When I tell people I teach Yo Re Mi with children 2 and older, they often ask “Can kids even do yoga?” I get it, most people think of yoga classes as a quiet, slow, meditational experience… for adults. That’s not what a kids yoga class looks like, at least not all the time.
Children learn best through play so a children’s yoga experience requires a certain amount of fun…in fact, our most successful classes are ALL FUN. Sure, we have moments for quiet stillness, long and deep breathing, and mindful movement. But there are also opportunities to be loud and spontaneous, share ideas, smile, laugh, and be silly.
We make yoga fun for kids by creating an adventure where we use our voices, bodies and imaginations to discover new places and see new things. Every adventure has one thing in common - we have to travel! Traveling yoga poses are relatable because children travel every day, but they also have TONS of physical benefits the children won’t even realize they are getting.
Here are our 5 most requested transportation poses
1. Boat Pose
This traditional yoga pose (also known as navasana) is a great way to bring music and fun into a yoga class with children. Boat requires a ton of abdominal strength and it can be tough, for both kids and adults, to hold this one for a long time. But, if you turn on the fun with a rendition of “Row, row, row your boat” you may find it actually gets easier…really, try it!
The are lots of variations of boat pose, just like there are lots of different boats. Sing along with our Boat Pose for Kids video below to practice this and lots of other yoga poses in one fun activity. Then ask children what type of boat they would like to make and create some new poses together!
2. Airplane Pose
Once you have traveled over the water, switch things up and fly into the sky on an airplane. Airplane pose (Warrior 3 for kids), is a full-body pose that builds strength, focus and balance. It also helps with sensory integration, specifically vestibular and proprioception.
Balancing on one foot is not easy at any age and, for young children, it can be especially challenging. So we make it fun and also take the opportunity to teach about patience and perseverance. Encourage children to try balancing and, if they feel wobbly, to tap their foot down and then try again. As with anything we do, the more we practice the easier it gets. Soon, you may find you are able to balance 5, 10, or even 30 seconds!
3. Helicopter Pose
Since we are already in the sky, let’s keep flying a bit longer and try out helicopter pose. This fun travel song brings us into a seated twist which strengthens and lengthens the spine while opening the chest and shoulders. Moving the arms in a circular motion also relieves stress and calms our nervous system!
You can explore the musical elements or pitch (high to low) and tempo (fast to slow) by changing up the speed of the twist and the melody. Invite the children to share ideas about how they might make their own helicopter.
4. Train Pose
NYC kids travel a lot by subway so traveling by train is always a popular request in Yo Re Mi classes. We sit on our train in Staff pose and then do lots of fun variations with our upper body incorporating a twist, side bend, forward fold, and even core work.
Not only do we stretch our whole body in this activity but we also utilize some super yoga breathing. When we make the CH-CH-CH sound, we are learning to control and moderate our breathing as well as exploring rhythm. Let’s jump on the train…ALL ABOARD!!!
5. Car Pose
Who doesn’t love to go for a drive? Strap on your seatbelt and let’s zoom away. Maybe your car is a taxi, a race car, or a police vehicle. Ask the children what kind of car they are driving and get ready for some creative ideas.
To make our car, we combine a wide-legged forward fold with some side stretching. Then we work our core as we press the pedals and roll the windows up and down. Ready…set…go!
6. Rocket Ship Pose
Rocket ship pose is a popular request because every kid loves outer space! Traditionally called chair pose, this exciting pose keeps children alert while working the arms, legs, and core. When we count down from 10 to “prepare for take off”, we help everyone stay in this super-strengthening yoga pose longer - even if it gets challenging.
Try transportation poses with a partner!
Traveling is always more fun with friends. Most of these kids travel poses have partner variations which encourage children to explore working together and supporting one another. Here are two of our faves: partner boat and group train!
For partner boat have children face each other and do the variations with their feet connected. To make group train, you can do the whole sequence sitting in a long line!
you can always explore these poses deeper by asking some fun questions.
“I wonder what our boat would look like if it was riding on waves”
“How would our car drive through snow?”
“How would our airplane or helicopter fly through rain or wind?”
These were six of our classrooms’ favorite poses, but there are many more ways to travel. How could you make a scooter, motorcycle, or fire truck into a yoga pose? Our team helps educators and classrooms use their transportation imagination to try fun pose variations. Bring us to your school and let’s explore your favorite way to travel!
Safe trip everyone and we will see you soon! Bon voyage!
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