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Kids love to pretend they are animals. There are plenty of kids yoga poses to help them in this endeavor.
In my kids yoga classes, I try to teach with a weekly theme. Most often we start with several weeks of animal poses, and we use the ABC’s to help guide us. Themes are beneficial to teaching kids new information, and the ABCs are a great stepping stone to many other themes!
I currently teach pre- kindergarten through six-grade classes, and surprisingly, they ALL love doing ABC based poses, especially if they get to contribute and share their own favorite animals.
There are many Animal Yoga ABCs benefits for kids:
- fun to pretend to be animals
- easy to match animals to most letters
- gives them a chance to be a little noisy
- helps spark creativity in creating new poses
- develops literacy growth in my youngest students
I teach animal yoga poses and the yoga ABCs in many ways.
The first is using this ABC Yoga poster.
We go through each pose and hold it for about 10 seconds.
We say the letter, the animal name, and sometimes the sound the letter makes.
Then we try the same thing with a couple of other pose decks. My next favorite alphabet yoga set is here.
We start our animal yoga lessons by learning the poses in those books and cards.
However, none of those sets are JUST animal poses, so eventually, we decided to make up our own ABC’s of poses that are just animals.
Get a FREE download of the Kids ABC Yoga poses that I came up with in a class with my students:
Here’s a outline for an ABCs Kids Yoga lesson:
- Sing or say the AB’s
- Read an ABC yoga story
- Name all the poses in the ABC book that are animals
- Who thinks they can help make up more animal poses to match the other letters?
- Reminder: poses are STILL like statues, not moving around the room. We need to make the shape of the animal to make a pose.
- Write the ABCs on a chart or board
- Start with “A” and choose an animal and a pose to match
- Get as far as you can that day, and come back to it another lesson!
- Review all the poses up to where you left off each time (it takes my Kindergarten classes about 5-8 forty minute blocks to do the whole alphabet when we add in warm ups, breathing activities, and guided savasana to the lesson)
Ready to start teaching the Animal Yoga ABCs right now?
Here is a video of me doing the animal yoga poses we came up with in our ABCs.
Check us out on Instagram to see the kids doing the poses too!
Scroll down to see the poses in ABC order with descriptions for how to do each pose.
Sit on your knees, and reach back to grab your feet. Lean forward and rest your head on the floor gently, lifting your hips off your heels and stretching your back like a round armadillo’s shell.
Sit up straight on your bottom and place the soles of your feet together. Open your knees wide, hold your ankles, and flap your knees like wings.
C: cat and cow
Kneel on hands and knees, starting with a flat back. Look down, and round your back, pushing against the floor with your hands to press your spine to the sky. Meow! Then lower your tummy, and look up towards the sky, arching your back. Moo!!
D: downward facing dog
Start on hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart. Press your hips up and back, straighten your legs as much as you can. Keep your head between your arms and your back straight, looking back towards your knees.
Stand with your feet hip-width distance. Take your arms out wide, and then wrap one elbow under the other, and wrap your hands in a twist. Bend your knees deeply and pick up one leg, crossing it over the other and resting your toes on the floor, or wrapping your foot around your other ankle. Survey the land beneath your tree, then open your wings and reach your leg back to fly!
Squat low with your feet hip-width distance. Place your hands in front on the floor. Do a few big frog hops!
Stand with your feet wider than hip distance, toes pointing straight forward. Bend forward with a flat back and let your arms swing low and back and forth. Beat your chest like a mighty gorilla!
Stand with your feet wide apart, toes pointed out. Bend your knees deeply and place your arms out to the side. bounce up and down like horse galloping across the prairie!
*Alternate pose: downward dog with one leg up!
Place your forearms on the floor, and balance on your toes, coming into a low plank pose. Stick out your tongue and creep back and forth!
*Optional to bring one leg forward at a time in a low runner’s lunge
Stand with your feet wide apart, and fold forward over your legs. Sway all the way to one side, bending a knee, and then the other, like a jungle cat getting ready to pounce!
