Top 10 Kids Yoga Animal Poses
There’s a question that every new kids yoga teacher asks when doing kids yoga: How do I teach kids yoga animal poses?
Yoga animal poses are part of the basic tools for teaching kids. You’ll find them in many kids yoga books like:
- The Yoga Zoo Adventure for Little Kids by Helen Purperhart
- Fly Like A Butterfly: Yoga for Children by Shakta Kaur Khalsa (I’ve bought this book twice, my first one I used so much it fell apart!)
- Stuffed Animals for Yoga Class Help Kids Focus from the Yoga in My School blog
- Animals themes like bats and Spiders in this post: Halloween Yoga for Kids from the Childlight Yoga blog.
I have to admit my original weekend kids yoga teacher training didn’t include a yoga animal story. Yoga animals are part of other themes like in the Story of the Lion Cub who Was Raised by Goats – we do lions and even a goat pose! But in my desire to do a kids yoga training with new information than what was already out there, animal yoga did not make the first module of training.
Animals and yoga go together so naturally, I mean the poses are named after animals, so it really is a fundamental of yoga. So I cover it here and include animals in the 95 Hour Training manuals now too.
My Top 10 Favourite Animal Yoga Poses for Kids
Here are my current top ten favorite yoga animal poses:
- Camel Ride – a basic warm-up in Kundalini Yoga, sit in easy pose, hold your ankles, inhale lift your spine forward and up, exhale and relax your spine back – as if you were riding on a camel.
- Elephant taking a Shower: stand up and make a trunk with your arms, keep your legs straight and dip your trunk into the imaginary watering hole in front of you, then lift your trunk up and spray the water like a shower.
- Frog: squat and stretch your legs like a frog warming up and then jump!
- Cobra Pose: there is nothing more fun in preschool yoga than to talk to each other by wagging our tongues.
- Downward Dog: there are so many options with downward dog for individuals, partners, and groups.
- Butterfly Drinking Nectar: sitting, put your feet together and knees bent wide apart. Flutter your legs up and down like a butterfly. Then move your chest to your feet and drink the nectar from a flower in front of you.
- Cheetah: move quickly on all fours like a cheetah running across the land.
- Camel Pose: See the picture above – an advanced pose, but a good challenge in the right setting.
- Unicorn: Make your hands into a magical unicorn horn over the centre of your head then gallop.
- Monkey Eating Bananas: a favorite with preschool children, and teachers, because you get to do your monkey sounds (oo oo oo, aa aa aa). We start squatting like a monkey, then climb an invisible tree and stretch to pick bananas, climb back down to a squat and eat our bananas.
How to Teach Animal Yoga Poses
Start an animal yoga class by saying, “Put your hand up if you like animals.” You’ll get so many hands you may have to limit comments from the kids, and quickly find out animals they like.
You can also let the children know that some feel the yoga poses came from watching how animals stretch.
Then invite the children to do some animal yoga. I’ve never had young kids say no, although the older kids (10 – 12 yrs) may lose interest in this topic. You may want to take it up a notch by doing endangered species yoga, or let them teach the poses.
Then you’ll be off to the races, or should I say the Zoo, going through all the poses, plus the ones the kids make up.
What are your favorite Animal Yoga Poses and Games to teach or do?
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