reindeer Pose:
Sitting tall, take your legs out long. Bend one leg and place your foot onto the outside of the long leg. Place the opposite elbow to the outside of the bent knee. Placing your other hand behind, twist the upper body and look over your shoulder. (Ardha Matsyendrasana Variation Hand Up Leg – Half Lord of the Fishes Variation Hand Up Leg)
Place your legs wide apart. Folding forward from your hips, make your hands into fists and thump the floor like a strong gorilla. (Prasarita Padottanasana – Wide Legged Forward Bend)
Grasshopper, Dragonfly, Cricket, Scorpion Pose:
Lying on your tummy, palms to the sides of the chest, lift your left leg up and rest it on top of your right foot for support (knee on foot). Rest your chin on the mat. (Salabhasana Variation B – Stag Locust/Supported One-Legged Locust)
Ladybug, Beetle Pose:
Lying on your back, bring your knees into your chest with the soles of your feet towards the ceiling. Gently grab the inside of your feet, pressing the soles deep downwards. Keep the shoulders relaxed with the neck. (Ananda Balasana)
Horse, Zebra Pose:
Step one foot forward and put your back knee down, tucking the toes. Sweep your arms up, palms to touch above your head. (Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge)
Bring your feet together or a little apart. Bending your knees, lean forward. Bring your hands together in front of your chest, pointing the fingers down like kangaroo paws. (Utkatasana Variation – Chair Pose Variation)
Kneeling up, hands wide, inhale and then exhale with an haaaa letting the tongue drop down and the eyes open wide. Let everything release with this roar. (Simhasana)
Lizard, Gecko, Chameleon, Iguana Pose:
Standing up, place your both hands on the floor. Step one foot back to make a straight line, keeping your knee off the mat. Walk your front foot out to the edge of the mat so that your hands are down inside of your front foot. You can stay on your hands or lower to your forearms for a deeper stretch. (Utthan Pristhasana)
Standing with your legs wide, bend your knees and squat down. Bring your arms out like a cactus, your hands pointing up towards your head like lobster claws. (Utkata Konasana – Goddess Pose)
Monkey Jump, Chimpanzee, Baboon Pose:
Crouching down, leap up like a monkey into the air.
Sitting on your heels, bend forward. Rest your forehead on the mat in front of you. Place your arms wherever you feel comfortable, they can be extended or down by your sides. (Balasana – Child’s Pose)
Lying on your back, raise your legs and arms up. Move your legs and arms in all directions and very slowly.
Standing up tall on your knees, raise your arms spreading your wings wide and long. Keep your palms downward facing. Gently move your wings as you fly up and down.
Parrot, Bird, Toucan Pose:
Open your legs wide. Come halfway up into a flat back. Lift your arms out at your side like wings floating up and down as you fly like a bird. (Ardha Prasarita Padottanasana Hasta Vimansanasa – Half Wide Legged Forward Bend Pose Airplane Hands)
Lie on your back, arms down by your sides. Lift your legs up to the sky and open your legs wide like opening peacock feathers. (Viparita Karani Variation – Legs Up the Wall Wide)
Standing with your legs and heels together, arms to sides and palms facing down, now let’s walk and waddle side to side like a penguin.
Pig, Warthog Pose:
Hands and knees on the floor, make your hands into fists and tuck your toes like pig trotters.
On all fours, bring your right knee to your right wrist. Your shin may be in line with the short end of the mat. Stretch the left leg out behind. Come to your fingertips and push the chest out. And you may fold over your front leg. (Ardha Kapotasana – Half Pigeon Pose)
Polar Bear Pose:
Kneeling up, knees wide, bring your big toes together. Taking your hips back towards your heels, relax your body towards the floor. Make a cup over your nose with your hands. (Balasana Variation – Wide Child’s Pose)
Puppy Dog, Mole Pose:
On all fours, walk your hands to the front of the mat, bringing your forearms to the ground. Lower your chest towards the floor. Entire hips moving upwards, bring your face to rest on the floor. (Uttana Shishosana – Extended Puppy Pose)
Rabbit, Hare Pose:
Sitting on your heels, lean forward. Stretch your arms and shoulders behind you. Interlock your fingers, opening your chest. Bend forward from your hips lifting your arms up to the sky. (Balasana Variation)
Lying down on your tummy, rise up placing the hands on the floor in front of you. Bring one arm over and above the other elbow and bring the palms to face each other (similar to Eagle pose). Lock the elbows and lift your chest off the floor a bit. (Combination of Sphinx and Eagle Poses)
Place your hands below your armpits. Lifting the right foot up, bring it towards your bottom. Stand on the left leg. For a challenge, you can flap your wings and try to balance!
Seal, Wolf Pose:
Lying down on your tummy, place the palms on the floor close to your chest. Raising the upper body from the floor, stretch the arms out by pushing the palms on the floor. Keep your shoulders away from ears. (Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana – Upward Facing Dog)
Lying down on your tummy with face down, place your arms close to your body to the sides. Raise both legs from the waist. Raising your chest off the floor, extend your arms behind your back and clasp your hands together. (Salabhasana Baddha Hasta – Locust Pose Bound Hands)
Snake, Caterpillar, Worm Pose:
Lie on your tummy, bring the hands up by the side of the chest, push the hands into the floor and lift your chest up. (Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose)
Squat with the feet as wide as shoulders. Place your hands inside your feet, walking your fingers around the back of your feet. Lock the knees around your elbows as you bring the ankles in front of you. (Bhujapidasana – Shoulder Pressing)
Squirrel, Meerkat, Badger Pose:
High on your knees, curl your toes. Slowly lower down and sit on your heels with toes curled under. Bring your hands together in front of your chest, pointing the fingers down like squirrel paws. (Vajrasana Variation – Thunderbolt Pose Variation On Toes)
Squirrel Collecting Acorn Pose:
Squatting down, bring your left shoulder on the inside of your left knee and place your left hand down. Lift your right arm up, opening your chest to the right and looking up towards the lifted arm. (Parivrtta Malasana – Revolved Squat)
Tiger, Leopard, Jaguar Pose:
Hands and knees on the floor, bring one arm out extending in front of you at shoulder level. Extend the opposite leg out behind you at hip level. Balance the body on one palm and knee. (Dandayamana Bharmanasana – Balancing Table/Sunbird Pose)
Turtle, Tortoise Pose:
Sitting up, bring the soles of your feet in touch. Slide your arms under your legs lowering your body down towards the floor in front. (Baddha Konasana Forward Bend Arms Under Legs – Butterfly Pose Forward Bend Arms Under Legs)
Tweety Bird, Hummingbird, Nightingale Pose:
Sitting back on your heels, cross your arms over and grab your shoulders. Try making your elbows like a beak by giving yourself a big hug.
Step your left foot forward, keeping your left knee bent. Come up onto the toes of the right foot. Raise your arms overhead, palms to touch. (Ashta Chandrasana – Crescent High Lunge Pose)
Lying on your back, bring the feet close to you bending both the knees. Place the arms on the floor besides you. Using the support of the arms and feet, raise the lower back high up towards the sky. The shoulders are firm on the floor. Then, slowly bring the entire body back to the floor. (Setubandha Sarvangasana – Bridge Pose)