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34 Kids Yoga Exercises That Boost Self Esteem (And Physical Flexibility)

34 Kids Yoga Exercises That Boost Self Esteem (And Physical Flexibility)

Kids these days face more challenges than any generation that came before.

Between cyber-bullying, the over-use of technology in general and things like STAAR testing, the amount of stress kids face is incredible.

Add to that a busier work schedule for parents that often has both parents working outside the home, and it’s no wonder kids may feel overwhelmed.

As we look for ways to boost their self-esteem, kids yoga is one of the most powerful activities you may not have thought of.

How yoga helps you and your kids

Yoga has been popular in our culture for decades now.

It can be done at home on your own or in a yoga studio. You can even pull up your favorite style of yoga on YouTube and follow along. Aside from maybe a yoga mat, no special equipment is needed.

Yoga is a great exercise for both reducing stress and centering and calming the mind. But it also builds core strength and balance.

Yoga comes from India and was created thousands of years ago.

In Sanskrit, yoga means “to unite”. In this case, the union is between the mind and the body or even the spirit and body.

While yoga is part of the Hindu religion it has been embraced by all cultures and religions across the world.

With its heavy focus on the breath, yoga is a great way to build coordination and flexibility while naturally helping with stress management.

Learn more about why you should do yoga here:

7 Reasons You Should Start Doing Yoga Immediately

Thus, finding ways to incorporate kids yoga into your child’s activity schedule is a great way to help them navigate the sometimes troubled waters of adolescence.

The self-esteem challenges kids face today

Kids today face incredible challenges.

Bullying, especially cyber-bullying on social media, has become rampant over the past decade. So finding ways to teach our kids how to overcome bullying is crucial.

But we also see our kids stressed and challenged by:

  • High parental and school expectations
  • Body image issues
  • Peer pressure

All of these can take their toll on our kid’s self-esteem. They can lead to depression, drug or alcohol abuse or even suicidal thoughts.

So as parents, we must find a way to help our kids.

Kids yoga is an easy way to help your child improve their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.

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The proven benefits of kids yoga

The benefits of kids yoga are many, but a few of the top ones are:

  • Improve their body awareness
  • Improved stress management
  • Builds focus and concentration
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem
  • Improved coordination and flexibility

In short, kids yoga is an easy way to get them moving and off electronic devices. It’s also a healthy weight management practice too. Of course there are other healthy exercises for kids too, so check them all out:

34 Best kids yoga exercises that your kids will love

At first your child may be resistant to yoga. After all if their friends or favorite YouTubers aren’t doing it, it’s not cool. So make a commitment with them. Get them to agree to trying it for a set period of time (ideally 2-4 weeks minimum).

Kids aren’t likely to just quietly do gentle yoga poses for an hour with meditational music in the background. So once you get that commitment, then it’s crucial to find ways to make it fun and keep them motivated.

If we want them to love yoga (and they will), we have to make it appealing to them. Remember this is about the end result, so whether your local yoga guru would approve isn’t relevant.

For these kids yoga poses, we’re using the common names in English rather than the traditional Sanskrit names. We’ve also adapted some of the poses to be done with the aid of a chair to make them easier for younger kids.

Easiest kids yoga poses to start with

These are some easy poses that are great for beginners or younger kids.

1. Bow Pose

    Have your child lie flat on their tummy with arms laying alongside their body with palms up. Have them bend the knees and bring the feet towards their head.[1]

    Take a deep breath and lift the chest, looking forward. Then have them reach their arms back and grab their ankles.

    2. Bridge Pose

      Have them lie on their back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Knees should be hip width apart. Arms should be down alongside the body with palms facing down. Have their fingers touch the back of the heels.[2]

      Then tuck the chin into the chest, and as they breathe in, lift the bottom off the ground and press up.

      The most fun kids yoga games

      3. Yoga Pose Musical Dots

      Cut out circles on different colors of construction paper. Write the name of a different yoga pose on each circle. Play some fun music that your kids like.

      Then, as with musical chairs, have them walk slowly around the circle and then randomly stop the music. Instead of 1 person getting taken out of the game, the kids simply have to do the pose written on their circle.

      4. Yoga Pose Detective

      Call out different options (ie: “Show me a yoga pose with 1 foot on the ground”) and let the kid(s) choose from any of the yoga poses they know that match the description.

