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Just Brreeeeaathe. 5 Calming Yoga Poses for Kids

Photo by Lawrence del Mundo / Stocksy
Photo by Lawrence del Mundo / Stocksy

Let’s face it. Sometimes our little darlings are the human equivalent of a champagne bottle that’s been shaken—and uncorked. Before their energy or emotions spilleth over, it helps to have a few calming techniques in your back pocket. Enter toddler-friendly yoga.

“In addition to the physical benefits, yoga teaches patience, focus, concentration,and self-control,” says Shana Meyerson, founder of Los Angeles-based mini yogis® yoga for kids. “It also builds confidence and the ability to face challenges calmly and without reactivity.”

Sounds good to us. Here Meyerson shares a few of her favorite poses for helping little ones find a calm place throughout the day.

(Note: These poses may be easy, Meyerson says, but there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to do them!)

1. The Day Breaker: Half Sun Salutations (Ardha Surya Namaskara)

This yoga flow (vinyasa) soothes the nervous system while also using energy and movement to stimulate the muscles—doing five sets after getting out of bed is a great way to awaken little bodies and help children find a centered place as they begin the day.

Get Calm: Start by standing with feet together, hands in prayer position at the heart. Lift arms up to the sky and touch palms together. Fold forward, touching hands to the floor if able. Put hands on shins and come half-way up with a flat back. Reach back down to touch the floor. Finally, come back up to standing, raise hands high in the air, and then press hands together at the heart.

2. The Frustration Fixer: Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

This grounding pose help center children because it requires their undivided attention—when focusing on balance, a child isn’t thinking about anything else.

Get Calm: Stand on one leg and lift the opposite foot to the inner thigh or calf, toes pointing down and knee out to the side. Young children can either hold a parent’s hand or keep one hand on a wall if needed.

3. The Self-Control Solution: Seated Meditation

It’s great to reinforce this soothing practice a few times a day no matter what, but it’s particularly helpful if your child gets very angry and needs to pull it back together.

Get Calm: Sit in a comfortable crisscross applesauce position and try to stay completely still, sitting tall with eyes closed. Breathe deeply, paying attention to each breath. One or two minutes is enough for children under age five.

4. The “Time Out” Alternative: Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This basic calming/regrouping pose pulls energy inward, cutting off external stimulation and encouraging quietness and stillness.

Get Calm: Sit on the heels with feet together and knees apart. Lay the chest on top of the thighs with the arms either stretched out in front or relaxed by the sides.

5. The Sleep Aid: Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

Done as part of a bedtime routine, this mild inversion relaxes the body and mind, and prepares your child for a good night’s sleep. It can even be done right on the bed if the bed is against the wall.

Get Calm: Lie with back and hips on the floor and legs straight up the wall. Hands can be open to the sides or one hand can rest on the stomach area and the other on the heart. Close eyes and start long, slow, deep breaths.

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