So you want to teach yoga poses and sequences to kids and help them learn to slow down, right?

If you are teaching them yoga, you might think that it will be a naturally calm and focused class, since yoga is sort of a naturally calming practice.

However most kids, especially little ones, are just naturally moving all over the place…wiggling, running, jumping, and noisy.

When they move at the speed of light and are jumping or bouncing or talking so fast you can’t even get them to take a breath.

Clearly, kids need to do yoga a little differently than adults.

Or they need to learn how to practice mindfulness.

(Probably both, tbh)

But it’s really, really hard to go from fast like a cheetah to slow turtle in the blink of an eye. Or even in a couple minutes.

Sometimes not even in a whole class period.

And, almost impossible before bed.

What you need is the right routine. The right set of yoga poses (for kids!) in a set sequence that helps them learn the yoga but keeps them moving productively.

You need to match their quick pace and their loud voices to start, and then with a few minutes of repetitive, weight bearing, crossing the midline poses, start to get them to slow down.

What you need is to teach effective kids yoga is a Yoga Flow.

yoga flow sequence for kids yoga, yoga sequence for kids, yoga poses for active kids

Yoga Flow is a very special “call and response” yoga routine that can be done with almost every age group of kids to help them learn yoga and move efficiently from crazy movement to focused.

It’s a fast-paced yoga routine that follows the basic outline of a sun salutation.

You can do a yoga flow routine several times through right at the beginning of class.

By the last time through you either slow it down substantially or add in some trickier balance poses and then start to cue breathing. 

That's how they start to slow down. Start with quick energy, then bring it down. Slow down with balance poses, breathing, and more focus on your own body.

You can use yoga flow routines with preschoolers, too, though in my experience it helps to go a bit slower to make sure they get all the body parts in the right places. Plus you can add in lots of animal sounds to keep them entertained.

I also teach pre-teens up to 7th grade, and they do a good job with the flow too, though they may not want to repeat the pose names, they usually just listen and copy the moves.

It is nice to put music on in the background and go through the whole flow with music. (You can even sync it up to make it like a dance!)

Check out my post on Yoga for Kids According to Child Development for more tips on teaching to kids of different ages, from babies to teens!

adulta and child are doing tree pose on a grew mat in front of a window, they are holding hands and looking at each other

Why Yoga Flow?

Why make kids copy the pose names and repeat everything I say and do?  Lots of reasons:

  • The kids have to use their voice for a purpose instead of interrupting me.
  • They learn the names of the poses quickly.
  • We all move and get warmed up right away.
  • You can introduce new and challenging poses in the middle or near the end to keep them interested and motivated.
  • The routine of coming in and starting almost immediately with the same thing is comforting and keeps them from getting distracted by other things.
  • It keeps them accountable because it’s much easier to notice who isn’t following along when we flow together in a sun salutation for several minutes.
  • They are generally quite tired after an 8-10 minute flow and are able to do some breathing activities to calm down. Then they can listen to directions better.

Listen to how our Yoga Flow sequence sounds in this free audio recording!

Get the Yoga Flow sample recording

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
    Powered By ConvertKit

    So what is a Yoga Flow for kids?

    Basically, stand in a circle and say a pose name out loud while doing the pose. The kids copy the pose and repeat the pose name nice and loud. This call and response and copying the pose moves pretty quickly at the beginning of the flow and can slow down as you repeat the sequence or want to try newer, trickier poses.

    Say, “Copy the moves that I do, and say the pose names after me.”

    Make is rhythmic, like a chant or a song, and say it in a very compelling, loud and teacher-y voice.

    The WILL TO REPEAT what others are saying in a nice sing-songy voice is very strong in most kids.

    You can even change your tone and make silly voices from time to time to make it even more interesting. To make the yoga flow super successful, keep reminding them these rules:

    • only say the pose name, not anything else
    • use your breath instead if you get tired
    • only say the pose names if you are actually doing the poses
    • stay in the circle the whole time

    Most of the time you can lead the kids through a modified Sun Salutation yoga flow. 

    A common yoga sequence for kids that you can use is here:

    • Tadasana
    • Crescent moon (both sides)
    • Forward fold
    • High plank
    • Chaturanga
    • Baby cobra
    • Up dog
    • Down dog
    • One foot up (three-legged dog)
    • Step it forward
    • Low lunge
    • Warrior 1
    • Warrior 2
    • Reverse [warrior]
    • Triangle
    • Low lunge
    • (repeat other side)

    That’s the basic start-up routine. We do that whole yoga flow, both sides, usually once or twice, pretty fast-paced. Then after that, we start to slow the routine down.

    If you are ready to jump in and start teaching a Yoga Flow, check out the printable cards and video instructions here! Plus get tons of teaching tips and tricks to start off your classes the right way 🙂

    Slow the poses down once they start to get a little tired

    So, once the kids are into the routine and copying all the moves you do and repeating the pose names after yoga nicely, then you can start adding in new poses and trying some trickier balances.

    Here are some places you might add in additional sequence poses:

    • Low lunge
    • [Knee down]
    • Dragon (arms up in low crescent lunge)
    • Monkey (half-monkey pose)

    Repeat between dragon and monkey several times… add noises if desired. 

    Try to hold each of those poses for twice as long as the original set of poses.  It works with the rhythm if you pause and say “breathe in, breathe out”. 

