Yoga is an excellent exercise for children from birth to the teen years and into adulthood. This article shares the benefits of yoga for kids, beginning yoga poses, basic sequences, and easy activities and ideas that can help parents, teachers, and caregivers get children started with yoga at home or in the classroom.
Yoga for kids is a fantastic calming activity that can help children (and adults) calm down, and learn to self-regulate–in addition to many other mental-emotional, physical, and spiritual benefits. The practice of yoga can also help children develop mindfulness, relieve stress and anxiety, increase confidence and awareness, and build strength and flexibility.
And, the best thing about yoga is that it can be practiced indoors or outdoors, from birth to adulthood–even in a small space! Toddlers, preschoolers, and kids of all ages can enjoy doing this excellent anxiety-relieving and stress-releasing exercise. Look at this list of FREE Yoga Videos for Kids to get your children started at home or in the classroom today!
Benefits of Yoga for Kids:
- Calm down and learn to self-regulate.
- Develop mindfulness.
- Relieve and release stress and anxiety.
- Build focus and concentration skills.
- Increase self-awareness and improve self-confidence.
- Strengthen the mind and the body. (Yoga can help strengthen both the will and gross-motor muscles when practiced regularly over time.)
- Increase flexibility in body and mind.
- And, get the exercise they need–even in a small space indoors!
Related: Calm Down Sensory Bottles 101
How do You Get Started with Yoga for Kids?
As a parent, caregiver, or educator, it can be challenging to know how to get children started with yoga for kids, especially if you have never practiced yoga before. Even as a certified yoga instructor, I struggled with the hows and whys of getting children started with the practice of yoga.
You are never too young or old to start practicing yoga. Have a look at this collection of free yoga videos for kids to get started today!
Unfortunately, I had to learn a lot from my mistakes. The good news is that you don’t have to repeat my mistakes because I am sharing everything I have learned and a wealth of mind-blowing yoga resources for children, parents, and educators everywhere. Scroll down to learn all my best tips and tricks.
Yoga for Kids Lesson #1 – Don’t Wait, Start Now!
Don’t wait to get started–even infants can join mom on the yoga mat! Scroll down to learn how to get children from toddlers to teens started with yoga using the kids’ yoga tips below.
Yoga for Kids Lesson #2 – Know Your Audience
When it comes to yoga for kids, age does matter. The general learning style of the age group of children that you will be teaching will be your ally and friend.
Learn how to teach babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, school-aged children, and teens yoga–based on how they learn best. Follow the tips and kids’ yoga ideas for each age group to help you get started today!
Yoga for Kids Lesson #3 – Establish a Regular time to Practice Yoga
The hardest part about yoga for children is getting kids started. One of the best tips I can offer is, instead of wondering how to practice yoga, plan when to practice yoga!
It is much easier for kids to practice yoga when parents and educators create a regular time and space for it in our daily routine or rhythm.
When we designate a regular day and time for children to practice yoga, we will be helping kids create the habit of doing yoga. Children thrive on rhythm at home and in the classroom and will come to expect it is time for yoga.
It is a lot easier to make children’s yoga practice a regular reoccurring habit–rather than some random thing they “do” every once in a while. Even just a few postures a day (or a few moments in meditation) can help children develop the daily habit of practicing yoga.
How to Make Time for Yoga at Home or in the Classroom
The easiest way to make time for yoga is to create a daily and weekly routine at home or in the classroom.
Learn how to plan a powerful daily routine and download our FREE weekly planner to help you get started! And please remember yoga lesson number 1 listed above–don’t wait, do it today!
Yoga for Kids From Infants to Teens
Kids’ yoga is a great calming activity for children (and adults) that anyone can practice indoors or outdoors.
The practice of yoga can help children calm down, develop mindfulness, increase confidence and self-awareness, relieve stress, and increase strength and flexibility in both body and mind.
Babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, elementary-aged kids, tweens, and teens all benefit from practicing this type of exercise regularly.
Scroll down to learn how to get children started with yoga for kids from birth through the teen years!
We have included beginning yoga poses for kids, beginning vinyasa yoga flow sequences, and yoga videos for kids that can help parents and educators teach children yoga at home or in the classroom.
Babies learn best through imitation and modeling; this is why mom and baby yoga is the best way to get infants started with yoga for kids. Mom and baby yoga is every mother’s ticket to much-needed self-care and stress release.
When my daughter was an infant, I longed for the yoga practice I once had. I mistakenly thought my primary duty was to entertain her, so I sacrificed my needs for hers–which is never a good idea. Little did I know how wrong I was.
She needed to see me taking care of myself and learn that my needs were just as important as hers. My daughter also needed to see her mommy’s body move so her body could model the movements and learn.
Even more importantly, she needed to experience that she is perfectly capable of entertaining herself whenever I take the time to care for myself. Please don’t make the same mistake I did.
Benefits of Mom and Baby Yoga
- Babies learn basic yoga poses and postures known as asanas by watching their mother and may even imitate some of the primary motions from time to time.
