During this stressful time, it is good for your health and wellbeing to take a moment each day to breath and relax. Of course, it can be difficult to encourage little ones to do the same. Calming exercises as part of a non-competitive group helps children to gain confidence and develop their focus.
That is why we have put together a selection of simple yoga poses that you can do with your children to stretch, release tension and have fun. Also, you can check out our YouTube video of the children at nursery enjoying a yoga session as part of our all inclusive activities.
Children also respond better to exercises that include music that they enjoy, so why not play instrumental or acoustic versions of some of their favourite songs while trying out some of these moves?
This is one of the most simple poses and a great place to start with your little one. Stand with your feet shoulder distance apart and have your child shake out their arms to loosen and relax their body, before placing their palms together in the centre of their chest.
Breath in deeply and extend your arms up above your head, with your hands still pressed together.
Then, release your hands, bend your knees and swoop down to brush your finger tips lightly against the floor or by your side.
Reset with your hands pressed palms together in the centre of your chest, stand tall and repeat with your child up to five more times.
A great resting pose to stretch out between some of the more active poses. This is also a good opportunity to check in with you child to make sure they are feeling alright and having fun.
Come down onto the floor, make sure to have a mat or carpet underneath you both, and sit back on your heels. Push your knees out and reach forward, trying to bring your chest to the floor with your hands by your side or stretched out in front of you – whatever you find most comfortable.
Hold the position with your child for a few moments, maybe try singing calmly along with the music that is playing to help them hold the position and relax.
Go onto all fours, with your hands shoulder distance apart and your knees hip width distance apart. Make sure to have a ‘neutral back’, where it is flat to create a strong starting position.
Then, pulling your stomach in, arch your back up towards the ceiling. Hold this position for a few beats before returning to your neutral back.
Repeat the movement with your little one up to five more times. This should feel really nice and help to release tension in your back.
Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart, then take a step forward with your right foot. You should be able to keep both legs straight and feel the stretch at the back of your legs. Hinge forward from your hips, placing your right hand on your thigh, shin or ankle of your right leg (the one in front). Then reach your left arm up towards the ceiling and hold the position for a moment.
Repeat with your left leg forward to make sure both sides are stretched out equally. If you can’t feel the stretch, try moving your front leg forward until you can. If the stretch is uncomfortable then move your leg closer and hold your arms out straight at shoulder level.
Time to test your families balance with this pose! There are a number of levels for you to try and work your way up to in the future with practice.
Start standing tall with your feet shoulder width apart and arms stretched out for balance. You can then move your right foot so the toes are on the floor and heel is pressed against your left ankle. If you are comfortable with this, then try moving your right foot up to rest against your left calf. Once you are able to balance here, why not try putting your right foot against your left thigh.
To protect your joints, make sure to never place your foot against your knee during this pose.
Work you way up slowly and hold the position for as long as possible. Focus on something in the distance that is still.
As before, make sure to repeat this again on your other leg. You will find that one side may be easier to balance on than the other but with practise you will build strength and develop your balance.
Yoga is a great form of exercise for children as it helps them to understand how their bodies move, develops their gross motor skills, balance and muscles. Children can benefit a lot by learning that everyone is different and you can improve your skills, anything from balance and focus to mathematics and literacy - and anything else they put their minds to through regular practise.