A simple Vinyasa warm up sequence can assist a parent, teacher or therapist when providing a yoga intervention for children. A yoga intervention is a hatha or restorative yoga pose, movement series, breathing exercise or guided imagery that offers a break or empowers the students and caregiver to meet their goals. These brain body tools facilitate the child to energize, focus, regulate emotionally and calm. These activities can take as little as 2 minutes or up to 15 minutes depending on the time allotted.
Seated Vinyasa Sequence for a classroom
Sitting in a chair, begin to breathe in the three-part breath. Reaching both arms overhead take an inhale. Exhale as you move the arms down again. Repeat this five times.
Seated Cat and Cow: Placing your hands interlaced behind your head, do the Cat pose. Folding elbows forward, head slightly down and condense as you bring the elbows together in the front of the face with an exhale. Then open the folded arms, bringing the arms back along the shoulders with a slight arch back while inhaling. Repeat 5 sets.
Side bends: Inhale and raise the left arm. Lean to the right, extending the arm overhead and to the right. Exhale and bring the arm back to the center. Repeat with the right arm over the head, bending to the left side and then back to center.
Seated twist: Find a comfortable seated posture facing forward. Turning to the right, bring the right arm behind you and hold the chair back. Continue rotating with the left hand twisting the torso and place the left hand on the outside of the right leg.
EARLY YOGA ACTIVITIES: Yoga for Toddlers age 18 months-3 years
Toddlers can imitate simple movements. Adults can assist using hands on, and verbal cues. Move slowly through the poses with a gentle voice and pace. Repeat several times or to tolerance. You may wish to offer a gentle touch and handling, to assist the child to get in and out of poses. Face the child or sit behind the child as you face a mirror.
Toddler’s Standing Poses and Hands and Knee Poses
With toddlers, the therapist or caregiver needs to hold the child for support and may need to assist the child into the pose depending on age. Therapists can start working with a young child using yoga as early as infancy offering the opportunity to move through developmental patterns. Child’s pose has the underpinnings of an early basic neuro-cellular pattern (a principle of Body Mind Centering) called a spinal pattern; the Downward Dog offers a chance for the therapist to assist the child to do upper body weight bearing and has the underpinnings of a push pattern. Facilitating Upward Dog develops the child’s back and neck muscles. Other poses that can be facilitated are: Forward bend, Tree, Downward Facing Dog, Upward Dog, Three-legged Dog, Bridge, Cat, Cow, Child’s pose, Sponge pose,
Seated Floor Vinyasa For Any Age
• Begin in Cobbler Pose.
• Crossing one leg over the other, stacking the knees pointed forward, place the calves and ankles on the sides of the thighs and directed back towards the hips and reach up with arms. Assume Cow Face Pose and inhale the arms up and exhale.
• Extending the legs forward straighten out, inhale the arms up and into a forward bend and exhale. Come back up to a seated pose. Inhale as you side-bend to right, weight-bear on right hand and left arm extends over head to right side. Repeat on opposite side.
• Place the left foot on the floor with knee bent and extend the right leg. Inhale as you twist to left and place left hand to floor behind left hip, then turn left and place right hand on the outside of the left knee on the floor or the leg. Exhale in the pose. Repeat on opposite side.
• End with Sponge Pose.