      Easiest kids yoga poses for improved coordination

      5. Mountain Pose

        Have your child stand with their feet at hip distance apart. Have them press their feet down into the ground to create a solid base. Stand up straight with arms at their sides. Have them turn the palms forward and spread the fingers wide. Keep a straight back as they lift from the crown of their head to the sky.[3]

        6. Chair Pose

          From a seated position, stand in Mountain Pose. Have them lift their arms up in front of them at about a 45 degree angle while looking at their hands. Then have them sink their posture as if they were going to sit, but have them not touch the seat.

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          The best kids yoga poses to calm the mind

          7. Lotus Pose

            Have them start by sitting on the floor with legs extended. Bend the right knee and bring the foot across to meet the left elbow. Place the right foot and the left elbow together while having the right knee meet the right elbow. Bring hands together in a prayer-type position. Have them lightly sway back and forth to open the hips.[4]

            8. Child’s Pose

              Sit back on the heels and lean forward with the arms stretched out in front and palms flat on the ground. Have them bring their forehead to the floor. Then they lay their chest on the thighs. Then bring the arms alongside the body.[5]

              Best yoga poses for building strength

              9. Boat Pose

                Have them sit with a tall back and the legs bent a little bit in front of them. Have them lean back a little and place their arms straight out in front. Then have them balance on their bottom, and raise the feet off the ground. Have them gently rock back and forth.[6]

                10. Dolphin Plank

                  Have them start in a push-up position and then bring the forearms to the ground. Place the elbows right under their shoulders. Gently lock the fingers together and make sure they keep their belly, hips and knees off the ground.

                  Top kids yoga poses for healthy weight management

                  11. Upward Facing Dog

                    Have them start by lying flat on the belly, with their hands under the shoulders and elbows tucked in. Ask them to press up off the floor leaving their lower body on the ground. Press up and stretch before resting back down.

                    12. Triangle Pose

                      From a standing position have them extend arms out and spread the legs wide. Turn left foot out and reach down with their left hand and grab their own left ankle. Extend the right arm straight up and press up. Repeat on the other side.[7]

                      The top animal poses (That kids will love to copy)

                      13. Cobra Pose (with a chair)

                        Have them sit at the very front of a chair. Ask them to open their chest, pressing the chest up and arching up slightly, bringing the shoulder blades towards each other. Hold on to the back of the chair seat and focus the gaze upwards.[8]

                        14. Cow Pose

                          Have your child sit at the front of a chair, with their feet flat on the ground. Ask them to place the palms of their hands on their knees. Focusing on the breath have them look up slightly, while arching their back, and opening the chest.[9]

                          The best poses for building outrageous flexibility

                          15. Downward Dog Pose

                            Stand in front of a chair, facing the chair. Have them place their hands on the front of the chair while slowly stepping back. Have their arms outstretched in front of them. Keep the back flat while ensuring the legs are hip-width apart. Their gaze should be down between the legs.[10]

                            16. Tree Pose

                              Stand behind a chair. Hold on to the back of the chair with one hand. Then have them shift their weight and balance on the leg closest to the chair. Bend the knee of the other leg and place the sole of that foot on the inner thigh or calf of the standing leg. While balancing, gently sway and focus on the breath.[11]

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                              The proven power of the breath in kids yoga

                              17. Lion’s Breath

                                This style of breathing is one of the most fun for kids yoga. With Lion’s Breath, kids inhale deeply through the nose. Then they lean their head back and open their mouth wide while exhaling loudly and sticking their tongue out.[12]

                                18. Breath of Fire

                                  Used in Bikram yoga, this style of breathing is great for warming up the abs. Practice the Breath of Fire by having the kids sit tall. Then ask them to inhale gently through the nose. As they breathe in, they begin to exhale out through the nose rapidly while sucking in their stomach in quick succession.[13]

                                  Best kids yoga poses for kids with autism

                                  19. Warrior I Pose

                                    The warrior poses are done in a deep lunge stance. For warrior 1, have your child stretch their arms straight up while pressing the chest gently out and up.[14]

                                    20. Cat-Cow Stretch

                                      Have your child place both hands on the ground and rest on the knees. Alternate between arching the back up while pressing the head down (cat) and gently arching the back in while pressing the head and shoulders up to the sky (cow). Animal noises are encouraged![15]

                                      Great yoga poses for improving self-regulation

                                      21. Alternate Nostril Breathing

                                        Have your child sit comfortably with legs crossed. Have them breathe in normally and exhale through the nose. Have them press the right side of the nose closed and breathe in through the left nostril. Pause. Release the right side of the nose and press the left side shut. Exhale through the right nostril. Repeat in reverse order.[16]

