Rainbow Pose is what we know as side plank. Its element is air because it’s creative and also takes a lot of focus to balance and hold.
Anatomy of the Pose: Come to plank pose, where the body is parallel to the floor. Push back through the heels. Begin rotating the back of the body towards the right as you come to balance on the side of the right foot; left arm comes up as the right palm stays firmly planted on your mat. You can bend the left knee and place the foot out in front of you for balance as you lift the left hip towards the ceiling. Or, if you want the full pose, place the inside edge of the left foot on top of the right foot. Gaze can be forward, or up towards the left hand if you want to challenge your balance further. Come back to plank and switch sides.
Chakras Affected: Rainbow pose is wonderful for your solar plexus, or Manipura. It strengthens the core as well as the arms, and is a great way to improve balance and stamina. Though rainbow’s element is air, manipura is often associated with fire because it transforms and cleanses.
Benefits for Children: This pose is a lot of fun for kids because balancing is so challenging. It takes a lot of focus and kind of feels like flying once you get it down. Side plank in general is going to help your child with balance and core – which are two great areas to get a head start in.
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Camel Pose, or Ustrasana, is a backbend as well as a great chest opener. Its element is water, which is fitting since it’s wonderful for blood flow and detoxing.
Anatomy of the Pose: Come to the knees and sit back on the heels with toes tucked. Lift off the heels to engage the torso and ensure that you’re in alignment with the hips, chest, neck and shoulders. Lift then drop the shoulders away from the ears. Inhale and bring the palms to the lower back opening up the chest. Exhale as you begin to drop the head back. Keep the hip bones pushing forward as they will want to fall back as well, keep them aligned! Stay here or reach the hands for the backs of the ankles, this will cause the shoulders and head to fall back more as well. Push the navel towards the sky to get a nice bend in the back as you continue to keep the hip bones pushing forward. Try to relax the neck and drop the shoulders away from the ears. Breathe here. To come out of the pose, slowly lift the head and then the torso – place the hands on the lower back or the floor for support if you need to.
Chakras Affected: Camel pose is a heart opener and therefore great for our heart chakra, or Anahata. Backbends and heart openers can bring emotions to the surface. Several people have reported crying, or feeling really angry, and some even say it makes them feel elated. Whatever is going on in your heart, be prepared for more than just a great stretch.
Benefits for Children: This can be a very deep pose for adults, but flexible children who don’t have far to fall find camel fairly easy. However, keeping the hands on the lower back is perfectly acceptable to get the benefits of this pose. Children who are experiencing growing pains may also get fast physical relief from camel. Follow with downward dog for a great full body stretch.
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Butterfly Pose opens the hips and balances our crown chakra. Its element is air which helps to remind us of those things we cannot see but know are there.
Anatomy of the Pose: Come to seated, bending at the knees and bringing the soles of the feet together. Pull the heels in towards the body and begin to fold forward slightly to grab the big toes with the index and middle fingers. Stay here or fold deeper into the stretch letting the elbows push back onto the thighs. It’s important to keep a straight, lengthened torso when folding forward, try not to round the back. Once settled in the pose ask the kids to bring the knees up and down like flapping butterfly wings.
Chakras Affected: In butterfly pose we trigger the seventh chakra, Sahasrara. This is also known as our crown chakra. It connects us with the divine opening our awareness to the spiritual aspects of our lives.
Benefits for Children: Butterfly pose is a great hip opener, which is vital to most physical activity. We do very little movements throughout the day that open the hips allowing more flexibility and blood flow. Children and adults who practice this pose regularly will notice that it is easier to get in and out of the asanas and hold them for a longer period of time.
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Boat Pose is a great way to fire up the abs and activate the sacral chakra. Like its water element, this pose can bring up deep emotions. It is also great for detoxing.
