Through yoga, we can show children (and all people) that there is strength in being calm and grounded. In Hero's Pose, we can be courageous simply through sitting and finding inner stillness. We can take a moment to tune into breath, inner sensations, and state of mind. From there, we can go forth into our days with more clarity and mindfulness -- a stronger place to be. Let's look closer at this classic seated pose!
Tip: Children often have more natural mobility through their joints than adults do, because their bones are still forming (and being so active keeps them very mobile!). If you're practicing this pose with a child and it's too much of a stretch through your thighs, or even painful through your hips, low back, and/or knees, that's a warning sign from your body. Try placing a block or rolled yoga blanket (or even thick household towel) in between your heels.
Pose: Hero's Pose
Ages: appropriate for toddlers and up
Mantra:"I am grounded."
Sit on your feet, knees forward.
Place your hands on your lap, on your heart, on your belly (to sense your breathing), or in Prayer Hands. Choose what feels best for you.
Take a breath in and feel yourself growing taller -- grounded in your seat, like you have roots going down into the earth, but with the top of your head growing up to the sky.
Close your eyes, if that's comfortable. If it's not, gaze softly forward.
Stay here for three to five breaths. What's your breath like -- smooth and full, or more choppy and short? Is your body making you aware of anything, any pains or strains or big stretches? [see above: sit on a block, rolled blanket, or rolled towel with any pain or sensation that's just too much]
If you feel like staying here longer, and you have the time to, allow yourself to do so. If not, softly open your eyes (or re-focus them if you have a soft gaze forward). Notice how you feel. Continue with the rest of your yoga sequence or other activities in your day.
Exercises with kids:
Sitting upright, pretend you are asleep by placing your hands on either side of your ear and tilting your head to one side.
Gently stretch your neck, like you're doing morning stretches, by placing your left hand on your right ear -- and right hand on your left ear, when you "wake up" from that sleep. You don't have to pull with the hand -- its weight is enough to create a gentle stretch.
Reach up and pretend you are opening the curtains to welcome in the morning sun. Greet it by making big "Sun circles" with your arms, letting them rise up above and then fall back down to your legs (three to five, or more if you would like and have the time).
While in this pose, encourage introspection by asking children what makes them feel strong and what makes them feel calm.
Stretches the legs
Strengthens belly muscles
Encourages fluid, strong breath
Brings a sense of empowerment
It can seem challenging to share yoga and mindfulness concepts with children, in ways that are accessible to them. Flow and Grow Kids Yoga has the tools and guidance to make that possible -- in schools, homes, and more.