- Mom will get the time she desperately needs to stretch her mind and body, practice self-care, and develop mindfulness.
- Baby will benefit in body, mind, and spirit, even if they don’t “do” any baby yoga. “Mommy and me” yoga class benefits can show up in a baby’s movement and breath patterns in other activities or even years later. Then a child watches their mother’s body practice yoga as a baby, and their body will remember what they learned, even if they never practice yoga again!
- If your toddler is not interested in toddler yoga poses, they will learn that this is your time and will eventually find other ways to entertain themselves.
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The best way to help toddlers learn basic yoga poses is to invite them to watch and imitate a parent or teacher. Like babies, toddlers learn best by watching others, except they are much more mobile–lol–watch out, mom!
In other words, if your child is under the age of 3, the best way to get started with yoga for children is to allow them to watch you practice, even if you have never practiced before.
Pop in a yoga video, or click on one of the FREE kids’ yoga videos listed below, and practice with your toddler the first few times they practice yoga.
Don’t worry; you don’t need to make your baby or toddler sit there and watch. Include them in your yoga practice or let them do what they want, but please don’t place them in front of a TV while you practice.
Benefits of Mommy and Me Yoga
Baby watching you practice yoga has several benefits for mother and child.
- Young children can learn basic yoga postures and yoga sequences for toddlers by watching a teacher, parent, or caregiver.
- Mom gets time to take care of herself and make the time to commit to her yoga practice.
- Toddler yoga can help children under three learn essential calming and self-regulation skills.
- If your young child is not interested in toddler yoga poses, continue with your yoga practice. Do not stop your routine just because your toddler is not interested in doing yoga on any given day. Your toddler will eventually learn that this is your time and will find ways to entertain themselves, and they will still learn by watching you practice, even if they aren’t paying much attention. Positive lifelong habits start in the subconscious minds of young children.
Related: Natural Toys for Toddlers
Yoga for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners
Preschool-aged children and kindergarteners also benefit from watching a parent, caregiver, or teacher. Because, like toddlers, it’s a lot easier to learn how to do most yoga poses by watching and imitating others. Children in this age group may also be interested in group yoga for preschoolers in a class setting.
My daughter and I had a blast practicing mommy and me yoga together. You can find some of our favorite yoga videos for purchase and the best FREE yoga videos for kids listed below.
Suppose your child expresses the desire to practice with you. Get a child-sized yoga mat and either pop in a children’s yoga video or allow them to follow along with you and your yoga practice whenever and however they please.
Try this yoga for kids video by We Heart Yoga–it shows how to do a simple short yoga class with young children.
If you choose to pop in a yoga video for kids, it’s a good idea to do yoga with your preschooler, so they experience success and enjoy yoga. Even more yoga videos for kids are listed below.
Whatever you do, don’t force young children to do the whole practice with you. Keep an eye on them and continue to let them come and go and do yoga however they please.
Once again, lifelong positive habits start in the positive routines that parents and caregivers create for young children and live inside their subconscious minds until they blossom in adulthood.
Yoga for Older Children and Teens
Elementary school-age children and teens do the best learning yoga in a class environment with positive role models and peers.
Start older children and teens off in the privacy of their own homes with any of the kids’ yoga ideas in the next section. Or sign them up for a kids’ yoga class at your local school, gym, or yoga studio that caters to their age, experience, and ability.
Search for “kids yoga classes” or “kids yoga classes near me” to find a children’s yoga class near you.
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Kids Yoga Ideas for Toddlers to Teens
There are many ways for children to get started with yoga. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:
- Invite children to watch you practice yoga and allow them to practice with you. See the benefits of mommy and me yoga in the section above for more information.)
- Pop in a yoga video for children, or try a FREE kids yoga video. We have a list of a few yoga videos for kids you can have a look at to get started. It is best to watch and practice with your children a few times before inviting them to practice yoga on their own.
- Sign children up for a kids yoga class. Try a google search for “yoga classes for kids near me” or “yoga for kids near me.”
- Find a mommy and me yoga class or start a local group of moms and children that practice mommy and me yoga together.
- Have fun playing “The Yoga Garden Game” with your children.
- Try playing with Yoga Activity Blocks.
- Teach children a few of the basics yoga poses for kids and activities listed in “Beginning Yoga Poses and Activities” below.
- Play and learn with yoga decks and yoga pose cards for kids:
Best Yoga Equipment and Resources For Kids
One of the best things about yoga practice for kids is that you don’t need much space or equipment. The only piece of yoga equipment that children need is comfortable clothing and a kids yoga mat to get started with yoga for kids. In the beginning, children don’t even need a yoga mat; all they need is enough space to move into each yoga pose for kids.
We have found that having a few kids’ yoga videos are also a worthwhile investment. More have kids’ yoga videos that we like below.
Yoga Props for Kids
Many more yoga props are available, but children only need them. If your child needs a little help getting into some yoga poses for kids, you may also want to invest in some yoga blocks and a yoga strap. Yoga bolsters and yoga sandbags are excellent for gentle restorative yoga postures.
