Kids yoga has been blooming in recent years, with more and more kids yoga classes and kids yoga books making their appearance. And this is no surprise considering the fact that yoga can help improve body awareness, flexibility and may even help calm your child down. So what exactly is kids yoga?
For anyone who has practiced yoga and has a child, you may have been in a situation where you have tried to practice yoga with your child. Kids yoga is a more playful type of yoga, with specific kids yoga poses there for them to expand their imagination and explore their bodies.
There are specific kids yoga classes, where a trained teacher guides the class through specially designed kids yoga poses, most commonly with the use of a storybook. I have prepared a list of the most highly rated and loved kids yoga books, so this is the perfect list for parents and kids yoga teachers looking for some inspiration.
This list of kids yoga books is perfect for parents as you can read them with your child. Some books are for bedtime and have yoga poses aimed to help prepare your child for bed. Others are there to help wake your child up in the morning. And others are imagination expanding stories for you and your children to enjoy any time of the day.
The rest of this article presents my recommended:
- Kids yoga videos
- Kids yoga books
- Kids yoga games
- Kids yoga mats
Kids yoga videos
There are 3 video series recommendations for kids yoga. One is for younger children, the other for slightly older children and the last one is for parents or yoga teachers wanting to teach yoga to children.
Yoga for Kids |Ages 3-6
This series of videos is aimed at children aged 3-6 and is the perfect way to introduce your children to yoga. They are taught by Mayuri Gonzalez who has been teaching yoga and mindfulness for over 25 years. She is also the director of the School Yoga Project, which is “a Little Flower Yoga program that brings yoga and mindfulness classes to over 8000 children a year in New York City schools”.
This course consists of 5 different short classes, each just under 15 minutes and each with a different focus. The aim of these classes is to help children explore mindfulness, yoga poses, and breathing exercises in a fun way. The 5 different classes are a core-strengthening class, a relaxing and restoring class, a movement class, a balancing focused class, and lastly a class helping children get comfortable with stillness.
Yoga for Kids |Ages 7-10
This series of videos is aimed at children aged 7-10. They are taught by Jennifer Cohen Harper who has a Master’s Degree in Education and Child Development and is the founder of Little Flower Yoga.
According to her bio, Jennifer’s goal is to help children “navigate the many challenges they face with a sense of personal power and self-awareness.”
This course consists of 5 different short classes, each just under 15 minutes each and with a different focus. The aim of these classes is to help children aged 7-10 be introduced to yoga, mindfulness, and breathing exercises in a fun way. The 5 different classes are a strength-building class, a loving-kindness meditation, a breathing technique class to help children raise energy or lower energy depending on what they need, a balancing class, and finally a class that can be done at the desk.
Teaching Yoga and Mindfulness to Children
This online course is perfect for parents and yoga teachers interested in teaching yoga to children. Given that children require a very unique and tailored approach to how they are taught, this course will give you the knowledge you need to teach yoga to children and teenagers in a playful manner.
It is a 20-hour course that also meets Yoga Alliance’s requirements and can be added to your Yoga Alliance training.
The course starts off with “how the relationship between the brain, the body, and the nervous system affects child development”. It then explores a wide variety of practices to help teach yoga to children.
More specifically, this course is made up of 13 sections:
- Introduction to Little Flower Yoga and Its Five Elements
- Cultivating Safety and Engagement
- The Brain, Nervous System, and Body: Understanding Your Students and Their Needs
- Classroom Management Basics
- Lesson Planning
- Ethics and Secularity
Next, let’s have a look at some of the benefits of yoga for kids, based on scientific research.
Benefits of yoga for kids
There is a growing number of studies exploring the benefits of yoga and also the benefits of yoga specifically to children. Here is a really cute video of children telling us what they like about yoga:
Let’s now have a look at some of the key benefits as found by academic studies.
Improved strength and flexibility
Yoga may improve children’s strength and flexibility. One study studied 16 children from the 1st grade in the South of Brazil. The children participated in a 12-week intervention and they practiced a 45-minute yoga class twice a week. The results showed that after the end of the study the children demonstrated significant and positive changes in overall motor abilities scores, including balance, strength, and flexibility.
