Music serenades our lives, adding significance to moments, people, and events, connecting us to our experiences, emotions, memories and dreams. Truly the soul has an innate love of music. In addition, sounds have a profound influence on our cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional development, behavior and social skills. There is scarcely a single function of the human body which is not affected by musical tones.
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. ~Plato
Using music in a children’s yoga class is a wonderful way to allow them to develop their bodies and minds. From simple nursery rhymes to custom written kids yoga scores, children will respond positively to melodies and movement.
Benefits of Music in Kids Yoga Class
- connects and brings people together, helping us interact one with another
- engages our emotions and has a powerful impact on mood and energy levels
- teaches rhythm, timing, orientation and coordination
- focuses the mind and increases concentration
- develops language and speech skills
- improves listening skills and phonetic awareness
- encourages creativity and self expression
- enhances overall health and a sense of well-being
- increases intelligence and brain connectivity
Best of all kids don’t really care is you can sing or not. So let lose, crank up the tunes, sing a favourite song and dance like no-one’s watching.
For inspiration check out these samples of using music in a kids yoga class: Star Pose, Bug Yoga (spider pose), Shark Attack. Or fill your mp3 player with catchy tunes and enjoy these musically inspired yoga games: Freeze Dance and Musical Mats.
Some valuable resources for your kids yoga class include:
- I Grow withYoga: Yoga Songs for Children – by Childlight Yoga
- Come Play Yoga – by Karma Kids Yoga
- Dance for the Sun – by Kira Willey
- Musical Yoga Adventures – by Suzi Frank and Linda Lara
- Stress Free Kids – music CDs for relaxation by Lori Light
Always Adding More on Pinterest
Visit the Music for Kids Yoga Class Board on Pinterest for lots more ideas.
Discover how to energize your day with chair pose (utkatasana). This is a wonderful pose to build strength in the lower body and will vitalize your body and mind. This video includes breathing techniques and a twist that will quickly chase away fatigue and lethargy leaving you feeling invigorated and ready to meet new challenges.
Chair Pose – Utkatasana
Have you ever felt really sluggish and tired at school. Here’s a great way to energize your day. It’s called chair pose, utkatasana.
To do this pose you need to stand up nice and tall with your feet slightly apart. Then, bend your knees and stick your bum out as if you were sitting on a chair. From there, reach your arms up with your palms facing together. This is a fantastic pose to work the hips and the thighs and improve your lower body strength.
To really get a boost in your day we’re going to combine utkatasana with a breathing technique. As you inhale, reach up. Exhale, breathe out and bring your arms down with a ‘ha.’ Inhale reach out, exhale ‘ha’. Again. Up and out. Inhale up, exhale out. One more time. Inhale up and exhale out. And then return to standing.
Shake your legs out a bit before we go into the next part of this pose.
Chair Pose with a Twist
For the second part we are going to do utkatasana with a twist. So standing in mountain pose with your feet slightly apart. Come into chair pose, sitting your bum down, keeping your knees parallel to one another. Bring your hands to namaste in front of your heart. Inhale lengthen your spine. Exhale bring your elbow to your knee. Press your hands together. Press your knee against your upper arm. And keep breathing throughout the pose.
This kind of gets hard to do and you might feel your legs start to shake a little bit. That’s OK. Don’t worry about it.
Inhale come back to centre. Exhale and twist to the other side. Perfect. Very nicely done. Keep breathing. Remember you are working at increasing your energy and your strength. One more breath. Finally come back to centre and stand up.
And that’s utkatasana. It’ll help increase your energy whenever you are feeling tired.
For more kids yoga poses visit the alphabetical list of poses.
Guest post by Kami Evans
When my daughter Hannah was diagnosed with hemiparesis, which is a mild case of cerebral palsy, I wondered: What can I do to help her? How active should she be? And how can I not be overprotective of Hannah, especially when she goes off to school?
The answer seemed to be involving my daughter in as many activities as I could. As a result, Hannah was signed up for swimming, gym and music classes all by her first birthday. My daughter also had eight hours of physical and occupational therapy each week.