Stand with feet together, and bend your knees, keeping your back straight. Put your arms up, or out in front of you and take a few big kangaroo hops!
Kneel on your knees, sitting on your feet. Bring your hands to a claw shape and place them on your knees. Take a deep breath, and then exhale forcefully out of your mouth, sticking out your tongue and giving a big “ROAR”!
Sit on your feet with your knees together. Bend over and lay on your knees, bring your head close to the floor. Rest your head on your hands, fists, a block, or the floor. If your head is on the floor, tuck your arms beside your, or let them rest on the floor above your head.
Lay on your tummy. Reach back for your feet, grabbing hold of your ankles if possible. Press your feet back away from your head, and lift your knees and chest on the floor, rocking on your tummy like you’re swimming through the seas. Look up, as if you have a horn on your nose!
Lay on your tummy. Press your hands into the floor and lengthen your arms. Wiggle back and forth like you are slithery down some slippery rocks into the water.
Sit on your bottom with your legs wide. Try to spread them apart and reach for your toes, sitting up as straight as you can like a proud peacock.
Start in downward facing dog. Bring one knee up to the same hand and rest your leg on the floor, bending your knee and sitting with your shin parallel to the top of your mat, if possible. Your back leg should be straight out behind you. Sit up tall like a strutting quail.
R: rainbow fish
Make a rainbow with a partner! Sit on your bottom, facing your partner with your knees bent. Reach for each other’s hands first, then press your feet together, and lift them up one at a time. Try to make a rainbow shape and lean back like a slippery fish!
Lay on your tummy and put your hands on the floor in front of you. Press your hands into the floor to straighten your arms, and bend your knees. Reach your feet towards your head and you look up or back
Stand with feet together. Step one foot back a big step and bend your front knee. Bring your arms out in front of you and roar like a giant dinosaur!
U: umbrella bird
Stand in star pose with legs wide and arms out to the side. Tilt to one side, bringing one leg up as you reach the other arm down. Pretend to soar through the air with your arms reaching open to catch the breeze!
Stand tall and bring one foot up to rest on your ankle or your calf. Press your hands together in front of you and gaze forward and down like a vulture watching for prey from its tree.
Start in plank, hands under shoulders, and feet close together. Open up to side plank, reaching one arm up to the sky. Step your top foot down on the ground behind your other leg and keep reaching up and back into wild thing pose. Flip all the way to full wheel or bridge if you are up for it! Pretend to splash into the water like a breaching whale.
X: x-ray fish
Sit on our bottom with your legs together, toes pointed. Keep your arms by your sides and lean back so your elbows touch the ground but not your back. Pop your chest up towards the sky and look up or back. Purse your lips like an X-ray fish!
Stand with your feet wide and toes pointing forward. Lead forward and reach your head towards the ground, pretending to eat grass like a furry haired yak.
Start laying your back. either try this from a traditional bridge with your shoulders on the ground and arms by your sides or go to full wheel. Once you lift your hips up and steady yourself, bring a leg up like a kicking zebra!
Well, there you have our very own, student-created set of animal ABC Yoga poses!
If you’d like to extend the lesson to another week or if you’d like to START with some ABC yoga ideas, I recommend this ABC Yoga book.
It’s really cute and a nice big sturdy size for little hands.
Each page has a pose and really adorable illustrations.
My older students like it too!
My FAVORITE set of yoga cards (other than the ones my students came up with) is this deck of cute ABC cards. It’s the same illustrator as the poster from the top of the pose, but it has MORE poses. The letter B, for example, has “bird,” “boat,” “bridge,” and “butterfly!”
There are lots of animals poses, but some are not animals and that’s fun too!
Check out my other themed kids yoga lesson here: Phenomenal Themes for Teaching Kids Yoga.
Also, take a look at Teaching Kids Yoga Based on Child Development.
Don’t forget to join the Free Resources Library to grab your free Animal Yoga ABC PDF with the images below 🙂
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on animal and ABC yoga poses!
Have you come up with animal poses with your kids or classes? What were their favorites?
(Post updated January, 2020)