By Kathryn Boland, Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Blog Manager and 95-Hour Kids Yoga Teacher Training Graduate
Without any doubt, we want the absolute best for the young ones we love. Part of that is feeling confident and calm; from there, they can do and feel their best -- wherever they go or whatever they do. With fully intentional and age-appropriate sequencing, yoga can bring a feeling of grounded calm and a confident presence to children and youth. The practice can help them get in touch with the best of themselves. Try out these poses and with young ones you love and see what happens!
Tree Pose calls upon a lift to the sky as well as a grounding into the earth below. Strengthening the legs, improving balance, honing focus, and offering a chance to connect with the natural world -- just a few of the meaningful benefits that this pose can bring! All of it can bring that calm, confident feeling we're looking to build in the young ones we love.
Stand up straight and tall in Mountain Pose. Take in a deep breath.
Look ahead and find a point (this can be an object, a wall, or window) to focus on.
As you breathe out, slowly bring up your left foot. Bend your knee, and place your left foot on the inside part of your right leg.
Relax and straighten the left leg on the floor, shifting your weight into the foot. Ground it – imagine it being a tree root, weaving through the Earth and hold steady.
Inhale and bring your hands to your sides. Reach out like branches on a tree.
Exhale and bring the hands together in front of your heart. Then lift them strongly overhead. You are a growing tree!
Hold the pose and gaze ahead. Imagine being a tree. What type of tree are you? Are you in a grove? In the middle of a meadow? In a park? Think about where trees live. Toddlers and preschoolers, hold for just a quick moment. Big kids, see how long you can stay in the pose!
When you feel done, return your leg to the ground and arms to the side
Similarly, Warrior Poses bring a sense of strength and grounding -- apart from helping kids literally get more in touch with the ground beneath them, strengthen their legs, as well as boosting their proprioception and balance. This Warrior Pose also has an opening through the body, encouraging the opening of oneself that can result from confidence and calm.
Begin in Mountain Pose. Take in a deep breath and relax.
On an exhale, step your left foot back. Straighten and extend your left foot to where it feels comfortable. Make sure both heels are aligned.
Point your right foot straight in front of you.
Bend your right knee, stacking it directly over your right ankle. Straighten your back leg.
Extend your right arm straight over the right leg and left arm straight over the left leg.
Relax shoulders and breathe gently in and out. Embody the strong warrior within.
This pose encourages kids to take up space, feeling stable and strong, just as they are today. Both its physical benefits -- stretch and strengthening through the whole body -- and social/emotional benefits -- taking up space just as you are -- can encourage confidence. At the same time, it can bring a smile as well as a grounding into the earth -- both things that can inspire calm.
Take your feet a bit wider than your hips, toes pointing slightly outwards.
On a breath in, reach your arms up in a V-shape, and spread your fingers wide. Feel energy moving through them.
Look directly forward with energy and confidence -- it helps with balance!
Hold the pose for a few more breaths. How does it feel to reach big and take up space?
Come out of the pose by dropping your arms and taking your feet closer together. Take any wiggles in your body that feel good after holding that pose!