There are all types of yoga out there: hot yoga, yin yoga, power yoga, goat yoga…the list goes on. Because we love family-oriented everything here at the Bay Club, our favorite yoga is the kind that includes everyone—even the kids! Little ones can gain all of the benefits of a good yoga pose that adults can: flexibility, strength, mindfulness, and good breathing practices. If you’re looking to introduce your tiny yogi to poses that are both approachable and fun, here are our favorite yoga poses to try with your kids. All you need is a mat and your little sidekick(s)!
And we were so lucky to have the expert Bay Club Marin Yoga Instructor, Grace Ling Yu, and her little ones show us how it’s done. You’ll see that this really is the reality of what doing yoga with your kiddos is like—not the easiest thing, (and getting a four-year-old to hold a pose is not easy!), but definitely fun!
Anything that mimics an animal is sure to appeal to kids! We love Cow-Cat pose for its playful name and its spinal benefits. Inhale as you arch your back into cat pose, then exhale as you bend into cow pose. Try encouraging your child to breath with the transition between cat and cow. After the pose, you can ask them what they saw as a cat (looking down at their mat) and what they saw as a cow (looking up at the sky).
Extended Side Angle Pose
This pose is all about finding lengths, using breath, and building strength in holding the pose. It’s dynamic and challenging and we bet your little one will rise (or should we say stretch?) to the challenge! Help them find Warrior Two position, then lower one arm to meet your thigh. Raise and stretch your other arm overhead. Remind them to keep their hips square and not to crunch into their bent leg.
Kids will love mixing it up by getting down on the mat rather than doing all standing poses. Locust pose is a great chest opener that will also introduce them to backbends. Lying on the mat, extend your arms back to your feet. Lift your chest, then your neck, and remember to look forward—not up or down. From here they can also try kicking their feet, extending their arms forward, and “swimming.”
Some of the most challenging poses for adults are those that test our flexibility. Luckily for kids, they tend to be much more flexible than their elders! Have a little fun with Hero Pose, which stretches the quads and also introduces a seated meditation posture. Kneel on the floor with your thighs perpendicular, and touch your knees together. Slide your feet apart, just a bit wider than your hips, keeping the tops of the feet as flat to the floor as possible.
This could be a great pose to use a blanket or block, or fold your mat for extra cushion under the knees.
We couldn’t resist a balance pose, and what kid doesn’t love imitating an airplane? Standing in mountain pose, move into Airplane by extending just one leg back into the air, balancing on the opposite. Extend your arms in front of you and keep your gaze ahead. Help them master this pose by offering tips like keeping the standing knee soft and leveling both of their hips to face the mat or hold hands as you do the pose. Of course, you can also break the “code of silence” in yoga and break into some airplane noises. We won’t tell anyone!