Mountainside Fitness

How to Practice Yoga with your Children

Getting your child to practice yoga with you might seem like a tall task but during these unprecedented times, children are also feeling stress and anxiety. A wonderful way to help your child manage these emotions is by introducing a simple yoga practice into their routine.

Yoga for kids can look different than yoga for adults, but the benefits are very much the same.  Through yoga, children can develop a sense of security and self-esteem.  It also provides a safe place to creatively express energy and feelings and can increase their flexibility, strength, and mobility. If you are participating with your child, this quality time together can strengthen your relationship and foster deeper bonds.

Kids are drawn to yoga because it’s fun. There’s usually a story involved where they engage in active role-playing, communication, and movement both on and off their mats. Some stories will ask the children to think of solutions to everyday life situations while they are in their respective poses. There will be laughter and wiggling; but also stillness and peace. Yoga for kids can be a great non-competitive activity where all children are accepted and celebrated. Below, we’ve designed a simple yoga practice you can try today with your kids!

Come along as we practice together on a safari adventure!

To begin, sit comfortably on the floor and close your eyes.  Imagine you’re traveling to a faraway country, where you’ll discover all sorts of different animals.  To begin your adventure, you need to be calm and silent.  Take a few quiet deep breaths.  Now let’s get prepared by reaching in front of us & grabbing our backpacks!  Let’s fill it up with supplies.  What things do you think we need for our Safari adventure?  Yes!  Let’s grab that (reaching & twisting in all directions). Okay, we’re ready! 

As silent as you can, come to your hands and knees. Open your eyes and look!  There’s a BEAR crawling around. Our first sighting! Let’s crawl around like the bear! 

Our crawling took us to the edge of the jungle, where the TIGER waits, ready to pounce! Stretch one leg and opposite arm out, bend the knee and reach back to grab it with your hand. Look forward and keep a lookout for other animals. Let’s switch sides and see if we can count how many tigers are there!

The tiger has its eye on the ZEBRA, drinking from the water hole. Kneel and place one foot on top of your leg. Wrap your arms like a zebra head. Dip your head down to drink your water then lift it. We’re so thirsty! Let’s drink lots of water. How much water should we drink every day?

Along the trees, we see a giant PYTHON, slithering amongst the branches. Lay down on the belly and place your hands under your shoulders. Lift your chest high and give a good “hissssssss!” Now let’s make ourselves small up on that branch. Bend your knees and see if you can touch your head with your toes!

As we journey deeper into the jungle we meet the king himself, the mighty LION, with his giant mane. Stand up tall. Place your hands on your back. Press your feet firmly on the ground because we’re gonna bend a little backwards & lift our heads up to the sky and give a big “RAWWWWR!” Oh my goodness, you are powerful!

Way up high, a GIRAFFE reaches to eat the leaves from a very tall tree! Giraffes are vegetarians. Do you know what that means?  What vegetables do you eat at home?  Can you balance on one foot?  It’s okay to use your hand for stability.  Reach up high with your other arm and eat those leaves! Now switch sides and reach for those really tall branches.

Wow, it’s starting to get really hot on our safari adventure! Looking off into the distance, we see a family of ELEPHANTS using mud. Sit back down with one leg straight and one leg bent. Make an elephant trunk out of that bent leg & spray that mud all over! Playing in the mud is fun!  But we should probably clean up now. Let’s switch sides and spray water all over each other this time!

The sun is dropping low now and we’re so far into the jungle, we don’t know how to get back to camp. What should we do? Can you look around and see something that could help us? What are some of the things that help you feel better when you’re scared? That’s a wonderful idea! Look, there are CAMELS!  Camels have a great sense of direction and can help us find our way back!  Kneel once again. Reach back and grab your heels. Lift your chest up high and look up to the sky. 

The slow rhythmic walk of the camels makes us feel tired and heavy. As we make our way back to our camp, we find our beds and lay down. Take a deep breath in and stretch your body out! Sigh all of that breath out and close your eyes. If you want, you can curl into a little ball or you can lay flat on your tummy or back, whatever is most comfortable for you. Now it’s time to rest and think about how grateful we are for the amazing animals we saw. Think about your favorite part of Safari. I’m so proud of you for helping us find our way back to camp, you’re awesome! Take one more big stretch. Let’s sit up nice and tall.  Now that our safari adventure is over, we need to go back home. Imagine yourself flying back to your room. Safe and sound. We did it!  Let’s place our hands in prayer over our hearts. Breath in. Breath out. Namaste.

 

Katy Craner moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 2010, where she joined the Mountainside Fitness family.  She began teaching Zumba, Zumba Toning & Zumba for Kids classes at their Carefree location.  After a brief 12 month relocation to Miami, Florida, she couldn’t wait to come back to Phoenix and continue her fitness passions, adding Group Fitness, PPZ, 200hr RYT Yoga, Yoga for Kids, Barre Intensity, and Silver Sneakers to her teaching licenses.  A 2019 Spirit Award Recipient, she loves teaching at Mountainside Fitness & helping members find happiness and success in their fitness journey, no matter the age.  Some of her favorite hobbies include hand lettering & calligraphy, graphic design, singing, and paddle boarding with her husband and 4 kids.