Giselle Shardlow is the author of Kids Yoga Stories. Her yoga-inspired children’s books get children moving, learning, and having fun. Giselle draws from her experiences as a teacher, traveler, yogi, and mom to write her stories found on Amazon worldwide.
As a yoga teacher for children, I instantly connected to her when she contacted us. I was so happy with her book that I wanted to incorporate it into a yoga class I’d teach. Watch out for our review of Giselle’s book, Sophia’s Jungle Adventure, soon, and also for her newest book release this month: “The ABC’s of Australian Animals: A Kids Yoga Book”, to learn the alphabet through movement. For more info, visit: http://www.kidsyogastories.com/.
Here she shares 6 yoga poses for infants and toddlers with us, ones that I too have shared with my little one. Every once in awhile, Laila pops up into them, because they probably feel so good…and are just so fun 🙂
Children are born practicing yoga poses, and it comes naturally to them. I had seen pictures of babies in yoga postures and read articles on the benefits of yoga for infants, but only when I saw my blossoming yogini did I really understand the impact of yoga on little ones. Beaming with excitement and pride, my daughter uses the poses to express herself. It builds her strength and flexibility and channels her energy in a positive way.
Yoga is an important part of my life, and I hope to model a healthy lifestyle for my daughter. I had no idea how enthusiastic she would be about yoga and how beneficial it would be for her at such an early age. I aim to create a yoga-friendly environment by encouraging her to express herself through movement and by praising her for her efforts. She learns yoga poses by watching me, reading yoga stories for children and acting out animals.
Here, with the chai mommas, I would love to share my daughter’s first yoga poses to show how easy and fun yoga can be for your young ones.
Six yoga postures for infants and toddlers:
Dog – Downward-Facing Dog Pose
With a little one in tow, a trip to my favorite yoga studio is not as feasible. So I practice yoga postures at home. When she was an infant, my daughter watched me doing Sun Salutes in our living room. One morning, she crawled onto my yoga mat and popped up into her version of Downward-Facing Dog Pose underneath me. She lifted her buttocks up in the air, her legs were straight, her palms were flat on the ground, and she stayed there for a few moments in an upside down V shape. She was so excited and began to do her Dog Pose everywhere. Now, she has strength in her arms to straighten them, and she usually does a “bow-wow” sound for a dog.
Tree – Tree Pose
Tree Pose was my daughter’s second posture. She grabs my hand, stands on one foot, and “counts” to ten in Spanish by nodding her head. Then she shakes out both legs and stands on the opposite foot for another ten counts. When we are walking down the street or at a park, she points at a tree and stands in Tree Pose. It became her way of expressing language through movement before she could use words.
Giraffe – Extended Mountain Pose
My daughter loves animals. When we were at the zoo one day, she pointed to the giraffe’s long neck and stood tall with her arms up over her head and her palms together. After that, every time we found giraffes in books, we stood in a giraffe pose. We clap our hands up over our heads to imitate the giraffe eating leaves from a tall tree. There’s something about the giraffe’s long neck that my daughter finds very intriguing. Yoga poses were first invented thousands of years ago by yogis mimicking the natural surroundings, which children do naturally.
Elephant – Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend
We love the “That’s Not My …” book series. We bought a few of the animal-related books, along with the matching Schleich animal figurines. The elephant was one of our popular combinations. We stand with our legs apart, clasp our hands together out in front of ourselves, bend at the waist, and sway our trunks. Then we swing our hands up over our heads while making the sound of the elephant. Again, any time we see an elephant in a book or at the zoo, we have to do the elephant pose!
Duck – Squat Pose
We love going to the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to the two duck ponds. My daughter points at the ducks, squats down, and flaps her wings. Initially, my daughter did the duck pose as a way to communicate, but now she says, “Duckies!” and does her duck pose. At home, we talk about what we saw at the duck pond (ex. ducks, butterflies, turtles, boats, and trees) and reenact our day through kids yoga poses. When we read stories about ducks, she often flaps her wings and points at the ducks on the page.
Butterfly – Cobbler’s Pose
Like most little ones, my daughter is entranced by butterflies. We find them in our garden, at the Butterfly Garden in the Conservatory of Flowers, in the Rainforest walk in the California Academy of Sciences, or at the park. She sits down on her bottom, with her legs bent out in front of her, with the soles of her feet together, and flaps her legs like the wings. She is determined to have a butterfly land on her hand, but she’s had no such luck yet.
Watching my daughter invent and learn new poses is so much fun. She loves it, and she does it all the time. Yoga has become our way of creating a healthy lifestyle, integrating literature in a fun way, and doing something special together.
Is there one kids yoga pose above that you could practice with your child today? We would love to hear about your experience!