Downward Dog is one of the favorite kids yoga poses. Downward Dog has many benefits. Kids love it because they get to hang upside down. The benefits you receive in this pose increases strength in the shoulders, flexibility in the spine and hamstrings, strengthens bones in the legs and arms, brings more blood flow into the brain, to help reduce stress and anxiety. Downward dog is a great way to be able to “recharge” your batteries when you may be a little tired or a little anxious.
For kids to practice Downward Dog , it just comes naturally. It’s amazing when you cue kids to come into the downward dog pose, they just get right into. Here some steps to start the pose, and some modifications to make yoga fun for the kids.
- Begin by coming onto your hands and knees in table pose, take a deep breath in. Curl toes under.
- Breath out, lift hips up towards the sky and try to straighten your legs. Let your heels fall down towards the ground, they may touch, they may not.
- Let your head hand down heavy, possibly shaking your head gently from side to side, to take tension out of the neck. Stay in downward dog for 3 to 6 deep breaths in and out of the nose.
- To release, breathe out and bring knees to the floor.
- Relax in rock pose.
For some fun modifications:
Have kids wag their tails.
Have them bark like a dog, this helps children to remember to breathe. I like children to learn transitions during yoga class, you may ask them to bark softly, a few times, then change it to loudly, and back to soft.
Try 3 legged dog, by having kids lift one leg up, choose a number to count to. Lift the opposite leg and count
backwards from the number you chose.
With older kids you may want to try Double Down Dog, to teach kids to work together and increase self confidence and team building.
Always remember kids yoga is about learning about their bodies and most importantly having fun!