Less negative behaviour
Yoga may be able to help children with negative behavior. One study studied 71 fourth and fifth graders in Bronx, New York. The children were split into two groups. Group 1 was the control group and did not practice yoga. Group 2 practiced yoga for 1 hour every week for 12 weeks. The results showed that the children in the yoga group used fewer negative behaviors in response to stress. It was even reported that the majority of the yoga group children reported enhanced wellbeing.
Management of chronic illness
Yoga may be able to help children with managing a chronic illness. One study aimed to examine the effect of yoga as a treatment for adolescents with IBS. They studied 25 teenagers (aged 11 to 18) and they were split into two groups. Group 1 was the control group and did not practice yoga. Group 2 took part in a yoga class and then practiced yoga for 1 hour once a week at home guided by a video.
The teenagers that practiced yoga reported having lower anxiety, less gastrointestinal symptoms, and less functional disability when compared to the control group.
Improved ability to solve tasks
Yoga may be able to affect the prefrontal cortex, including the
ability to plan and execute complex functions. One study studied 20 girls, aged 10-13 who were split into two groups. Group 1 was given physical education while Group 2 practiced yoga for 75 minutes every day, 7 days a week for 1 month. Their yoga class included yoga poses, breathing, meditation and relaxation.
At the end of the month, the results of the study found that the yoga group girls were able to execute simple and more complex mental tests faster than the control group. The researchers suggested that this may be because yoga was able to increase blood flow to the frontal lobe, resulting in a rapid realization and correction of errors.
Yoga may be able to help children reduce their stress. One study examined whether mindfulness and yoga can help school-age girls reduce their perceived stress, enhance their coping abilities, and also enhance their self-esteem.
The girls practiced yoga for 1 hour every week for a total of 8 weeks. The results found that the girls were more able to understand and also cope with stress.
The 15 best yoga books for kids
Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga
Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga is perfect for anyone looking for a yoga book for toddlers as it is a great book for parents or teachers wanting to introduce children to yoga. Written by Rebecca Whitford and Martina Selway, this book is aimed for children aged 1-4 and introduces simple yoga poses and sequences to young children. Using pretty and colorful illustrations, children are invited to join Yoga Baby in some basic yoga poses. It contains text like:
“Yoga Baby spreads his arms out like a butterfly”
As an extra tip for the adults using this book, at the back of the book you will find explanations of how to approach each pose.
Sleepy Little Yoga: A Toddler’s Sleepy Book of Yoga
Sleepy Yoga: A Toddler’s Sleepy Book of Yoga is the perfect accompaniment book to the previous book, as this one is aimed to help children wind down and get ready for bedtime. Written by Rebecca Whitford and Martina Selway, this book is aimed at children aged 1-4 and introduces 9 simple yoga poses that invite children to mimic nighttime animals. Along with colorful and simple illustrations, it contains text like:
“Yoga Baby sniffs the night air like a little fox”
Similarly to the previous book, at the back of the book, you will also find explanations of how to approach each pose.
Good night yoga: A pose-by-pose bedtime story
Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story is another beautiful bedtime book by Mariam Gates, founder of the acclaimed Kid Power Yoga program. Through illustrations and simple yoga poses, this bedtime story guides children as the earth is settling down for the night.
“The Sun in the sky is going down. And the clouds float by. You’ll be sleeping soon.”
This book is a wonderful way for both parents and children to wind down at the end of the day in a very calm and mindful way.
The seven doors
The seven doors is aimed for slightly older children of (Grade Level 2-3) and was written by Alanna Zabel, yoga teachers to the stars with a double BA in Psychology and Child Development. This story is a child-friendly version of Deepak Chopra’s best-seller, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. It contains text like:
“It’s hard to see clearly, when you are in the dark you can’t see your election without any light or spark”.
The seven doors is a story about Ruby who is gifted yet does not know how to apply her talents.
Asana’s first yoga class
Asana’s First Yoga Class is another beautiful book by Alanna Zabel for Grade Level 2-3. This story is about Asana, a young girl who loves yoga getting ready to teach yoga to her friends who have come from all over the world to see her. It contains text like:
“Everything in Nature can be flexible somehow”.
