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animal yoga, kids yoga poses, yoga poses for kids, yoga sequence, kid's yoga lesson plan, yoga pose, animal poses for kid's yoga

Kid’s love to pretend they are animals. In my Kid’s yoga classes, we do weeks of animal poses and most of them are done in conjunction with the ABC’s. My kindergarten through second-grade classes all love doing ABC based poses, especially if they get to contribute and share their own favorite animals.

 

Animal Yoga ABC’s works because it is:

  • 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 have taught animal yoga poses and the yoga ABCs in many ways.

The first was using this poster. Then I purchased the matching set of  cards, book, and coloring book (affiliate links).  I used those with several classes just to teach them how to do yoga poses. We would go through each pose and hold it for about 10 seconds. We’d say the letter, the animal name (and sometimes the sound the letter makes).

I did the same thing with a couple of other pose decks. My next favorite alphabet set is here.

The only issue with these two card decks is that they are not ALL animal poses. And my kiddos love animals! SO we decided to create our own set. I started with a big piece of chart paper and wrote all the letters out. We filled it in over several class periods.

During each class we would do some P.E. style warmups first, then some breathing exercises, then we would brainstorm more animal poses.

Check out some great warm-ups and body breaks for starting class here.

I’d call out a letter and we’d get an idea of an animal. Everybody would have about 30 seconds to come up with a pose that matches what they thought that animal would look like.

For some of the more obscure or odd animals, we would look up a picture of the animal on Google first, just so the kids (ESL’s especially) would know what the animal looked like.

The best part of the whole Animal Yoga Unit was being able to sneak in other ways of learning.

  • They had to experiment with different ways to shape their bodies.
  • They learned body part names that they didn’t already know.
  • We talked about different climates and ecosystems and landscape formations.
  • I even pulled down the old world map to show kids where in the world some of these animals lived, geography!

We learned and played and had a great time!  I took pictures of my students doing every pose and sent it home in a newsletter. I can’t share those here, obviously, but I compiled the list of poses and descriptions to share with you.

The list of animals we came up with was different for each class, which was one additional way to keep the lessons interesting and engaging over time!

The ABC animals that we came up with are all listed for you below, with pose descriptions added. Of course, every pose looks different in every body. Make sure to remind your kids to try their best, and that it doesn’t have to look perfect.

They will certainly want to come up with their own new and interesting poses as well, which makes the lesson even more fun.

 

I also have a PDF of some yoga pose images that you can download from my resources library so you have all the images to use with your students or kids!

You’ll also get access to free kids yoga lessons, mindfulness scripts, and MORE when you sign up!

Access the Free Resources Library

Get the password to access our Kumarah Yoga library to instantly download FREE kid's yoga lesson plans, yoga games, mindfulness breathing cards and more!

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    A: armadillo

    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.

    B: butterfly

    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.

    E: eagle

    Stand with your feet hip-width distance. Take your arms out wide, and then wrap one under the other, 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!

    F: frog

    Squat low with your feet hip-width distance. Place your hands in front on the floor. Do a few big frog hops!

    G: gorilla

    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!

    H: horse

    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!

    I: iguana

    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

    J: jaguar

    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!

    K: kangaroo

    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!

    L: lion

    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”!

    M: mouse

    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.

    N: narwhal

    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!

    O: otter

    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.

    P: peacock

    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.

    Q: quail

    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!

    S: swan

    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

    T: t-rex

    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!

    V: vulture

    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.

    W: whale

    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!

    Y: yak

    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.

    Z: zebra

    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!

    I hope you enjoy them! Have you come up with animal poses with your kids or classes? What were their favorites?

    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!

    I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on animal and ABC yoga poses!

    Check out my other post with Themes for Teaching Kids yoga here!

    Also, take a look at Teaching Kids Yoga Based on Child Development

    Don’t forget to join the library for your free PDF with the images below 🙂

    Access the Free Resources Library

    Get the password to access our Kumarah Yoga library to instantly download FREE kid's yoga lesson plans, yoga games, mindfulness breathing cards and more!

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