Fun Ways to Achieve Calmness Through Animal Yoga Pose for Children
by : Ni Nyoman Ariestini
Young children usually cope with many emotions. They may feel happy, sad, angry or worried within a short period of time. Emotion is a complex experience of consciousness, bodily sensation, and behaviour that reflects the personal significance of a thing, an event, or a state of affairs. From around two years old, children start developing many new emotions. These include strong emotions like frustration, anger, embarrassment, guilt, shame and excitement. Sometimes children can be overwhelmed with these strong emotions. Therefore, in this kind of situation, children will need help to calm down because they are still developing skills to manage emotions. It is usually challenging for very young children to talk about emotions they felt and they might also find it hard to calm down if they‘re tired or hungry.
One of the ways parents or adults can help the children to cope with their emotions is by doing yoga. Jennifer Sohn said that yoga is good for kids because:
Yoga is great exercise. It builds strength, flexibility and coordination.
It’s a fun, non-competitive activity.
Kids can do it anytime, anywhere without expensive equipment or organized teams.
Yoga relieves tension and anxiety.
It’s the antidote to overstimulation. Yoga helps kids focus, get present, and quiet their minds.
Kids can learn ways to stay calm and cope with stress through breathing, balancing and meditation.
Marlynn Wei, MD, JD, (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog) mentioned that ‘’Yoga and mindfulness have been shown to improve both physical and mental health in school-age children (ages 6 to 12). Yoga and mindfulness offer psychological benefits for children as well. Yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and classroom behavior, and can even reduce anxiety and stress in children’’. Yoga helps children manage their anxiety. The breathing exercises and relaxation techniques learned from practicing yoga can help children with stress management. Teaching children how to reduce stress in a healthy way is an important life skill that will help them as children and as adults. By practicing yoga, children build confidence and strength, as well as mind-body connection.
There are so many yoga poses we can do with our children. To give them a fun and easy experience to practice yoga, we can guide our children to act like animals, especially by acting out their favourite animals. Here are some examples of animals yoga poses for children:
1. Downward facing dog
Let’s pretend to be a puppy. To make the puppy stance, just bend forward until both hands and feet are on the ground, keeping the elbows and knees as straight as possible and forming an upside-down V shape, with your buttocks up in the air. Pretending to be a puppy and playing with this in the backyard will be fun for little children.
2. Goldfish pose
Who has a goldfish at home? Let’s pretend to be a goldfish. First, you lie on your tummy, then lift your chest and shoulders, and look up. Pretend to be a goldfish swimming around a fish tank. Don’t forget to take a deep breath in and slowly release.
3. Cat Pose
Next, let’s pretend to be a kitten by doing a cat pose. First lay in a downward position. Then lift up your spine while your hands and legs support your body. Then round your back and tuck your chin into your chest. In this pose, you pretend to be a kitten taking a stretch after a nap.
4. The bunny pose
In this pose, you pretend to be a bunny. Sit on your heels in a Hero Pose. Slowly place your head out in front of you on the ground. Take your hands back alongside your body. Then lift your buttocks, being careful to not put too much pressure on your head. Pretend to be a bunny ready for its snack.
5. The happy baby pose
Let’s pretend to be a hamster by doing a happy baby pose. You can start by laying down on your back with your chin tucked in, draw your knees very close to your chest, then grab the outer parts of each foot (right foot in right hand and left foot in left hand). There you go, pretend to be a hamster on its back.
6. Bear Walks Pose
Press into your hands and feet and lift your bottom to the sky. Coming up onto your tiptoes, walk by lifting opposite leg and arm at the same time.
7. Butterfly pose
Let's pretend to be a butterfly flapping its wings. Starting in a seating position, bring the soles of the feet together. Flutter your knees up and down just like butterfly wings.
8. Cow pose
Pretending to be a cow is also mindfulness. Come to hands and knees. Raise the neck upwards, bringing the belly towards the floor while curving the lower back inwards. Extend the hip outwards and slightly upwards.
9. Gorilla Pose
This pose may look like simply bending over, yet children learn how to forward fold, which is useful for so many other poses. Kids will enjoy either stepping on the insides of their hands or gripping their toes and sticking out their elbows. Both grips offer fun variations on a basic posture that they can have fun playing with.
10. Bee breath pose
And finally pretending to breathe like a bee will be fun and calming. Sitting comfortably, close your eyes and ears with your fingers. Taking a deep breath in and out through your nose, make a humming sound of the bee which is smooth and pleasant. Keep the eyes closed and remain in silence paying attention to the sound echoing deep within. After practicing these poses, you can finish your yoga experience by lying in a resting pose.