The brain is so plastic. And how active I remained with Hannah’s treatment before she turned 24 months would impact how successful her recovery would be. I was on a mission.
Then I found yoga. When a class with a few participants got cancelled, I hired the instructor to lead the lessons out of my home. At 15 months, Hannah started to crawl by incorporating the rocking table and downward dog poses in her movements. At 20 months, Hannah progressed to trying poses such as mountain, squats and elevator. Every day Hannah would get the movements more and more.
I saw such a difference in my daughter’s development that we asked the instructor to come over three times per week. Meanwhile, Hannah continued to take her usual classes and have her weekly eight hours of therapy sessions. But the yoga instruction was unique in that it was playful and enjoyable for Hannah, prompting her to consider her time with the instructor as a playdate.
When the instructor chose to pursue other interests, it encouraged me to become certified. I first took a teacher training course at a Manhattan studio for children’s yoga, followed by training and certification working with children with special needs.
The best part of the training? Not only did I learn more about Hannah’s yoga practice and how it enabled her to become increasingly aware of her body and personal space, but I was able to share this with other families, as well. Inspired by this journey, I opened a yoga studio for children on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. This led me to share the benefits of yoga for children in more than five locations throughout New York City.
Four Exercises to Develop Body & Mind
Cross the mid-line. Crossing the mid-line enhances brain development. An example of this is to sit with your child, having him or her rub one’s hands together. Once the child’s hands get warm, have the child cross hands and touch opposite shoulders. This allows the child to cross the mid-line and make new neurological pathways for further brain development. Motivate your child to do this over and over again in novel ways, such as by crossing over to touch one’s knees, toes and ears.
Use the eyes. As your child grows, he or she looks at things in new ways. Once the child begins to look at books and track words, the child’s depth perception develops. While this occurs, it is crucial for your child to build the muscles behind the eyes. One method of doing this is by moving a toy the child likes in different directions, asking the child to follow the toy with his or her eyes. Another method is snapping your fingers up and down and then right to left, while your child trails the movements. Either way, have your child watch the object move at least ten times in each direction. This helps build the little muscles supporting the child’s eyes and lessens the chances for glasses.
Do core poses. As all of a person’s limbs are extensions from the core of the body, it’s essential to develop the core. Building a strong core enables a child to balance oneself both physically and mentally. Poses that support the core are the dolphin pose and boat pose. Do these and other poses with your children, allowing you each to build your strength and bond.
Sing a song. While singing to a child can help the young yogini accomplish a difficult pose, it can be especially encouraging for children who are late talkers. If for any reason you find your child not communicating, find a book that you know the child enjoys and sing each word in the story. Take the time to sing the words one by one and change your tone, emphasizing that a new word is being sung. Soon your child will be doing poses in utter relaxation, not even realizing a stronger core will result and likely a better grasp of language.
Kami Evans, the founder and an instructor at Elahi Yoga, became a certified children’s yoga instructor through Karma Kids Yoga and a certified yoga instructor for kids with special needs through Every Kids Yoga, which are both located in Manhattan. Working with her daughter and seeing remarkable improvements through yoga exercise has inspired Evans to continue with the practice and help other children to gain self-confidence and have fun through yoga.
Star pose is a great pose to teach balance and coordinate movement with music. Star pose is ideal for pre-school and school aged children. Children with special needs also enjoy this pose. You can do this pose individually but in this video we’re doing it with a partner. Practicing this kids yoga pose with a partner provides an opportunity for success for individuals with developing balance skills to enjoy a sense of accomplishment. In addition it builds social skills and develops the coordination necessary to transfer weight from one side to the other, increasing strength and core stability.
Hello, I’m Donna with Yogainmyschool.comand today I’m here with my niece, Nadia. Nadia and I are going to show you how to do star pose. So if you’ve ever wondering what you can do with pre-school children and yoga here is a great activity.
Let’s make a five pointed star with our bodies. First extend your legs nice and wide. Then reach your arms out. Now twinkle your fingers. Next twinkle your toes. And can you sing Twinkle Little Star with me?
Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky,
Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.
That was perfect, thank you so much.