What is extra nice about this book is that Alana’s friends each have their pet with them, and these animals are there to show the animal that represents specific yoga poses, such as cat pose and downward-facing dog. Children reading his book can learn about the yoga poses and also follow along with the poses Asana shows her friends.
Yawning yoga is a bedtime yoga book aimed at children aged 4-8. This book was written by Laurie Jordan, a social worker turned yoga instructor. It is a beautifully illustrated book that may be able to help add a little evening yoga practice before bedtime to help children wind down and get ready for bed. It contains text like:
“Yawning yoga helps me unwind, thank my body my spirit, my mind.”
With the use of poems, a series of step-by-step yoga poses are there for children to practice and get ready for bed.
Kids Yoga Book with Yoga Poems and Coloring Pages
YOGi FUN Kids Yoga Book is aimed at children aged 4+. Very different from the previous books, this book is also a coloring book that will also help children learn basic yoga poses and rhyming poems. It contains 44 coloring pages of 20 yoga poses of kids and funny animals.
It even contains extra pages of children to create and color their own yoga poses. What makes this particular book a must-have is that t is compact enough to fit in your bag and it is perfect for when you need to keep your children busy while they focus and get to develop their creative side.
Cali’s Yoga Books with Music
Cali’s books yoga with music is for children aged 0 – 4 years. These are a series of books that also include sound buttons. Using catchy nursery rhymes, children get to learn 6 different yoga poses.
Children get to hear the nursery rhyme and then get to practice the pose associated with that song.
Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments
Breathe Like a Bear is a bestseller mindfulness book for children aged 4 – 8 years. It was written by Kira Willey who is a children’s music artist, kids’ yoga, and mindfulness expert. This book is divided into 5 sections, Be Calm, Focus, Imagine, Make Some Energy, and Relax.
Children are also encouraged to use their imagination with text like:
“Imagine you’re a sleepy lion, just waking up in the morning”
Each section of the book contains two breathing exercises that are aimed to encourage the practice of mindfulness.
Breathe with Me: Using Breath to Feel Strong, Calm, and Happy
Breathe with Me: Using Breath to Feel Strong, Calm, and Happy is another book by Mariam Gates, author of Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story.
This book is aimed at children aged 4 – 8 years. With similar illustrations to her previous books, this book focuses on breathing exercises for children, both for when they wake up in the morning and also to help them relax before bedtime. They are also there to teach them how to calm themselves when they feel stressed, angry, or sad.
It contains text like:
When something makes you mad or even feels unfair,
try this counting breath and you’ll feel calmer there.
Sit up and let your spine grow tall.
Take a deep breath in, counting silently 1 . . . 2 . . . 3.
Then let your breath out slowly, counting 1 . . . 2 . . . 3.
Sweet Dreams: Bedtime Visualizations for Kids
Sweet dreams is again by Mariam Gates, who this time uses techniques to help children calm down before bedtime so they can enjoy a good night’s rest.
It has text like:
“Imagine you’re in a leafy green rainforest. Take a DEEP BREATH IN and a LONG BREATH OUT.”
Using 8 different visualizations, this book helps children use their imagination, slow down, breathe, and relax.
Good Morning Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Wake Up Story
Good Morning Yoga by Mariam Gates is here to help wake up our children aged 4 – 8 years and get them excited and ready for all daily adventures ahead.
It contains text like:
“Calm and awake, “I can do this!” is all I need to say.
A deep breath in, a long breath out―I am ready for the day!”
This book helps guide children along a beautiful story with yoga poses there to empower them and help them manage their energy throughout the day.
I Am Yoga (I Am Books)
I am Yoga is a collaboration between Susan Verde (author of No. 1 New York Times bestseller I Am Human) and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds. This is part of a series of I Am books, which are a celebration of mindfulness, wellness, and compassion.
It contains text like:
“I can soar among the clouds. I am so free.”
YogaBunnies: Yoga Fun for Mum and Baby
Yoga Fun for Mum and Baby is slightly different from the above books, as it is geared towards mums who practice yoga and want to practice with their little ones. It is aimed at children aged 5-6.
This is a beautiful story of a mummy and baby bunny, who play and practice yoga together. This book is a great way to practice yoga together or just to read before bedtime.
