Get your hands on 7 yoga poses that are easy for kids, but help them calm down whether their anxious, overstimulated, or have sensory issues. Easy to follow photos and descriptions for each calming yoga pose for kids.
It’s no secret that more than ever kids are struggling with anxiety and sensory issues. Both can cause a child to be edgy, upset, sensitive, or hyper. Those actions and emotions put kids on high alert or may even lead to a sensory meltdown.
Lots of factors contribute to anxiety and sensory needs. I’m a big advocate for getting to the root of the problem and addressing it.
But, we also need concrete strategies we can use to help our kids calm down whether they’re anxious, overstimulated, or bouncing off the walls. Calming sensory activities, belly breathing, and joint compressions are all great ways to help kids relax that we’ve covered here on Your Kid’s Table.
In this post, I want to add another calming/coping strategy that is perfect for toddlers to teens and even adults: Yoga.
Specifically, 7 different calming yoga poses for kids. You can use the poses together or pick just one to try. They are simple poses that most kids will be able to do with some simple instructions (or by showing them the pics below).
How Do Yoga Poses Help Kids Calm Down?
Millions of adults regularly practice yoga on a regular basis, at least in part because it’s incredibly relaxing. And, there’s real science and research behind the benefits of yoga, including:
- The mind focuses on getting into and holding the position, which helps break up the worry cycle and gives kids something to focus on.
- The body is given lots of deep and powerful sensory input that tends to calm people. Think proprioception and vestibular input, the power houses of the sensory system.
- Deep breathing activates the release of endorphins that literally calm the mind down.
What If My Kid Is Too Hyper For Yoga?
If you have a big sensory seeker or hyperactive child, you might worry that they won’t slow down enough to do a yoga pose.
You might be right, but I think there’s a couple of ways you can introduce and use yoga to help even the most wild kids:
- Try catching them off guard and casually saying: “Hey, I want to show you how I can do this cool pose I can make with my body. Do I look like a dog? Let me see if you can try? I wonder how long we can hold it?” Then, after they tire of that pose, you could say, “I have another one, it’s tricky, but a lot of fun. For this pose, you lay down on the floor like this and push up your stomach to make a bridge. I bet you can do it too.”
- Try doing the poses below as a yoga flow. Yoga flow is when the poses are linked together and you keep moving through them without starting or stopping. I’ve listed the poses in an order to seamlessly flow. You can move through the poses pretty quickly and then, slow them down a little bit on a second or third cycle through. Cosmic Kids YouTube channel has hundreds of engaging kid based yoga flow videos too.
- Do a high intensity movement activity before doing these yoga poses. Maybe your kid jumps on the trampoline for 10-20 minutes or runs through an obstacle course a couple of times first. This fills up their need for movement. Then, as a transition activity, you do 1, a few, or the whole sequence of yoga poses as a way to begin calming down.
When to Use Yoga Poses to Calm Kids Down
Any one of these yoga poses can be done in a minute or less. You can use them anytime your child is getting worried, irritated by sensory input, or seeking lots of movement. But, you can also use yoga poses intentionally as part of your routine. Think about trying them:
- Before or after school
- When waking up
- Before going to sleep
- Part of a station, brain break, or circle time at school (your child’s teacher may be open to incorporating this into your child’s school day if you’ve seen how helpful the yoga poses are at home.)
There is one time that you shouldn’t use yoga poses though, if your child is already over the edge and having a sensory meltdown or anxiety attack.
You’re past the point of offering a tool to help them calm down. Check out Sensory Meltdown vs. Tantrum to learn more about supporting your child during a meltdown.
7 Calming Yoga Poses for Kids
I’m not a hard core yogi by any means, but have done yoga in my home on and off for years. The poses below have all been carefully selected because they’re do-able for most kids AND they provide specific types of sensations that are usually calming.
These poses are also ordered to be easily followed in a sequence or flow so that you can roll from one pose to the next without stopping, if you choose to. Of course, you can pick and choose any of these poses and use them on their own too.
I’d even encourage you to show your child this post, and let them pick which poses they’d like to try! You can pin the post so you have it handy.
#1. Triangle Pose
Stand a little wider than hip width apart and spread both arms wide to your sides. Turn your right foot so the heel points to your left food. Then, while trying to keep legs straight bend at the waist to touch your right ankle (or as far down as you can go) while your left arm soars towards the ceiling, still straight. Look up at your left hand if you’re able.
This is an inversion pose, which gives a lot of calming vestibular input!
Take a few deep breaths, rise back to your starting position. Turn your right ankle in, facing forward again, and turn your left ankle out and repeat on your left side. Again, taking a few deep breaths and then returning to an upright position.
#2. Downward Dog Pose
Get onto your hands and feet and while trying to keep your knees straight (although a bend is fine if you can’t get your legs straight) and your heels on the floor, push your butt towards the ceiling, straighten your arms, and look between your legs.
Another great inversion pose, take a few breaths here before ending the pose.
#3. Plank Pose
Plank pose is great to transition to and from downward dog. If transitioning from downward dog, simply lower your bum and pop your heels up off the ground. You can also bend your arms, this will make the plank more challenging.
If you’re doing this pose in isolation, then get onto your hands and knees, lift your knees and keep your core and legs as straight as a plank!
Try to tighten your stomach muscles during this pose and take deep breaths. It gives a lot of proprioceptive input, perfect for calming and relaxing.
#4. Tree Pose
Stand upright and take one foot and lift your ankle, to the side of your knee, or all the way up to the inside of the upper thigh. Obviously, the higher your leg goes, the more challenging it is. Young kids can just put their heel on their ankle.
As you lift your leg, either put your hands together in front of your chest (easier) or lift them high above your head (more challenging). Stretch your arms while you try to hold your balance for 10 seconds. Over time, increase how long you can hold the pose without wobbling or falling over. Breathe while holding the pose and then slowly lower arms and hands to the ground.
When kids focus on balancing, it clears their mind and helps them focus. This pose also challenges their vestibular system, which is a good thing for their learning and development, and if they’re able to stretch their hands up, they’ll get proprioceptive input too.
#5. Bridge Pose
Lie down flat on your back with your knees bent, heels right underneath of knees. Lift your butt off the ground and tilt your torso until your weight is on your shoulders. Bring your straight arms together under your back. Take a few deep breaths and lower to the ground.
Bridge also give proprioceptive input because of the squeezing of all the core muscles and the pressure of the shoulders, head, and feet on the ground.
#6. Cat-Cow Pose
Get on all fours and as you take a deep belly breath in, arch your back and look up to the ceiling. Hold for a second or two, then round your back up as you exhale and tuck your chin to your chest. Repeat for several cycles.
This is one of my favorite poses because it’s extremely relaxing and it’s easy for kids to get into a sequence of deep breathing with the movements.
#7. Child’s Pose
Get on all fours again, or as a transition from Cat-Cow, collapse your butt to the floor while you spread your knees out. Take your head all the way to the floor and stretch your arms out in front of you. Breathe deeply for a few minutes.
Now you have another tool in your toolbelt to help your kid calm and relax: 7 simple and calming yoga poses. Have you used yoga yourself or with your child before? Which pose are you excited to try with your child?
Tell us in the comments, your feedback and thoughts inspire and encourage us and others reading!
More Activities to Calm Kids Down
Alisha Grogan is a licensed occupational therapist and founder of Your Kid’s Table. She has over 17 years experience with expertise in sensory processing and feeding development in babies, toddlers, and children. Alisha also has 3 boys of her own at home. Learn more about her here.