*scroll down for your free sun salutations yoga poses poster for kids!*
Yoga is a wonderful practice for people of all ages, including kids! Sun salutations, a sequence of yoga poses, can definitely be adapted to suit the needs and energy levels of children.
Sun salutations are a series of flowing movements that incorporate breath and mindfulness.
Kids need more movement than they usually get these days, and mindfulness breathing helps reduce anxiety and stress (among other things!). We know these things help kids, so let’s learn how to teach it to them!
In this article, we will explore the benefits of sun salutations for kids, provide examples of poses for both mornings and evenings, and share tips on making sun salutations enjoyable and engaging for all ages of children.
Can kids do sun salutations? Yes! Here’s how:
While the traditional sun salutations may seem too challenging for young children, modified versions can be introduced to make the practice accessible and engaging for kids of all ages.
Toddler Sun Salutations
Kids as young as toddlers (ages 2-3) can do a sequence of yoga poses similar to a Sun Salutation called a Yoga Flow.
Basically, you do a pose and encourage the child to copy you. Say the pose out loud, do the pose, then move to the next one.
No, they won’t do all the poses exactly like you, but as long as they try that’s what matters (and sometimes they might just watch, that’s ok too!)
Keep your focus on poses that are more simple like Mountain, Forward Fold, Star, Table Top, Down Dog, Baby Cobra, and Frog.
Then, be sure to repeat several times, add in animal sounds, and fun movements like hops and wiggles.
Kindergarten Sun Salutations
Older kids, ages 4-6, can do a Yoga Flow sun salutation very successfully as well. Encourage them to say the name of the pose after you, and copy along with your movements.
Again, keep the poses a little more basic but add in poses like Warrior 1 and 2, Triangle Pose, Tree and Eagle balancing poses, and Dragon and (Half) Monkey for hip openers.
They still won’t get all the nuances of the poses correct, but you will be impressed at how much they can do with a little encouragement and positive praise. Don’t worry so much about alignment, just get them moving and have fun.
Any poses you add in that are animals can be made fun and interactive with noises and little movements within the pose.
Elementary Age Sun Salutations
Kids ages 7 and up will have a lot more ability to do all of the poses in a traditional sun salutation, but they still benefit from the fun and interactive nature of a Yoga Flow.
Keep the pace moving, allow them to copy you and say the pose names after you, but still have fun and be playful with it. Kids love stories and play, so anything you can do to make it feel like a game or a story will help them feel entertained.
Let them help you create some fun new poses, too. Their imaginations combined with greater coordination and creativity will allow them to come up with some awesome new poses.
How to make sequences fun and engaging for kids
Storytelling Yoga Sequences
Incorporate a story or theme into the sun salutation sequence. For example, imagine embarking on a yoga adventure through a magical forest or pretending to be animals as they move through each pose. You can go on adventures through different countries, state parks, or even to the mall if you use your imagination!
Introduce animal-inspired poses like Downward Dog (dog pose) or Cobra (snake pose) to make the practice more engaging and playful. Use sounds and motion (within the pose) to keep it engaging for the littlest yogis.
Ask your kiddos what their favorite animal is, or what animals they might find on a farm, in a jungle, or in the arctic! Come up with a yoga pose for each animal they tell you and put them in a self-created sequence to try together.
Music and Props
Play uplifting music and incorporate props like scarves or stuffed animals to enhance the sensory experience and make the practice more enjoyable for kids. Music is a great way to keep a steady beat for each pose. Count to 4 or 8 for each pose in the sequence.
Or, sing a song that you know that goes with the poses. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, “Old Mac Donald Had a Farm”, and “5 Green and Speckled Frogs” work great for adding in some movement and poses.
Props are great for adding in mindfulness too. Try some bubbles, a balloon for “keep it up,” cotton balls to blow across the mat, or check out these partner mindfulness games.
What time of day is best to practice yoga sun salutations with kids?
The beauty of practicing yoga with kids is that it can be done anytime. However, certain times of the day can enhance specific benefits with the right supports (tone of voice, setting, music, speed).
In the morning, practicing yoga with kids can help them start the day with focus, energy, and a positive mindset. Keep the sun salutation moving and focused on getting their brain activated.
In the evening, yoga can aid in winding down and promoting relaxation before bedtime. Slow the poses down and add in more focus on breath and calm bodies to help them feel more relaxed.
Morning Sun Salutation Poses to do with kids
When you get your kiddos up early or if you have an early kids yoga class it’s important to help them feel energized. Keep up the pace of your Yoga Flow to get them moving. Add in some music if you like and move to the beat of the music!
No matter what, add in these poses and pause to help them feel a little more connected to their body in each pose.
When you do pause in a pose, describe how to do it with more specific directions (as opposed to just staying there breathing). This will help keep their brain focused and turned on.
Mountain Pose: Stand tall with feet together, grounding down through your feet. Reach your arms up overhead, taking a deep breath to energize the body and create a sense of strength and stability. Wiggle your fingers at the top, or wave hello to the sun!
Forward Fold: From Mountain Pose, exhale and fold forward, bending the knees a little. Let your head hang down and sway your arms side to side as they let gravity stretch out your back towards the Earth.
Warrior Pose: Step one foot back into a lunge position and raise your arms above your shoulders towards the sky. Then, show your muscles to feel strong and alive! This is a perfect pose to state your mantra for the day.
Tree Pose: Stand on one foot with your other foot resting on your ankle or your calf. Reach your arms up toward the sky and gently sway your branches from side to side. Make the gentle sound of the wind in the trees as you breathe in and out.
Evening Sun Salutation Poses to help kids wind down
Butterfly Pose: Sit on the ground with the soles of your feet touching, knees relaxing out to the sides. Hold your feet or ankles, and sit tall. Slowly flap your butterfly wings, or pretend to be a sleeping butterfly. Stretch through your hips by leaning forward slightly, or rounding down to rest your head on your feet.
Child’s Pose: Kneel on the ground and sit back on your heels, extending your arms forward and resting your forehead on the mat. Ask your child or student if it’s ok to rub their back gently. This will help them relax more deeply.
Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose: Lie on your back and extend your legs up against a wall. This gentle inversion pose helps to release tension, calm the nervous system, and promote a sense of tranquility. Let your kiddo try to balance a stuffed animal on their feet to keep still and focus on breathing.
Corpse Pose: Lie all the way down on your back, allowing your body to fully relax. Encourage focus on breathing and imagine yourselves floating on a cloud, letting go of any remaining stress or thoughts. Let your stuffed animal rest on your belly now, to help encourage slow deep belly breaths.
Let’s get moving with our kids in yoga and mindfulness
Sun salutations can be a delightful and beneficial yoga practice for kids. Whether it’s in the morning to start the day focused and happy or in the evening to wind down and relax, sun salutations, or a Yoga Flow, can help children develop strength, flexibility, mindfulness, and a positive mindset.
Here’s an adorable free printable you can download of a kids yoga sun salutation that works great for morning or evening:
By adapting the poses to suit their age and making the practice enjoyable through storytelling, animal-inspired poses, music, and partner yoga, we can cultivate a lifelong love for yoga in our children.
So, grab a mat, get creative, and embark on a joyful yoga journey with your little ones!