Breathe, Mama, Breathe: 5-Minute Mindfulness for Busy Moms
And last but certainly not least, here is a book aimed only at the yoga mamas out there who feel like they need a little mindfulness for themselves.
Breathe, Mama, Breathe is a book with easy-to-follow practices aimed to that will help busy mums reset and refocus., in just 5 minutes!
There are more than 60 “mindful breaks” such as:
Eat a mindful breakfast, with no phone, TV, or newspaper!
Cuddle your child and take three deep breaths together.
The 6 best yoga games for kids
Yoga games can be a great way to get children moving and enjoy yoga, all while having fun. By turning the poses into a fun game, you may be able to make yoga a shared and fun family experience.
Here are some recommended yoga games for kids that your kids may love.
Yoga puzzle pairs for toddlers
YOGi FUN Yoga Puzzle Pairs is specially designed for toddlers, for ages 2-4. This consists of 10 non-toxic puzzles that help children learn 10 basic yoga poses. Children are encouraged to match the set and do the pose.
Aside from yoga, these puzzles can also be seen as an educational tool as they help children learn about animals, colors, and how to count from 1 to 10.
Kids yoga dice game
YOGi FUN Kids Yoga dice Game is designed for children 5 years and up. This set contains 4 high-quality wooden dice with no sharp edges, that depict 18 colorful yoga poses.
This is the perfect game for kids to enjoy at home or with their friends as by rolling the dice children get to try out combinations of asanas. Each symbol on the did help children develop breathing, improvising, and saying nice words, all while learning and practicing yoga poses.
The monkey mind meditation deck
The Monkey Mind Meditation Deck is a beautiful way to teach meditation to children and help them learn about themselves without any judgment. Through wonderfully illustrated artwork, children explore the playful and also powerful qualities in animals that in turn help them discover the same qualities in themselves and also in others.
It contains text like:
“Just like Firefly, even if you are small, you can be a light in the darkness.”
Yoga spinner yoga game
ThinkFun Yoga Spinner Yoga Game is a great game for children aged 5-15. It encourages children to work on teamwork while also encouraging physical activity.
Children spin the wheel and then have to perform the pose on the selected card. If they are able to hold the pose for 10 seconds they get to keep the card. Teamwork, a little luck, some strength, and a dash of flexibility will be a winning combination for this game.
The yoga garden game
The Yoga Garden Game is a wonderful game for children aged 4 and above. It can be played by the whole family and is a collaborative game, where the task is to plant a flower garden before night falls. Moving along the board children learn about basic yoga poses and even get to invent their own.
Kids yoga poses poster
And lastly, this kid’s yoga poster is perfect for those looking for a simple yet beautiful yoga poster for their children’s room.
With the rise in popularity of kids yoga, came the rise in available yoga mats. There are now fun and colorful kids yoga mats to choose from, so here are my recommendations.
Alex Active Yoga Kids Activity Exercise Mat
Alex Active Yoga Kids Activity Exercise Mat is a kids yoga mat that also doubles into a puzzle. It contains 24 foam tiles and each contains a yoga pose. Solve the puzzle and fit them together and you’ll have a yoga mat. This is designed for children 3 years of age and older and even helps children learn the numbers.
Kids Yoga Chi Mat & Yoga Game
The Kids Yoga Chi Mat & Yoga Game doubles also as a game for children, teenagers, and adults. Think of the yoga version of twister. The symbols are displayed on the yoga mat for your children to follow as a game. You get step-by-step pictures and a free app that helps explain how to do the yoga poses.
Gaiam Kids Yoga Mat
The Gaiam kids yoga mat is a beautiful non-toxic yoga mat, specifically designed for children ages 5-8. You can choose between 9 fun prints:
- Blue rocket
- Bunny zen
- Dino zone
- Metallic mermaid
- Mr Giraffe,
- Pink zebra
- Prickly pear
- Unicorn power
Eco friendly kids yoga mat
The Eco-friendly kid’s yoga mat is non-toxic and comes in two beautiful designs, specially made for children. One theme is the jungle and the other is the ocean. This mat is foldable, lightweight, and even comes with its own bag.