Winter Wonder Yoga Poses for Kids
By Lara Hocheiser, Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Founder, Owner, and Teacher Trainer
and Kathryn Boland, Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Graduate and Blog Manager
Anytime of year is a great time to do yoga -- but winter yoga can warm us up, lift us out of winter blues, and bring fun through our bodies at a time when the weather might not permit our favorite outdoor physical activities. Fun through yoga can also help us to appreciate the magical side of winter as well as remind us that everything has its place and time.
For early-elementary aged children, time in nature in the winter can bring sensory seasonal awareness, educate them about nature and contribute to mindfulness. For example, have you ever seen kids blowing into the cold air and marveling at how it’s visible in the cold air? Even drinking a cup of hot cocoa in the cold, the sensations of the crisp air and the warming drink coming together, can enliven the senses and simply feel great.
Check out Training Graduate and Social Media Manager Ava Dussault's hot chocolate breath video!
For older kids (middle elementary age to pre-teen), time in nature -- even, and perhaps especially, when it’s cold -- can foster awe and love of nature. That’s a key ingredient for them holding and acting upon the value of environmental stewardship for years to come. And who doesn’t love walking in a gentle snowfall, making a snowperson, and coming back inside to get cozy? Here are two winter poses to bring a smile and meaningful connection to nature!
Dancer Pose: I am Elegant
Here’s a fun pose through which to imagine that one is a graceful skater, gliding across the ice on a crisp winter’s day! It’s also a very expansive pose -- offering a big backbend as well as a big stretch through the belly and quadriceps -- which can feel wonderful when our bodies tighten up against the cold in the winter.
Dancer Pose is an excellent balance pose that helps us build stability and posture while stretching our hips and legs. While this pose might be challenging for kids, we find that kids will try over again and again to find their balance. It’s okay to topple over–we can keep trying together. Think of how dancers must practice their moves to get it right so it’s okay if you fall over or wobble–it’s all part of the dance!
Pose: Dancer Pose
Ages: Appropriate for kids who can balance on one leg. Or younger kids can use a wall, chair or table to help prop them up.
Mantra: I am elegant
- Stand tall in Mountain Pose.
- Shift your weight onto your left leg. Bend your right leg behind you, up toward your bum.
- Use your right hand to grab hold of your right ankle. If you feel wobbly, face a wall and use the wall for support.
- Take a deep breath in and extend your left arm out.
- Balance for a few seconds. Breathe in and out.
- Gently release the pose. Switch sides and repeat.
Additional Exercises with Kids:
Pretend to be an Ice Dancer
Dance around the room and finish your routine in Dancer Pose!
- Learn to focus your attention via the gaze
- Powerful stretch for your upper chest
- Improves balance
- Strengthens legs and core
- Increases confidence
Snow Angel Pose: I Am Restful
Our bodies need more rest in the winter. Restorative yoga poses such as Snow Angel Pose (Savasana in traditional asana practice) can help us find that in a mindful, supported way.
Tips: In general, the older the child, the more time they'll be able to sustain rest without wanting to move and find some sort of external stimulation (children are wired to discover through exploration and play, after all). Adjust the length of time for this pose according to their age. A good guide is up to one minute per age of life, though that might need to be adjusted in certain cases. You can also try mindfulness exercises and simple meditations, such as those detailed below, to keep kids resting for longer. When you see children beginning to stir, it's likely time to wrap up the rest.
Pose: Snow Angel Pose
Ages: all ages
Mantra: "I am resting."
- Lay on your back.
- Press your whole back of body into the floor.
- Let your legs completely relax, so that they fall a bit wider than your hips -- your heels turning in and your toes turning out.
- Turn your palms up and let your arms move farther away from your sides as they also totally relax.
- Let your breath be fluid and full, but also natural. Don't push it to be something different. Can you notice it as it is?
- Scan through your body, from head to toes. What can you relax more? Settle into rest as much as you can.
- When you are ready, slowly and gently come out of your stillness and rest. Roll unto one side and push yourself up to a seat, or draw your knees into your chest to roll up to a seated position.
Exercises with Kids
- To get out any last wiggles, so long as children have enough room around them, have them pretend they're making snow angels. What does the snow feel like? What do they see, taste, hear, and smell, as well?
- Offer a color wash meditation, asking children to pick a color that makes them feel calm (or cool, or energized, or whatever you might sense that they need) and then having them imagine a ball of that color moving out from their heart center through the whole body.
- Have children picture a place in which they feel happy and calm. What does it feel like to be there? What do they taste, smell, hear, and see? Can they come back to this place in their minds when they feel sad, anxious, or scared?
- Promotes calm in the body, mind, and spirit
- Cools the body
- Builds the ability to find sustained rest and stillness
- Helps to recenter in emotionally or mentally challenging times, build the ability to do so whenever needed
We hope that these poses enlivened time in winter for the children in your life (and you -- never too old!). Even if it’s cold out, bundle up and enjoy the crisp air! Nature has so much to offer us -- at any age, but children in particular -- even while it sleeps through the winter.