                                        22. Warrior II Pose

                                          Start in a deep lunge stance. The foot of the leg in front should be facing forward. The other foot should be at about a 45 degree angle. Extend both arms in opposite directions with following the legs on the same side. Arms should be parallel to the ground with palms facing down.[17]

                                          Awesome yoga poses for active kids

                                          23. Waterfall Pose

                                            Have your child lie on their back with feet flat on the floor. Have the knees bent. Press down into the feet and lift the hips up. Place their hands, palms down, under their bottom. Alternately you can place a soft block or pillow there. Slowly raise both legs up pointing to the ceiling, similar to a leg raise.[18]

                                            24. Flying Eagle Pose

                                              Start by having your child do Mountain pose (listed above). As they come out of that pose, they extend their arms like an eagle flying. Then, slowly raise one leg up behind them and gently bend forward at the waist.[19]

                                              Poses to help kids connect their emotions and their body

                                              25. Roadrunner

                                                A variation of the high lunge. From standing, bend at the waist and place both hands on the ground. Take a big step back with the left leg. Hands remain flat on the ground on either side of the right leg. Hold for 4 seconds and repeat on the other side.[20]

                                                26. Upward Salute

                                                  Start by having your child do Mountain pose (listed above). Have them raise their arms out sideways and point the fingers straight up to the sky. Palms face one another and the arms should remain in parallel.[21]

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                                                  The best kids yoga poses done with their favorite songs

                                                  27. Plow Pose

                                                    yoga poses plow Fresh Yoga Poses Help To Better Sleep

                                                    Have them lie down on the floor on their back while bringing the knees into the chest. Lay the arms along their sides, with your palms pressing down. As they exhale have them swing their legs up over their head. They should stretch the toes as far back over their head as they can get them.[22]

                                                    28. See-Saw

                                                      A partner pose done with 2 kids. Have the kids sit across from one another with legs out in front of them in a V shape and a straight back. Holding hands, have them gently rock back and forth in time to the music.[23]

                                                      Confidence building kids yoga poses

                                                      29. Supine Butterfly

                                                        Have them lay flat on their back with knees bent. Let the knees fall gently to each side while the feet press into each other. Have their arms extend out away from the body at a 45 degree angle going down away from the head, with palms facing up.[24]

                                                        30. Warrior III

                                                          Have them stand with feet together. Have the hands extend over their head with palms together. Slowly bend at the waist and lean forward. As they lean forward they should raise one leg back, ending with standing on one leg with arms flat in front and 1 leg flat extending back.[25]

                                                          Kids yoga poses that look like cool martial arts moves

                                                          31. Side Blade Kick

                                                            From standing, have them kick out with one leg. Rotate the leg and hip so that the toes are angled down slightly and the foot is horizontal. Raise the arm on the same side as the kicking leg, bending at the elbow so the top of the arm is parallel with the kicking leg and the upper arm is pointed straight up making a fist. Bring the other arm across the torso pointing towards the extended leg and make a fist with that hand also.[26]

                                                            32. Cobra Pose

                                                              Have them lay down on the belly with their legs extended flat on the ground. Place the hands on the floor just under the shoulders with palms facing down. Have them press the tops of the feet and legs into the floor. While inhaling, have them press down into the floor with the hands while slowly raising the upper part of their body up. Hold for several breathes while gazing forward.[27]

                                                              Next level poses for more advanced kids

                                                              33. Dancer Pose

                                                                Start this one from Mountain pose too (listed above). On the inhale, their weight shifts back to the right foot. Have them lift the left leg towards their bottom on the left side and bend the knees. Point the toes to the sky. Hold the left ankle with the left hand while the right arm extends forward at a 45 degree angle.[28]

                                                                34. Wild Thing

                                                                  Start from a downward facing dog pose (listed above). Raise the right leg high in the air. Then have them bend the right knee and point the right foot towards their left hip. As they press that foot down, they will naturally rotate and end up with their body facing up instead of down. Have them plant the right leg on the ground and reach out with the right arm, extending past the head.[29]

                                                                  How kids yoga can reshape your child’s self-image

                                                                  In this post, we looked at what yoga is and some of the best kids yoga poses. But we also took a look at some of the things that add stress to our kid’s lives and how kids yoga can help overcome them.

                                                                  We know that kids face more challenges and different challenges than any generation that came before.

                                                                  Thus it’s crucial that we, as parents, find ways to help our children find healthy outlets and activities. We have to provide the much needed guidance to set them up for success in physical and mental health but also for life in general.

