Some Days Being a Kid Is Just Plain Stressful. Use These Poses to Teach Your Kids Yoga for Stress Relief. It’s a Skill They Need to Learn Now So They Can Use It in the Future.
Now that you’re a little way into summer, it feels appropriate to revisit coping with trauma. LOL! How are you holding up so far? Hopefully well! This summer has been a first for us, and is actually enjoyable! Really, it’s possible folks! We’ve found a summer schedule and rhythm for the first time ever! It’s summer solstice miracle! If you feel like your sanity is on the brink, then today’s post is just what the doctor ordered.
In an earlier Prepping With Kids post we discussed the importance of practicing the coping strategies, so they are familiar, comfortable, and effective in helping soothe and heal from trauma. If you haven’t ever tried yoga before, please try it now. You will soon find a new happy place, I promise. Give it time, it’s also a skill that can be physically and emotionally uncomfortable the first few times you try it. Let’s face it hanging out in downward dog is awkward, and it requires more work and stretch than it looks like it should, especially with several kids as an audience. But if you can stick with it, the rewards are profound.
One of the best parts of our new summer routine has been the daily exercise. After a crazy learning curve with 6 newbie yogis, my kids have asked to do it almost every day.
These are some of the top recommended yoga poses for kids dealing with trauma. They will get you started off on the right feet (and hands). And thanks to my lovely troops for being my models! These are not “technical instructions” or names but just basic directions for a child to achieve the poses to the best of their ability. As they get more familiar with the poses and their body awareness increases, you can challenge them to flex this and stretch with more specific instructions. Just watch them and be sure they aren’t hyperextending anything.
Disclaimer: I am not a certified yoga instructor, not am I a doctor. BE SURE TO CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR before starting so you are sure your child is fit for yoga or any other exercise program.
Stand on one foot, raise other leg and place by/on/above and on the side of the knee. Try to have the bent leg out to the side as much as possible. Hands can be in prayer form at the chest, together with hands above the head, or simply raised above the head. This challenges their balance and focus. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
Stand feet shoulder width apart and bend knees like you’re about to sit on a chair. Lean forward a little and raise arms into a V, think y in YMCA. Head up and looking forward. Hands can also be held in prayer position at the chest. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
This one can be tricky for kids as it’s more than just being a human bridge, but that’s a great place to start. The goal is to stretch the heels to the floor with straight legs. My kids tend to arch their back so help them keep the tummy in and back flat to avoid injury. They are in pretty much the right place if when they bobble their head to the sides they bump into the inside of their elbows. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds or more.
This is a favorite, similar to playing rock. Curl up one your knees head down. Knees should be hip distance apart. Extend arms in front of you. Relax into it, hold for 30 seconds.
This is another post that my kids love! Lay one your back spread eagle, snow angel like. And just breathe!!! Try to relax all the muscles. Hold 30-60 seconds.
Kneel down and place hands on your lap, facing down. Rotate upper body slowly from left to right, trying to push as far as you can go without moving your hips. Breath in as you turn to the side, breathe in as you return to center.
This is a tricky one, but great for depression. Use a wall for support. Lean the head forward onto the floor against the wall with arms on the floor. The arms and head should make a triangle. Then pull legs up against the wall, and hold 30-60 seconds. Try to relax there. Lean against the wall for stability and have an adult spotter until mastered. Do child pose after to help establish equilibrium again.
Legs on the Wall Pose
This one is great for lower anxiety and can be held as long as needed for relief. Lay on your back with your bum sitting on the wall. Extend your legs out straight in front you. Relax head and shoulders, and just chill and breath.
The sun salutation is a yoga sequence with a nice flow to it. You can do the sequence as many times as you’d like. I’d recommend at least 3 times to be beneficial. I prefer salutations to poses as it reaps multiple benefits from each pose and the flow and rhythm really help to keep me engaged the entire time. And the warrior poses in the sun salutation are all fantastic remedies for stress and trauma.
Here is a fantastic printable for sun salutation from Childhood 101 and Yoga Stories.
Kids Ain’t Havin’ It?
If your kids are struggling to connect with the poses (aka they are bored) invite them to rename the poses around a favorite theme. Animals, Star Wars, etc, you name it! Yoga becomes more fun when I can say “I’m doing the tie fighter” or I’m a flamingo.”
Once the becomes personal and familiar, your kids will be able to use yoga for current and future stress management, including trauma. They will also grow up to be much more flexible and fit yogis than we are.
Check out a few of the fantastic sources below. Now you have the tools that will help you develop your kids so they can use yoga for stress relief. You will have young yogis in no time!