There seems to be plenty of kids yoga to go around these days – studios, classes in schools, games, books, apps, YouTube channels and podcasts. But your kids can start right here and now with these three fun and easy poses suggested by Stacey Alysson, who teaches yoga to more than 300 L.A. preschoolers each week. Alysson is also author of “Parker Pig Goes to Yoga,” illustrated by Patrick Girouard, ($18.95, ParkerPigGoesToYoga.com, ages 2-8) a sweet book about a pig’s first yoga class. Here, twin sisters Zoey and Sloan, who love to practice yoga together at home, demonstrate the poses and get their namasté on. Learn more about Stacey Alysson and “Parker Pig Goes to Yoga” merchandise which include accompanying mats, cards and T-shirts on the book’s website.
Get things started by connecting movement and breath with Cat/Cow pose. “Cat/Cow is one of my favorites – fun and very simple for anyone to do,” says Alysson. “Families love doing this together and it’s great for improving posture, strengthening the spine, and also for calming the mind.” Start on hands and knees with your spine level like a tabletop. On an inhale, allow the belly to soften and relax as you arch the chest forward and tailbone upward, adding in “Moo moo!” for fun. On the exhale, drop the head and tail and arch your back like a Halloween cat, saying “Meow meow.” Move back and forth between cow and cat a few times.
Next, try Downward Facing Dog pose to settle down and stretch. Spread the fingers wide and plant the hands firmly on the mat or floor. Step the feet back so that they are hip distance apart. Straighten the spine and point the tail toward the sky, keeping the arms and legs straight and allowing the head and neck to relax. Now say, “Woof woof.” “Downward Facing Dog is one of the most familiar yoga poses and is great for strengthening the arms and legs as well as for lengthening and stretching the backs of the legs or hamstrings,” Alysson, a mom and a Mom and certified Yoga Instructor says.
Finally, move into Easy Pose. “Easy Pose and being still isn’t exactly always easy, and it’s why we call it a yoga practice,” says Alysson. To make it a bit easier, she has kids practice balloon breathing. Kids start by pressing their hands together at their hearts, forming the shape of a balloon with them as they slowly inhale and collapsing it as they exhale. “Repeat for several minutes and they will be very calm,” she says.