Anatomy of the Pose: Come to Dandasana, or Staff Pose. Lift the feet off the floor, bringing the knees towards the chest, and rock back so you’re balancing on the sits bones. Place hands under the knees to help find balance. Stay here, or take the hands out from under the knees, arms are still straight with palms up. As if you had an oar in each hand, begin motioning as though you’re rowing a boat. Straighten legs on the forward motion and bend the knees as you row back. Do this while singing:
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
If you see a crocodile
Don’t forget to scream
Chakras Most Affected: Svadhistana, our second chakra, located in the sacrum is activated and balanced in this pose. The energy here brings light to our relationships and aids in emotional cleansing.
Benefits for Children: Not only is this pose fun and they get to sing a silly song, but this pose can help children to positively deal with emotions that feel overwhelming. It also gives us a new perspective on balance, as this is not a common position we find ourselves in.
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We all know that laughter is contagious; Giggle Breath is just that: contagious laughter. Like its air element, it inspires us and moves the things around us. Humans are one of the only species that laughs, and those who laugh a lot tend to have incredible problem solving skills, as it triggers the same area of the brain.
Anatomy of the Pose: Come to criss-cross applesauce, or your comfortable seated pose. Inhale to fill the belly. As you exhale, begin to laugh. This is a lot of fun to do with a group, you’ll find that the pose ends up becoming very natural as it’s almost impossible not to go from forced laughing to genuine, doubled-over laughter.
Chakras Most Affected: Laughter is a beautiful emotion and it balances both our second and fourth chakras: sacral and heart. These trigger feelings of joy and abundance.
Benefits for Children: Children are naturally joyful and energetic; they wear their emotions on their sleeve. This pose is incredibly easy for them, not to mention it’s inclusive and builds confidence. It also reminds us to breathe correctly, into the belly.
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Dog Pose is great for strength, gauging the body, and also an easy inversion for kids. Like the dog or puppy, this pose activates so many areas and is a great way to calm anxiety and create endorphins.
Anatomy of the Pose: From tabletop, take the hands about an inch in front of you. On an inhale, straighten the legs to lift the sits bones. Feet are hip-width apart, fingers are spread with middle fingers facing forward. To make this more fun for the kids, ask them what sound a dog makes. Begin to do little hops propelling your tailbone into the air while barking. This makes the pose even more active and a lot of fun.
Chakras Most Affected: Dog pose balances the root chakra. Hands and feet are planted firmly into the mat connecting us to the earth.
Benefits for Children: This pose is very helpful for gauging the areas that are hold a lot of tension, kids don’t hold a lot of tension but take time at the beginning of this pose to ask them how different areas of the body feel: feet, legs, hands, arms, etc.
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Mountain Pose is great for stopping and taking stock of where you are; reminding yourself to come back to the present. The mountain is still but full of life. Appreciate the breath here and rediscover your center.
Anatomy of the Pose: Come to standing, with big toes touching and feet rooted firmly into the ground. Center the pelvic bowl, not letting it tip forward or back. Gaze is forward. Remember to relax the shoulders and soften the face. Bring prayer hands to heart center and breathe here.
Chakras Most Affected: Mountain pose is excellent for the root chakra. It keeps us grounded and helps us to focus our breathing.
Benefits for Children: Stillness is not the easiest for children; they’re little balls of energy pretty much all the time. Mountain allows them to be quiet and still, and it is also wonderful for posture. When you need to help them calm down and breathe, have them come to mountain so they can bring their minds back to a more balanced state.
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Tickle Toes is a very energizing pose that allows you to let loose and be silly. Its element is fire which promotes movement and action.
Anatomy of the Pose: Begin in mountain pose. Bring the arms up over head, reaching the fingers towards the ceiling. Inhale to lengthen, exhale to bend at the waist bringing the fingers to the toes. Have the kids tickle their toes while saying “tickle, tickle, tickle.” Saying the words in a fun, magical voice helps them to more easily remember the pose.
Chakras Most Affected: This pose is similar to forward fold which is a great way to activate the root chakra.
Benefits for Children: This pose is a great way to boost energy and de-stress. You can even adjust the pose to be more relaxing and just having the kids hang in a forward fold, letting all the tension fall out of the upper back, neck and shoulders.
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