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Yoga for the Back-to-School Transition

September 2, 2011

It’s summer’s last gasp this weekend, and if your children aren’t already at school, then likely they’re mere days away from heading back. The back-to-school transition can be exciting, yes, but it can also be fraught with anxiety for students of all ages as they navigate their way through new classes, friends, teachers, and more.

If you don’t already practice yoga or meditation with your children, now’s a great time to start. It’s a chance to spend some extra quality time with them during this transitional period, a great way to be active, and a method of giving them tools to work with stress, anxiety, hyperactivity and more.

Though you can certainly roll out the yoga mats for these exercises, you can also keep it simple, doing fun yoga moves on the living room rug, or in the grass in your yard. Don’t think your kids will sit still for it? Think again—kids take to yoga and meditation naturally, as long as you make it age-appropriate and easy for them to understand.

Here are a few youth-friendly poses to get kids in on all the benefits of yoga. Just remember, it’s okay to laugh, and it’s not necessary to get these exactly right. The idea is to have fun, connect to one another, and connect to your body.

Tree pose: Stand on one foot, resting the other foot just above or below the knee. Stay rooted through the standing leg while reaching arms overhead. Turn this into “Windy Tree” pose by slowly moving your arms, as though they were branches in the wind; or try “Tree at Night” by attempting to close your eyes and stay balanced!

Candle: A variation on shoulder stand. Lie on your back with your hands tucked under the small of your back. Lift your legs into the air and keep them as straight as a candle stick. Wiggle your feet to make a flickering candle flame.

Sunrise/Sunset: Stand up straight, with both legs about hip-width apart. Raise your hands overhead, look up to the sky and stretch upward for “sunrise.” Then, slowly bend at the waist, dangling your arms and head in a loose forward fold for “sunset.” Come back up and repeat.

Lion’s Roar: Sit comfortably, either cross-legged or kneeling with your rear resting on your heels. Rest your hands on your knees. Relax your face and take a slow, deep breath in. Then, sick out your tongue, open your eyes and mouth as wide as you can, and let out a roar! Come back to a relaxed state, resting your face muscles and breathing in slowly. Repeat a few times, then wiggle and shake it out.

Starfish: A great kid’s version of Savasana. Lie back and spread out your arms and legs like a starfish. Envision yourself at the bottom of a calm ocean. Take a deep breath in and blow it out, watching imaginary bubbles head up to the surface. Rest here for several breaths—and if you have trouble staying still, imagine your starfish suction cups suctioning your arms and legs to the foor.



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