The saying goes, monkey see … monkey do — and that couldn’t be more true than with kids. What you do, they want to do. So why not do some yoga, together? That’s exactly what Marni Sandler thought and built her business in Brooklyn on. Unlike adult yoga studios that occasionally offer classes for young kids, teens or new moms, Monkey Do Yoga! is focused entirely on children and families. That means age-appropriate, play-based classes taught by specially trained instructors offered in multiple time-slots. And just in case you can’t make to Brooklyn to check out a class, Marni put together her favorite yoga poses for kids rountine together. Do them with your kids! After all, monkey see … monkey do! —Jenn
Yoga Poses for Kids and Parents to Do Together
It’s too cold, too hot, too rainy to go out. You’re stuck in the house with the kids. Afraid you’re not going to get that workout in, the kids are going to go stir crazy … fear not! There’s an impromptu family yoga session to the rescue.
This is chance for you to bond with your family, cure boredom, build focus and instill healthy exercise habits in your kids. Not to mention, it’s an opportunity for busy parents to get some movement, calm and breathing in for themselves.
You don’t need to be a master yogi — don’t worry about perfect alignment or complicated poses. It’s as easy as taking cues and inspiration from what you see around you in the house and having fun. Here’s a simple sequence of yoga poses for kids (and parents!) doing exactly that, but feel free to weave in your own ideas. (Also, shoutout to our teacher Alex Venier Ledesma and her super adorable daughter and son who are in the photos!)
Start in Criss-Cross Applesauce (aka Easy Pose or Sukhasana) hands to shoulders, elbows out, arms parallel to the floor, twisting upper body side to side. Older kids and adults can add in a breath exercise: as you look to the left inhale through your nose, as you move to the right exhale through your nose, repeat for 9 breaths. Sit still for a few moments and ask your kids how they feel different.
Place your shins on the ground, with hands on the ground in front of you, upper body parallel to the floor.
Move into Extended Table top — balancing left arm straight out in front of you/right leg straight behind you toes pointing now, hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Then switch to right arm/left leg, holding for the same number of breaths.
Now try Reverse Table top (Ardha Purvotannasana). This time you’re facing the ceiling with feet on the ground and palms on the ground facing back. If the kids have a little extra energy to burn, scoot around for a minute, just like a crab walk.
Look out the window and salute the sun (modified Surya Namaskar), repeat approximately 3 rounds. Try it fast and try it slow!
- Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
- Reach up high (Urdhva Hastasana)
- Touch your toes reach down low (Uttanasana)
- Move into dog, wag your tail (Adho Mukha Svasana). Throw in a donkey kick or two.
- Jump back up to Mountain (Tadasana)
From Mountain Pose (Tadasana) raise hands up high, and move your bottom down and back as if you’re sitting in an invisible chair (Utkatasana).
Chair variation: Can you stand on your toes for balance? Who can stay up the longest?
Come to sit on your shins, knees wide, folding forward over your thighs, stretch your hands to the floor away from your feet for Child’s Pose (Balasana).
Sit up straight with soles of the feet touching, knees out to the sides as if they were pages of a book. Gently press legs towards the floor and take deep breaths as you do so. This is also called Butterfly or Baddha Konasana.
From book, challenge your flexibility and balance with Flower or Vikasitakamalasana. Keep a straight back, and your knees bent, just like in book pose. Lift both feet off of the floor (keeping them together) and slip your arms under your knees, raise your heart and look up.
You can even turn this into a partner pose by facing each other and holding hands. If there are multiple family members everyone can join in by sitting in a circle, holding hands as feet stay up.
Relaxation Pose with the Spaghetti Test
Kids lie down in Relaxation Pose (Savasana), eyes closed. Parents check with a gentle wiggle to make sure each arm and each leg is as relaxed as cooked spaghetti. Don’t forget to take turns — parents need their Spaghetti Test, too!
Which pose did your kiddos like the best? Learn more about Monkey Do! —Marni Sandler