Focus-finding yoga flow for children…and their parents!
A yoga flow sequence to help children (and adults) find focus. By Victoria Tso
Do you want to share the benefits of yoga with your children but you’re not sure where to start? Or which poses are safe for them to practice? Perhaps your child has a busy mind and struggles to focus and you know from your experience that yoga could help?
Yoga is a super tool to help children build their attention spans. I’ve created this focus-finding flow for you to share with the children (and teens) in your life. If you don’t have children but know some who might benefit from this please pass your magazine on to them! Let’s get every child benefitting from yoga and watch the world change!
While practicing, everything should feel good. If a pose doesn’t feel good, and specifically if there is any pinching, gently move out of that pose and move on. Children are naturally flexible but don’t always have the strength, balance and coordination we would like so these should be the focus of the practice rather than flexibility.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
We will start, as we so often do, in mountain pose. Feel the strength of the ground beneath your feet and reach up high, maybe enjoying a gentle back bend. Reach your fingertips up as high as you can! Allow children to play with standing on tiptoes or exploring the pose with movement if this is what feels right for them. Take a deep, slow breath here.
Forward fold (Uttanasana)
From mountain pose, we dive forward into a forward fold. Let the head and arms hang heavy; perhaps you can tickle your toes? Try crossing your arms and hanging completely heavy enjoying the space created through the back of the body. Have a bend in the knees if that feels comfortable.
Crescent Lunge Pose (Ashta Chandrasana)
Move back into a crescent lunge. Feel the strength in the legs here and make sure your knee doesn’t cross over your toes. Reach up high and try to ‘cactus’ the arms, enjoying the opening through the chest. Notice whether you find it easy to balance in this pose or whether you are feeling a wobble.
Warrior 2 Pose (Virabadrasana II)
Move into warrior two by letting the back foot land parallel to the back of the mat and opening the hips, leaning into the front knee and bring the arms out straight, look over your front hand. Feel the power through your legs and feel strong here. If it feels good to stay in stillness, hold stillness noticing your breath. If movement feels necessary bring hands into prayer pose as you inhale and then exhale them back wide.
Warrior 3 Pose (Virabadrasana III)
Now it’s time to really challenge our focus. Bring the weight into the front leg and lift up into warrior three. Reach through the arms and extend back with your leg trying to keep the body in a straight line. If you wobble, don’t feel judgement, simply move back into the pose gently. Try to focus on a still point at the line of the horizon to help you balance. See how quietly you can place down the back foot.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
We now challenge our balance again in tree pose. Standing tall put your weight into one foot and raise the other. Use your hands if you need to so you can position your foot either on tiptoes on the ground, on your calf, or against your thigh (avoid pressing into the knee). You can balance with hands in prayer pose or challenge yourself to raise them above your head. Still too easy? Try with your eyes closed!
Now move through the flow again on the other side. Do you notice any difference between the sides? If you do, don’t worry, it’s normal for the body to feel different on different sides.
Knees to Chest/Wind Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana)
We now move down onto the mat, laying on our backs and then hugging our knees in close. Let your intuition lead here and rock side to side to massage your back or circle the knees if this feels good. Keep your focus on the breath and sync any movements to the flow of your breath.
Feet Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
We rest now into a deeply nourishing pose – legs up the wall pose. You could place a folded blanket or pillow under the hips here if that feels good. Try to find the sweet spot where your legs float above without effort. Rest here for as long as feels good.
Perhaps the hardest pose of this flow for those who struggle to focus, savasana. Allow the feet to fall to the side and the palms to face upwards. If this feels intense for the back, then allow the knees to bend. Try to take at least five deep slow breaths here. Children can focus on the rise and fall of their tummy, perhaps with a favourite toy sitting on their stomach. If stillness is too challenging, try squeezing the feet, fists and face in turn.