Is yoga good for kindergarten kids? In my experience, yes! 

Introducing yoga to kindergarten kids not only gives them some much needed movement in their day, but also lets them have fun. Yoga and mindfulness can help kindergarteners learn emotional intelligence, self awareness, and mind-body control. 

Whether you're a teacher looking to integrate yoga into your classroom or a parent eager to share the wonders of this ancient practice at home, I'm here to guide you through the process of teaching yoga to our youngest learners.

Setting up the Environment for Yoga with Kindergarteners

Finding space can be tricky in a classroom, so be mindful of where you set up for your kids yoga session in a school.  Circle time (or rug time) is a great option where everyone can see you as the leader and they are all engaged with proximity.  

Kids don’t need a ton of space, but they do need boundaries. Give them rules and expectations for where their body needs to stay, and follow through. Try softening the lighting and adding music to let them know it’s yoga time. Bring out some special tools like a breathing ball, a Meddy Teddy bear, or a singing bowl to help it feel special and exciting.

If you are at home, clear out any clutter and make sure the space is well-lit and free from distractions. Giving your child their own yoga mat and meditation cushion is an excellent way to help them feel special and excited about yoga time.  Consider playing soft, soothing music or nature sounds to establish a “yoga” ambiance.

Making Yoga Playful and Engaging for Kindergarten Kids

Kindergarten kids thrive in an environment of play and imagination. To keep yoga sessions captivating, use a storytelling tone of voice and make it fun and lighthearted. 

Introduce poses with creative and age-appropriate names, such as “Fluttering Butterflies” or “Tall Trees.” Play pretend while going on yoga storytelling adventures.

Make each pose an exploration of movement, sound, and imagination and they will be engaged and willing the whole time!

Play games with them, too! Kids LOVE games, and even if it doesn't seem like much of a game to you, if you tell them it is they will be so excited.

Yogi Says is an awesome starter game for kindergarten kids doing yoga because you can add in other exercises and movements as well as yoga poses.

Here are some other fun yoga games you can play with kids at home or in school.

Breathing Exercises for Mindfulness

Teaching kindergarteners mindfulness may seem daunting, but it is possible. My youngest students (ages 4-6) sometimes have the best natural tendencies towards being mindful!

Start small, with focused breathing techniques and mindful listening. I use a singing bowl at the start of each class and tell them to listen until they can no longer hear the sound, then show a thumbs up. It’s magical!

Then graduate to listening for other sounds in the environment, closing their eyes to listen to their breathing, and more.

For other breathing exercises, engage them with participation by letting them lead using a Hoberman Sphere. Then, everyone else can follow along using their hands to make shapes of their own.

Check out these fun breathing techniques for kids here with a free printable.

Introducing Basic Yoga Poses to Kindergarten Kids

What yoga poses can kindergarten kids do? 

My short answer- almost all of them! Anything animal themed works wonderfully (which is great because yoga has a lot of animal poses).

Balance poses can be tricky, along with some poses on their back or anything upside down.  But, with the right prep work, many poses are possible for these kiddos.

Here’s a list of my favorite poses to start using with kindergarteners:

  • Mountain
kids yoga poses, mountain
  • Star
kids yoga poses, star
  • Forward fold
kumarah yoga, seated forward fold
  • High Plank
kids yoga poses, high plank
  • Downward Dog
kids yoga, down dog pose
  • Up Dog
kids yoga pose, up dog
  • Baby Cobra
kids yoga pose, baby cobra
  • Baby Shark
kids yoga pose, baby shark
  • Turtle
kids yoga pose, turtle
  • Alligator 
kids yoga poses, alligator
  • Frog
kids yoga poses, frog pose
  • Rabbit
kids yoga pose, rabbit
  • Dragon
kids yoga pose, dragon
  • Monkey
monkey pose, yoga for kids at home with parents
  • Eagle
kids yoga poses, eagle
  • Tree
kids yoga pose, tree pose

For a full set of kids yoga pose cards, check these printable kids yoga cards here.

Or, for a set of the yoga ABC cards that works great with kindergarten kids, check out this set!

ABC yoga poses for kids, animal yoga poses for kids

And how do you teach these yoga poses to your kindergarten kids?

You must be the mirror. Do the pose, tell what your body is doing, and let them follow along! 

