For children, yoga is a great way to train their muscles’ stability. In kids’ yoga just like adult yoga, many of the poses require balance – body’s strength – to hold themselves up.
Therefore, I think, every yoga class should include a balancing pose. Standing on one leg is challenging and demanding, which in turn builds both inner and outer strength and resilience. Having a strong sense of balance increases proprioception and body awareness. It can also prevent future injuries and falls. Kids obviously need to regularly practice balancing poses to improve their balance. They need to establish a strong foundation for even the most basic balancing asana.
Improving balance is all about strengthening the muscles that support the skeletal system. That means glutes, pelvic floor muscles, inner thighs, quadriceps, lower abdominals, and back muscles. By strengthening these areas slowly, every day, their bodies begin to calculate and know exactly what muscles need to work.
Finally, I would like to remind you of a few things that you can share with your students or children:
- Falling is okay. Do not fight against falling but gaze at a focal point in front of you as you hold yourself still. (Remember that your body is fighting against gravity.)
- In attempting these poses, you need to be humble and kind to yourself.
- The key is to not forget to BREATHE.
- And, most importantly, do not take it all so seriously. Have FUN!
- These are powerful poses to build balance and strength. These poses do not only offer physical strengthening but also offer opportunities for mental and emotional strengthening.
- You can try each pose for up to 5 breaths and remember to work with both sides of your body.
Kids’ Yoga Poses for Strength and Balance
1- Four Breaths with Fingers:
Let’s begin by reminding ourselves breathing so that we can prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally. You will breathe in and out while tapping your other four fingers with your thumb. It does not matter whether you begin with your left or right hand. Let’s begin… With your thumb, touch the top of your pinky finger and breathe in. Move the same thumb to touch the top of your ring finger and breathe out. Move the same thumb to touch the top of your middle finger and breathe in. Finally, move your thumb to touch the top of your index finger and breathe out. Now, you may continue with your other hand.
2- Boat Pose:
Sit on your bottom, knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor. Lift both legs, shins parallel to ground, arms stretch forward, moving the upper body slightly backwards.
3- Side Plank Pose:
From Plank pose, slowly release one hand from the floor and turn the shoulders and hips outwards. Bring your body to almost 90 degrees in alignment with the arm on the floor. Placing one foot over the other, gaze at the extended arm.
4- Upward Facing Dog 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.
5- Downward Facing Dog Pose:
Coming to all fours, tuck the toes, lift your knees. Send your hips up and back.
6- Warrior 1 Pose:
The warrior poses are also excellent for building lower-body strength. Standing up, step one foot forward and bend into the front knee. Turning the back toes out, raise the arms above your head, palms to touch.
7- Warrior 3 Pose:
Standing straight with your feet together, bend your upper body forward bringing it parallel to the floor. Balancing on your right leg, raise your left leg and stretch it behind you. Extend the arms out at shoulder level.
8- Dancer Pose:
Standing tall, lift your right leg up towards your bottom and grab it with your right hand. Lift your leg up to the sky. Pull the right arm and leg up so that they form a bow behind the back. Open the chest and shoulders feeling the stretch.
9- Standing Side Body Stretch:
I know, this pose is not about balance or strength, I wanted to add a stretch between two balancing poses. Standing tall with hands on the sides, sweep the arms up overhead palms touching. Lean over to one side so that the biceps touch the ears.
10- Tree Pose:
Standing tall, bend your right knee. Place your right foot on the inside of your left leg either above or below your knee joint. Bring your hands in front of your heart or you can lift your arms up to the sky.
11- Shoulder stand Pose:
Lying on your back, raise your legs up by placing the arms on the floor and supporting the lower back with the palms. Bring the chest close to the face and stretch the body upwards putting the shoulder firm on the floor. Use the abdominal strength to keep the body light and loose.
Lying down on your back, lift your hips up and support them with your hands. Rounding your spine allow your feet to fall over your head. Move the weight of the body on the shoulders. The legs are straight with the feet touching the floor. If comfortable, stretch your arms on the floor clasping your hands.
Now, you can finish your practice by thanking yourself! Sitting tall and crossing your legs, bring your hands together in touch in front of your chest, in prayer position. Namaste!