One yoga teacher in the kids yoga teacher training course asked me a question that every new teacher must ask when doing kids yoga:
How do we do kids yoga animal poses?
Yoga animal poses are part of the basic tools for teaching kids. You'll find them in many kids yoga books like:
The Yoga Zoo Adventure for Little Kids by Helen Purperhart
Fly Like A Butterfly: Yoga for Children by Shakta Kaur Khalsa (I've bought this book twice, my first one I used so much it fell apart!)
Plus many other great books and videos. There are also some great blog posts on Yoga Animals here at:
Stuffed Animals for Yoga Class Help Kids Focus from the Yoga in My School blog
Here are some scary animals like bats and Spiders in this post: Halloween Yoga for Kids from the Childlight Yoga blog.
I have to admit I haven't included a yoga animal story in my teacher training curriculum. Yoga animals are part of other themes like in the Story of the Lion Cub who Was Raised by Goats - we do lions and even a goat pose! But in my desire to do a kids yoga training that was more than just pretending to be poses, I figured this was already available.
Yet this question helped me realize that animals and yoga go together so naturally, it is a fundamental of kids yoga. So I'm going to cover it here and include this blog post in my teacher training manual. I'm grateful for people's questions and feedback because they also show me what can be added to improve my training course.
Here are my current top ten favorite yoga animal poses:
- Camel Ride - a basic warm-up in Kundalini Yoga, sit in easy pose, hold your ankles, inhale lift your spine forward and up, exhale and relax your spine back - as if you were riding on a camel.
- Elephant taking a Shower: stand up and make a trunk with your arms, keep your legs straight and dip your trunk into the imaginary watering hole in front of you, then lift your trunk up and spray the water like a shower.
- Frog: squat and stretch your legs like a frog warming up and then jump!
- Cobra Pose
- Downward Dog
- Butterfly Drinking Nectar: sitting, put your feet together and knees bent wide apart. Flutter your legs up and down like a butterfly. Then move your chest to your feet and drink the nectar from a flower in front of you.
- Cheetah: move quickly on all fours like a cheetah running across the land
- Camel Pose: See the picture above.
- Unicorn: Make your hands into a magical unicorn horn over the centre of your head then gallop.
- Donkey Kicks
Start an animal yoga class by saying, "Put your hand up if you like animals." You'll get so many hands you may have to limit comments from the kids, but you'll quickly find out animals they like to do. You can also suggest that there are those who feel some of the yoga poses came from watching how animals stretch. Then ask them if they want to do some animal yoga. I've never had young kids say no, although the older kids (10 - 12 yrs) may lose interest in this.
Then you'll be off to the races, or should I say the Zoo, going through all the poses, plus the ones the kids make up.
What are your favorite Animal Yoga Poses and Games to teach or do?