Our Raleigh, NC, our exercise classes for kids fill up fast. Kids enjoy exercising, especially doing those exercises that are like yoga poses. Not only do the poses provide a great workout, they also unleash the imagination of children. Even without learning such movements as downward facing dog or the cat or cow pose, kids have been mimicking the movements of animals as part of their play since time began. These movements build strength, flexibility, coordination and concentration, while it boosts their relaxation and sense of calmness.
The cat pose imitates the movement of feline friends.
Watch a cat and see how it glides through life, stretching each muscle with every other movement. It starts on hands and knees, like a cat standing on all fours. Arms and legs are perpendicular to the floor with the head in neutral position and eye looking at the floor. The child breathes in and as he or she exhales, rounds his or her spine toward the ceiling, like a Halloween cat, keeping the shoulders and knees in the same position, but allowing the head to drop toward the floor. It’s time to inhale and get back to the original position of relaxed cat, back straight and hands and feet on the floor.
Changing from a cat to a cow can be part of the move.
I’ve watched the yoga classes where kids have a great time switching to a new animal and back. A child friendly yoga grouping is combining the cat pose with the cow pose. After dropping the arched spine back to neutral position—tabletop position—with the knees directly below the hips and hands below the shoulders, instead of arching the back, the cow pose is the opposite. It lifts the hips and chest upward and lets the belly sink to the floor with the head lifted to look straight forward. It then goes back to starting position.
Downward facing dog is another animal position that builds muscles, endurance and flexibility.
Whether it’s called downward facing dog, grizzly bear or other animal, this pose helps kids build arm and leg strength, increases flexibility and can even calm kids when they need to take a step back. It starts on hands and knees, with the hands spread and palms on the floor. Slowly the bottom is lifted as the child straightens hi or her leg and makes an inverted V-shape. Expect the child to try walking that way, it’s just too irresistible not to do that.
- Animals aren’t all that the poses can look like. Consider the bow pose, boat pose and bridge. These all can build flexibility, but most of all, boost core strength. Do them with your child and you’ll find a six pack developing. They’re tough, but for kids, fun to do.
- A mouse and butterfly/cobbler pose boost flexibility and imagination. Whether rolling up in a ball like a timid little mouse or using their legs like wings on the butterfly, these poses maintain or builds flexibility, endurance and imagination.
- Slithering like a snake or cobra comes naturally and lifting your upper body and head off the ground is part of it. That builds abdominal muscles, too. Add a few hisses for fun.
- At Evolution Lifestyle Fitness, we have fitness and nutrition classes for the whole family, regardless of age. There’s even classes for seniors. Come see what we have to offer and take advantage of our free session.