    They usually repeat those words, too, until you remind them not to, but that’s ok. They are still starting to slow down their movement.

    morning yoga, yoga poses for beginners, yoga, stretching, morning work out, low lunge, runners lunge,
    low lunge pose, anjaneyasana, dragon pose for kids, low lunge stretch, yoga for kids
    half monkey pose, yoga pose for kids, yoga posture, half splits

    This next pose sequence is harder because the kids need to be able to see you, and it also requires a lot better balance skills.

    This works best for 3rd grade and up. I usually go through high plank to chaturanga to crocodile with them so that they can lay on the floor and watch me while I model it.

    • High plank
    • Side plank
    • Starfish
    • Wild thing
    high plank pose, kids yoga pose, yoga balance, high plank, pushup pose, yoga game with a ball for kids
    yoga for kids, kids yoga poses, side plank pose, arm balance
    starfish pose, yoga balance, side plank balance, yoga for kids, yoga poses, arm balance
    yoga for kids, balancing pose, arm balance, yoga poses, chest opening pose, wild thing, yoga

    A balance sequence you can add near the end of the yoga sequence starts with high crescent and goes as far as you think they can balance while maintaining calm.

    This one can go fast like at the beginning, or you can start slowing it down and make it last twice as long.

    • High crescent
    • Warrior 3
    • High crescent
    • Warrior 2
    • Half moon
    • Warrior 2
    • Star pose
    • Falling star
    • Falling star (other side)
    • Star pose
    • Jump the other way (turn to face the other direction in the circle
    • Warrior 2 (still towards the middle, other knee bent)
    • Half moon
    • Warrior 2
    • High crescent
    • Warrior 3
    • High crescent

    Bring Mindfulness to the Yoga Flow Sequence

    One last way to help kids slow down as they do these sequences and yoga glow with you is to pause only briefly every now and then to interrupt yourself and bring kids’ awareness to something specific.

    The way this works best is by really changing your tone.  As you are leading them through the fast-paced yoga flow sequence, you should be speaking in a loud and engaging teaching voice, with lots of energy.

    When you pause to point out something for them to be mindful of, change your tone.

    Drop your voice level down a few notches, speak lower and more calmly.  It’s almost like interrupting yourself with a different, calmer personality.

    It will catch the kids attention, they won’t feel the immediate need to repeat what you said (probably) and they will listen to the change in your voice.

    Here are some things you can say to bring mindfulness to the yoga practice:

    • Notice how my foot is under my knee
    • I see that Angelica has her arms stretched way apart and is keeping them straight
    • One of my hands reaching to the ground, the other is lifting all the way up
    • I can feel my quad muscles working hard because my leg is bent
    • My arms are straight
    • If I close my mouth and breathe and I can feel my heartbeat
    • My foot is pointing towards the bell [in the middle of the circle]
    • Shoulders are down

    Notice that these should be short, quick, non-judgmental, and NOT phrased as questions.  If you ask a question (even if you think it’s rhetorical the kids won't) they will start talking again.

    I am mostly just commenting on my own body and by doing that, kids will notice something similar or different in their own body and often adjust to match me.

    This is a quick way to check alignment, but also to just bring kids' brains into focusing on their own body.

    Some kids may comment after your comments, but if you start right up again with the call and response, it should probably get lost.

    Check out some other easy ways to bring mindfulness to your kids' day in this post here.

    make sure your child feels supported with positive words and reactions while they are doing something important for their mind or body

    Finally, it's ok to go back to the beginning of the sequence and just start to take it much slower or down to the ground

    Inside of having them repeat each pose name, just do the poses for them to copy more slowly.

    With each pose, say, “inhale…. exhale” and I tell them to close their mouth and breathe through their nose and just listen.  It starts to work after a few reminders.

    Slow your voice down, start speaking quieter, and change your tone to a softer and calmer one.

    So, there you have it! One of my most successful ways of teaching kids yoga to preschool through elementary age and preteen kids!  I have been very proud of this discovery and I love sharing it with others.

    Here's a voice-recording example of this type of yoga flow for kids that you can use to help understand how it sounds. 

    Listen to how our Yoga Flow sequence sounds in this free audio recording!

    Get the Yoga Flow sample recording

      We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
      Powered By ConvertKit

      Enjoy and good luck!


        1. Not yet! Great idea, I have been planning on that and will make a kids yoga and adults who teach yoga channel very soon. I have a couple short videos in my Instagram feed that show the kids doing a yoga flow here:

          I’ll share when I have more too! I can also send you an audio copy if you are interested. Just join the Library here and send me an email request 🙂

          Hope this helps!

      1. Dear Maya,

        I really like all your tipps around kids yoga and mindfulness. I am a kids yoga teacher since 4 years and I am still loving to teach. The kids are so interested and fast-learner. I will try out more flows instead of yoga stories, I hope they will like it (age group 7-9 years). The smaller yogis (4-6 years) love stories, and my really young ones (2-3 years) love animal Yoga poses with noises or just moving around, sing and play mindfully.

        Continue the beautiful work you do. It is very much appreciated. All the best for 2024!

        Kindest regards from Switzerland,

        1. Thank you, Jasmin, these are kind words! It sounds like you are doing a great job– that sounds accurate for what those kids are most interested at different ages. And yes, I hope the 7-9 year old kids enjoy the yoga flow. Let me know know how it goes!

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.