How to do yoga with kids

Yoga is a great way to keep you and your kids moving and entertained at home BUT it can be a slightly different experience from a child-free yoga class!

I have been doing yoga in my living room with at least one child climbing on me for the last 3.5 years. It absolutely can be done but you have to embrace the chaos.

My favourite way to do yoga with the kids is to put on some stretchy pants and make it into a fun time to mess about and move. You might prefer a YouTube video or a live interactive class – and I’ve included some resources below.

My tips on doing yoga at home with your kids

Put on your yoga pants
I mean, if you can’t wear your yoga pants now, when can you? Your kids are probably wearing joggers / leggings at home – there’s absolutely no need for fancy yoga clothes for kids, just make sure they are comfy (or fabulous if they are into fancy dress). You don’t need any shoes for yoga, barefoot is traditional but socks are good too if you / the kids prefer.

Lower your expectations!
I’d be lying if I said that I am able to practice hour long sessions and totally immerse myself in my yoga while my kids are climbing on me, or that my kids will gracefully join in every pose I suggest to them. BUT I do feel really strongly that any movement is good movement. Sometimes, they will get distracted and I’m able to do a couple of poses on my own, sometimes we will just mess about on the floor together – it’s still fun and it’s still yoga. If you starting moving and doing your thing, your kids will probably join in and either you will have a bit of fun together or you’ll manage to get a few minutes of yoga in for you. If you are looking for some poses to get started, check out my 10 minute yoga series.

Yoga mats / telescopes
My son (who is three) LOVES, with a passion, unrolling and rolling up yoga mats. He is also a big fan of pretending they are telescopes. If you have a yoga mat, this is good fun but don’t stress if you don’t have one – you don’t really need one (I often practice without) you can use a blanket if you want or just the floor is great.

Start with the breath
Checking in with your breath really is at the heart of yoga. Teaching children about their breath can be a really good lesson and invaluable as they grow up. Some good ways to practice this are taking big breaths in together and then sighing them out, and counting your breaths together up to ten.

Get down (dog)
My children love it with I get down on the floor with them. A lot of my yoga practice is now floor based (rather than standing) as a result. A good way to start is by coming to a table top position (all fours) – it’s likely at this point the kids will climb on your back. You can try some cat / cows here (flexing the spine both ways) or just let your kids ride you around the living room.

Tunnels
Come into a downward dog (from all fours tuck your toes and bring your hips up towards the ceiling) – voila you have made an excellent tunnel for your child/ren to crawl underneath. Or they might copy you and make a baby dog next to you. You can also try walking your dogs around the room by moving your hands and feet while staying in this position.

Bridge pose
Come to a bridge pose by lying down on the floor with your legs bent and feet on the floor. Slowly start to bring your hips up towards the ceiling. Again your kids might copy you or they can lie / sit on top of your hips for a ride / snuggle.

Flying babies
While lying on your back, get your child to lie on your tummy. You can hook your knees / feet on to their tummies and lift them up to fly! Obviously be careful while your kids are up there!

Lions and tigers and frogs, oh my!
You can pretend to be pretty much whatever animal you want to be – we currently like to be frogs or kangaroos – squatting down and then jumping up in the air. You can jump about all over the living room to burn off some energy. If your kids are into elephants / lions / tigers / whatever, you can make up poses for these animals and pretend to be them.

Resources for doing yoga at home with your kids

If you want something a bit more structured, you might want to try following a video or a live interactive class.

Cosmic Kids Yoga
Loads of very cool themed yoga classes on YouTube. My son is three and struggles slightly to keep focused with these, but I have friends with children the same age who love them, so I’d say for three and up depending on your individual children.

Andy’s Wild Workouts
Not strictly yoga but these short shows on iPlayer are a great way to get little kids moving. My son loves these – especially good if your child(ren) are already fans of Andy.

Feel Flow Yoga
Jennie is a local children’s yoga teacher and is currently running live classes via Zoom. My son and I tried her ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ class recently and loved it.

Bowers Boost
Sam is sharing some fab meditations and breathing exercises for little people at the moment including a rainbow relaxation, lion’s breath and positive affirmation nursery rhyme.