By: JJ Mejasic, OTR/L
Children in today’s world face lots of daily stress: busy schedules, school pressures, competitive sports leagues, making friends, etc. An important tool that can assist with keeping your child grounded and calm throughout his/her daily schedules is yoga.
There are enormous benefits that children can receive from yoga. Physically, yoga can assist with your child’s coordination, flexibility, strength, body awareness, and sensory development. Mentally, it can assist with helping your child maintain a calm state and support his/her concentration and attention.
Here are some poses provided by Yogarilla’s yoga pose card deck that you can do with your child at home to improve their strength as well as support their ability to maintain a regulated state:
Have your child begin by lying down on their belly. Instruct your child to put their hands beside their shoulders and to tuck their toes under. Next, instruct them to push up onto their hands and feet and push their bottom toward the ceiling, straightening their legs as much as they can. Have them hold the pose for 10-15 seconds.
Have your child start by sitting on their bottom. Instruct your child to sit tall with their legs straight out in front of them. Next, place their hands on the floor behind them with their fingers pointing toward their feet. Then, instruct them to lift their bottom off the floor until their legs form a straight line. Have them hold this pose for 10-15 seconds.
Have your child start with standing up straight. Instruct your child to put their hands on their hips and lift their right or left foot so it is just above their ankle. Next, have them turn their knee out to the side and then hold the pose for 10 seconds.
Have your child begin by lying down on their belly. Instruct your child to stretch their arms and legs out straight and lift them off the ground at the same time. Have them hold this pose for 10-15 seconds.
During yoga poses, have your child complete breathing exercises to facilitate a relaxed state.
- Snake (Hiss) Breath: Have your child breathe in through their nose with a long deep inhale and then exhale out through the mouth making a hissing “snake” sound that is long and slow. Repeat this a few times.
- Bear Breath: Instruct your child to inhale through their nose, pause; exhale out their nose, pause. Breathe in to a count of 3 or 4, pause for a count of 1 or 2; breathe out for a count of 3 or 4, pause for a count of 1 or 2. Repeat this cycle a few times.
Additionally, here are some fun toy suggestions for breathing exercises: blowing bubbles, blowing a tissue across the floor (make it a race), straws, blow toys, whistles, kazoos, and blowing a pinwheel.