And, if your children need a bit more help with calming strategies and self-regulation skills, you may also want to invest in a lavender eye pillow, a few yoga sandbags, and a book about restorative yoga poses.
Best Yoga Videos for Kids
- Kids Yoga DVD – Once Upon a Mat – Children Ages 2.5+
- Cosmic Kids Yoga Series
- Yoga for Families
- Kids World Yoga
- Animal Yoga Video for Kids
- Squish the Fish
- ABC Alphabet Yoga Video for Kids
- Child Yoga Video: Silly to Calm
Related: Best FREE Yoga Videos for Kids
Best Yoga Books for Kids
Books about yoga for children are a fantastic resource to help them learn basic yoga postures for kids and develop mindfulness.
Here’s a list of some of the best yoga books for kids to help your children develop a kind and peaceful heart through yoga and mindfulness.
- I am Yoga
- Yoga and Mindfulness for Kids
- Goodmorning Yoga
- Goodnight Yoga
- Yoga for Kids and Their Grown-Ups
- Yoga Bug
- Breathe Like a Bear
- Yoga Bear
- Meddy Teddy: Mindful Poses for Little Yogis
- Yoga for Children
- You Are a Lion
- ABC Yoga
- Yoga and Mindfulness Practices for Children
- The ABCs of Yoga for Kids
Beginning Yoga Exercises for Kids
Before learning yoga poses for kids, it’s a good idea to teach them a few basic breathing techniques. Try the simple breathing exercises below to get started!
Big Belly Breathing
Big belly breathing teaches children to fill their lungs and helps them learn to relax their breathing.
- Invite children to lay on the floor with knees bent or sit in a comfortable seated position.
- First, place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
- Next, take a deep breath through your nose. When you inhale, push your belly into your hand to move it away from the spine. And once the stomach is full, allow the breath to move up and fill the chest.
- Finally, allow your lungs to empty as you exhale slowly. Then squeeze your belly button toward your spine as you continue to exhale. Use the hand on your belly to help you push all the air out.
- Once the belly button almost touches the spine, allow your belly to rise again as you begin the next “Big Belly” breath cycle with an inhale.
- Take your time with each breath. Repeat these steps 3 to 10 times.
Combining Movement with the Breath
In yoga, all movement follows the breath. We inhale to move and exhale to move. There is no movement without the breath, and the breath moves the body–not the other way around.
Learning to take long, full, deep breaths and move with the breath is one of the most critical aspects of hatha yoga. Hatha yoga consists of the yoga postures or asanas that most people think of when you mention yoga.)
Beginning Yoga Flow for Kids: Combining Arm Movements with the Breath
An easy way to teach this is with the simple arm movements of Sura Namaskar. That’s the fancy Sanskrit way of saying, inhale to reach your arms up and exhale again.
- Stand in mountain pose (tadasana). Feet hip-width apart, hands at sides, palms forward, shoulders back, tailbone tucked, the crown of the head reaching for the sky, chin slightly tucked.
- Inhale, reach arms up from the sides until fingertips touch.
- Exhale arms back down at the sides.
- Move slowly, taking nice deep long breaths.
- Repeat these steps 3 to 10 times.
Sun Salutations for Kids
Once your children master moving with the breath, they can learn how to do sun salutations. Although traditionally practiced in the morning, you can use this vinyasa yoga flow anytime to warm up the body, day or night.
Sun salutations are precisely what they sound like–a salute to the sun, typically the morning sun, or the sun at the summer solstice. But anytime is a good time for a sun salutation.
Here’s a great 5-minute sun salutation yoga flow for kids. Invite your children to try the beginning yoga video below, sharing how to do a basic sun salutation!
Yoga Poses (postures, Asanas) for Kids
Yoga poses are the postures known in Sanskrit as ananas, which yogis, young and old, practice to make up a yoga class.
Among my favorite resources for yoga poses for children (besides the yoga videos and books listed above) are yoga pose posture cards (with how to do different yoga asanas) and yoga posters for kids. You may also enjoy any yoga pose resources for children on the list towards the bottom of this post.
Beginning Yoga Poses for Kids
“Introducing your children to yoga at an early age can help them learn healthy lifestyle habits and set the foundation for a fit future. Get your family practice started with these kid-friendly yoga poses.”(source)
Kids Yoga Stories
Learn yoga poses for kids and download posters (and yoga pose cards) for kids at THIS unique yoga resource for children.
Kids Yoga Resources for Parents and Educators
Kids yoga is a fun activity for kids, and kids can get the exercise and stress release they need in small spaces! This article contains tips for kids of all ages to start a yoga practice. Even infants can get in on the fun!
We hope you enjoyed this fantastic yoga resource for children, parents, caregivers, and educators. Get your children started with yoga to help them reap all the benefits of regular yoga practice. Start with this collection of FREE yoga videos for kids!
If you are still having trouble–scroll back up to the top of this post about yoga for kids and start with Yoga for Kids Lesson #1!
You may also enjoy books that help children understand their feelings and 15 Ways to Raise a Helper.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!