                                                                  Kids yoga is an easy activity to incorporate into your kid’s life that can help boost self-esteem. It can also help develop them mentally, physically and emotionally.

                                                                  With the low costs involved, it’s literally something every parent could introduce their child to, and your child can start seeing the benefits right away.

                                                                  Featured photo credit: Rainbow Yoga via rainbowyogatraining.com

                                                                  Reference

                                                                  [1] Yoga for Beginner: Best Of Yoga Pose Bow
                                                                  [2] Yoga Journal: Bridge Pose
                                                                  [3] Niyanthree Ayurveda: Mountain Pose
                                                                  [4] Yoga Journal: Avoiding Ankle Injuries in Lotus Pose
                                                                  [5] Yoga with MahesHwari: Balasana ~ Child’s Pose
                                                                  [6] Well and Good: THESE YOGA POSES COULD HELP HEAL YOUR ACNE (YES, REALLY)
                                                                  [7] Yoganatomy: Exploring Triangle and Revolved Triangle Pose
                                                                  [8] Ms Unites: Rutgers University Yoga Study
                                                                  [9] HealthifyMe: Seated Cow and Cat Stretch
                                                                  [10] Yoga Journal: A Prenatal Chair Sequence to Ease the Discomfort of Pregnancy
                                                                  [11] ACE: 7 Chair Yoga Poses for Better Balance
                                                                  [12] Banyan: Yoga Pose: Lion Pose
                                                                  [13] Women Fitness: Breath of Fire: Cleansing The System
                                                                  [14] Yokala: Warrior I Pose – How to Perform and Benefits
                                                                  [15] Workout Trends: Yoga Poses Cat cow Back Stretch Pose
                                                                  [16] The Chalkboard: Simplest Health Tip Ever: Why You Should Try Alternate Nostril Breathing
                                                                  [17] Pop Sugar: Strike a Yoga Pose: Warrior 2
                                                                  [18] Top Health Remedies: 5 Effective Yoga Poses For Relaxing Body And Mind
                                                                  [19] DoYogaWithMe: Yoga: Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
                                                                  [20] SportGymYoga: Tween Yoga Sequence
                                                                  [21] Home Remedies & Yoga Mudras: Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
                                                                  [22] Ideas for Yoga at Home: Fresh Yoga Poses Plow
                                                                  [23] Adventures of a Yoga Mom: Warrior Friends
                                                                  [24] The Book Belly: Supine Butterfly
                                                                  [25] Yoga Journal: Strong Spirit: 5 Steps to Warrior III
                                                                  [26] Yoga Journal: Kathryn Budig: Yoga + Martial Arts = Perfect Match
                                                                  [27] Yoga Journal: Practice Safe Stretch in Cobra
                                                                  [28] Howcase: How to do a dancer’s pose
                                                                  [29] EatPureLove: Instant Happiness Met De Wild Thing Yoga Pose

                                                                  More by this author

                                                                  Jeff Campbell

                                                                  A husband and father trying to help other dads and moms navigate through the worlds of mindfulness, health, parenting, marriage/relationships& more.

                                                                  15 Flavorful and Healthy Family Meals That are Perfect for Picky Eaters 34 Kids Yoga Exercises That Boost Self Esteem (And Physical Flexibility) The Best 10 Types of Exercise for Kids Who Get Too Much Screentime Ultimate Guide to Saving Money Fast and Easy - plant your money and watch it grow The Ultimate Guide to Make Saving Money Fast and Easy How Mindful Meditation Can Improve Your Parenting Style

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                                                                  Last Updated on September 10, 2019

                                                                  7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                                                                  7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                                                                  Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

                                                                  Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

                                                                  This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

                                                                  One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

                                                                  Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

                                                                  Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

                                                                  1. Gratitude

                                                                  Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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                                                                  The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

                                                                  Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

                                                                  So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

                                                                  Gratitude-Quotes

                                                                    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

                                                                    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

                                                                    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

                                                                    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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                                                                    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

                                                                    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

                                                                    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

                                                                    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

                                                                    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

                                                                    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

                                                                    write down goals

                                                                      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

                                                                      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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                                                                      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

                                                                      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

                                                                      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

                                                                      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

                                                                      6. Rise Earlier

                                                                      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

                                                                      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

                                                                      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

                                                                      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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                                                                      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

                                                                      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

                                                                      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

                                                                      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

                                                                      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

                                                                      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

                                                                      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

                                                                      Reference

                                                                      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
                                                                      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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