Kids Restorative Yoga: Relax in Sleepy Lion

Transitioning into fall; transitioning into rest.

On these grey and rainy days in early fall, what better way to self-care than with a little restorative yoga?


As kids get used to the new routines surrounding back-to-school season, they may need to decompress in healthy, fun, and positive ways. Enter musical yoga adventures with Yo Re Mi.

At the end of every Yo Re Mi class, students get an minimum of five minutes to rest and restore. Sometimes we lead them through guided meditations, sometimes breathing exercises to focus on internal life and teach self-regulation. Other times we have a lot of energy we still need to work through, so we take a more active approach: Sleepy Lion is the ticket!


How To: Sleepy Lion

  • Sit on your knees, untuck your toes, and fold forward, resting your belly on your thighs; you’re in Child’s Pose!

  • Breathe deeply; feel your belly expand and relax

  • Options for your arms here include stretching them forward, releasing them by your sides, or creating a pillow with your hands and resting your forehead on them

  • Kids get a kick if you add the South African, Wimoweh. I love the version by Pete Seeger and The Weavers, but in a pinch Timon and Pumbaa’s version from Lion King works alright ;]

  • Now lions, plant your palms (ahem, claws) onto the sticky mat, root through the tops of your feet, lift your belly off the ground and reach your breastbone up, up, up towards the sky!

  • Release the back of your neck so your gaze falls straight ahead. This pose is called Upward Facing Dog, but I like to call it Lion’s Roar. RAWR!

We play with eurythmics in Sleepy Lion, toggling physically back and forth between Child’s Pose and Upward Facing Dog, and vocally between loud and soft volumes. When we’re finally ready to take a sleepy lion snooze, we stretch out and roll over onto our backs for along and peaceful Savasana or Final Resting Pose.

Tips for Mastering Sleepy Lion:

While folded over in Child’s Pose, take a few deep breaths together as a class. Feel the energy in the room change. Feel your belly expand and shrink against your knees with each breath. Allow your head to be heavy so the back of your neck releases.

Did you know your head is the heaviest part of your body? By releasing your head and neck, you get a much deserved break on your trapezius and shoulder muscles.

Forward folds like Child’s Pose relax our central nervous system and encourage our bodies toward a rest and digest state of being – just where we want to be before nap or bedtime, or at the end of a yoga class when we’re winding down.

Child’s pose is also a great option if you have students in your class who get anxious when lying prone during Savasana.

What is Your Favorite Kid-friendly Restorative Pose?

When you are transitioning between activities, feel like you need to release some pent up energy, or if you’re feeling run down from new routines, take a break with Sleepy Lion.


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How to get kids to relax with Sleepy Lion restorative yoga pose - YRM