Yoga is commonly known as a restorative mind-body training for adults to wind down their day. However, yoga practice is not only for adults! In fact, studies have shown that yoga for children is an effective way to build concentration, self-confidence and the ability to deal with emotions and everyday stresses .
The type of yoga practised by children tends to differ from adult yoga by variation of duration. As children naturally have a shorter attention span they may find it harder to sit still for long. Yoga can be modified to include a few easy handpicked poses as opposed to hour-long classes.
Here are 4 simple yoga poses that kids can benefit from:
The Butterfly Pose is one of the easiest poses to do that makes your kid flutters like a butterfly. Sit on the ground with your spine upright. Gently bend the knees and press the soles of the feet together, making a diamond shape. This pose can be done while flapping the legs like butterflies or in stillness while taking in a few deep breaths.
Balasana, also known as a Child’s Pose, is inspired by a child’s resting posture! Place your knees on the mat, sit back on the heels, and inhale deeply. Next, bend forward, stretch the arms out in front of the body, and exhale. Rest the forehand on the mat as you hold this position for 2-3 minutes. Breathe in slowly as you return to the starting position.
Bhujangasana, commonly known as Cobra Pose, is a powerful yoga pose which is suitable to strengthen back muscles. Lie face down on the belly with the body extended and legs stretched out and feet facing down. Bring the hands palms facing down underneath the shoulder blade and straighten the arms to lift the chest up. Stay in the pose for a few breaths before lowering down to the ground. A fun fact is this pose also helps to stretch the tummy and it’s a great way to improve digestion and metabolism in kids!
The seated fold pose is a classic pose from Hatha yoga. Sit on the ground and bring the legs out in front of the body. Flexing the feet, bring the arms in front of you and fold out the legs as far as possible and hold for a few breaths. If your child is having trouble reaching the feet, they can reach for the legs instead. Stay in the position and keep your feet flexed strongly throughout.
Setting aside time for your kids to practice it daily can have a positive impact on children’s physical and mental well-being:
Young children today face constant stimulation from their digital devices, and their lack of ability to disengage can sometimes result in sensory overload. The breathing exercises performed with each yoga pose can help children to reduce their stress and anxiety levels associated with information and sensory overload. Yoga is commonly used in therapy as an alternative method to treat mental health conditions such as anxiety and other mood disorders .
Yoga also helps children learn to be in the present moment, which can help them better regulate emotions and deal with challenges as adults. Studies have shown that regular practice in kids is associated with decreased violence and impulsive behaviours in school as it serves as a healthy outlet for kids to release pent-up anger and stress .
The most common benefit of it is the improvement of muscular strength and flexibility. Studies have found that yoga in physical education classes has positive effects on the development of motor and physical parameters of 6-8-year-old children, especially on strength and flexibility .
The benefits of yoga also go beyond physical fitness as it is shown to increase a child’s self-esteem and confidence . Learning and achieving a yoga pose helps children realise that they have the ability to conquer challenges, which can instill a sense of empowerment in them.
Sustaining a yoga pose for a few minutes requires a great amount of focus, memory and attention. Young children need a sharp mind to be able to manage schoolwork and tackle difficult exams . One of the benefits of practising yoga poses is it enhances children’s attention span and memorization skills which are important components of academic success.
The best way to help kids get started on their yoga journey is to make it interesting and enjoyable for them! This could be achieved by combining it with fun dances, soothing music or story-telling sessions to pique their interest. Scheduling a group session with other kids might make a more enjoyable experience for them as well!
There are no strict guidelines regarding the frequency of it, but individuals should practise as often as possible, especially at the beginning. Can be done during any time of the day and the sessions do not have to be long to reap the benefits. 10 to 15 minutes of basic yoga poses each day goes a long way in enhancing your child’s overall well-being!
 Woodyard C. (2011). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. International journal of yoga, 4(2), 49–54. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-6131.85485
 Kanchibhotla, D., Kulkarni, S., & Singh, S. (2020). Effectiveness of a Comprehensive Yoga Program on Convicted Extremist Offenders. International journal of yoga, 13(1), 50–54. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_79_18
 Folleto, J. C., Pereira, K. R., & Valentini, N. C. (2016). The effects of yoga practice in school physical education on children’s motor abilities and social behavior. International journal of yoga, 9(2), 156–162. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-6131.183717
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