There is no need to give them step by step alignment directions. Just say “copy me!”,  start doing the poses, play within the pose, and let them follow along. They won’t be perfect but it will be amazing.

Partner Poses for Engagement and More Fun

Children love to play, but even more so, they love to play together! Even though yoga is usually a solitary practice, it’s good to let little kids work with a partner to keep them engaged and having fun.

Partner poses not only enhance social skills but also adds an element of fun and cooperation to the practice.

They can work together to form a double boat in “Yoga Boat,” where they sit facing each other, holding hands, and leaning back slightly. Extra challenge to lift their feet!

Partner Tree is also a great pose for allowing them to support each other.

Partner Seesaw is a fun way to work on flexibility, and Partner Pretzel (back to back) helps them work on coordination and left vs. right.

Teaching Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

One of the goals with kindergarten kids in yoga is, of course, to help them learn some mindfulness and self control.  Just by practicing yoga poses and becoming aware of their bodies relative to space, you will be helping them achieve part of this. 

Bring awareness to their emotions as well by talking about how each pose feels, or how they might feel frustrated or excited when a pose is challenging, or when they “get it”!

You can also teach younger kiddos some simple mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Guided visualizations or the “lying down like a starfish” exercise can help them unwind and find stillness after an active yoga session. 

Encourage them to focus on their breath by leading simple inhales and exhales, or using a “breathing buddy” on their tummy while they lay down. 

Check out these wonderful guided mindfulness meditations for kids here.

Yoga Helps Kindergartners with Self-Expression and Awareness

Yoga is also a wonderful way to provide kids an opportunity to work on self expression and awareness.

At the end of each session, invite them to share their experiences through drawings or by talking about how they felt during the practice. This encourages a deeper connection to what they experienced and nurtures their ability to articulate their feelings and thoughts.

Ask them some leading questions, like “How did your body feel?” or “What poses helped you feel calm?”.

Safety Considerations for Kids in a Yoga Class

One big concern of classroom teachers wanting to teach yoga to kids is, “How do I keep them safe?”.

The first measure is to make sure you establish rules. Let them know where to keep their body, and how to stay safe on their own space.

Yoga for kids has movement, yes, but it should still be in one spot. If you have yoga mats, that’s great! If not, use letter squares, carpet spots, or even tape spots so kids know where to stay.

Do a few warm ups if you have time to help their muscles be ready for the stretches. Just a simple dance song, or some jumping jacks will be great.

A Yoga Flow is also a great warm up and will be a wonderful way for them to learn the pose names quickly.

Teach them breathing techniques but don’t overdo it. Their lungs are smaller and they will naturally take shallower breaths, which is ok.  

Don’t get sucked into kids showing you “look what I can do!” with gymnastics poses or martial arts tricks. They will quickly get carried away and other kids will want to try. Just be clear that you are the leader and showing the poses, and if they know other “cool tricks” they can do them at home 🙂

Also, it’s a good idea to communicate with parents or guardians about the practice, letting them know you will do some yoga-based movements some times during the day. Then, encourage your kiddos to share the yoga poses they learn with their families at home.

Integrating Yoga into the Daily Routine with Kindergarten Classes

Consistency is key when introducing yoga to little kiddos. Schedule regular yoga sessions wither daily or weekly, preferably at the same time.

Keep consistency in the outline of your yoga session as well, like a Yoga Flow to get them started and moving, a breathing exercise, and then a yoga story. End with a meditation or at least a “resting pose”.

Many teachers use story time as a way to incorporate yoga into their daily routine. Many simple books are great for adding in yoga poses.

Check out this list of some favorite books to use with yoga poses here.

Morning meeting or circle time is also a great time to add in a little yoga practice for kids, or just after recess when they need a little time to focus in and calm down again.

Yoga games like Yogi Says, or Night at the Museum (directions found here) are also a great way to end the day, or get them moving right away in the morning.

Yoga for Kindergarten Kids is Amazing!

Teaching yoga to kindergarten kids can be a rewarding experience but also may feel challenging to get started. However, by creating a safe and engaging environment, introducing basic playful poses, and promoting mindfulness and self-expression, you will find success.

As our little ones embark on their yoga journey, they will develop essential life skills that will stay with them for years to come, bringing them calm, joy, and resilience throughout their lives.

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