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New Year, Stronger You: A Yoga Sequence for Renewal

New Year’s is a great time for everyone—not just adults. Kids enjoy making New Year’s resolutions just as much as their parents do. Whether they want to improve their reading or get faster on the soccer field, goals can make the New Year seem all the more exciting. One way to ring in the new year is with a revitalizing yoga sequence that you can do with your kids. Teach your children to feel the vibrations of the universe and to be open to what the world has to offer with a heart-opening yoga sequence. Heart-opening sequences are poses where you bring your chest forward and let your heart shine. Practicing these poses with your kids is a great bonding activity to bring you both closer together. Through this sequence, they’ll see that, though you’re together, you practice on your own. It helps kids feel like solo play is a normal and natural part of life.

Every yoga pose does something amazing for the body, but heart-openers are particularly important in today’s world. Kids and adults are alike in many ways, especially when it comes to technology. Many of us spend hours bent over looking at computer screens. Heart openers are backbends, which are essentially counterposes to the slump of our daily tech life.

Here are a few heart-opening yoga poses for you and your child to try:

Sphinx pose
Sanskrit: Salamba BhujangasanaSphinx pose
Step by step:
Begin by lying on your stomach on your yoga mat. Put your elbows under your shoulders and make sure your forearms are parallel. Inhale, and lift your torso upward, like you’re trying to push your heart up to the ceiling.

Cobra pose
Sanskrit: Bhujangasana
Step by step:
If it’s within your ability, raise up to Cobra pose from Sphinx pose by rolling your shoulders back and lifting yourself up, so that you’re resting on your hands instead of your forearms. Keep pointing your toes and reach back with your heels while your heart still works to move forward.

Fish pose
Sanskrit: Matsyasana
Fish poseStep by step:
While you and your child lay on your backs, lift your bottoms enough to slide your hands beneath you. Pull your shoulder blades together, inhale and lift your chest and head up off the mat. Open your neck so that the crown of your head barely touches the mat.

Wheel pose
Sanskrit: Urdhva Dhanurasana
Step by step:
Wheel pose is a pose to work up to, but if you can do it, it has endless benefits. Similar to Fish pose, your head will likely graze the ground. Start on your back and with your knees bent. Put your hands behind your head so that the palms land close to the ears. Lift your lower body up using your leg muscles. End by lifting your chest off the ground with just the strength of your arms. It’s fun to see how quickly and easily kids can pop into the pose. Make sure everyone’s alignment is correct for safe practicing.

Wheel pose
Bridge pose
Sanskrit: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Step by step:
If Wheel pose is too difficult, try Bridge pose. It accomplishes most of the same movement without hurting the back. For this one, lie on your back and press your feet into the mat. Exhale, and then lift your hips to the sky. Roll your shoulders back, then under your body. Make sure your feet and thighs stay parallel. Take your time as you come down.

Practicing heart-opening poses regularly will:

  • Strengthen the back muscles: Strong back muscles are crucial to kids and adults. As we age, we slump. Women in particular have overstretched abdominal muscles that need support from a strong back. These back muscles also help with your child’s posture.
  • Stretch the torso: The front side of the body spends a lot of time scrunched up. Unless we take a moment to actually stretch it, our flexibility will weaken.
  • Improve focus: Perhaps this is true of all yoga poses, as holding poses are natural concentration builders, but backbends tend to be more challenging to hold. When you and your kids spend time holding those poses, it helps train the brain to focus on the task at hand.
  • Help with breathing issues: Your respiratory system works to supply oxygen to every part of your body. Most of us don’t breathe deeply enough to let that happen, though. Yoga helps train your body to breathe when it is challenged—a lesson every child could benefit from. When you’re in a heart-opening pose, your lungs are expanded and your body can fill with oxygen.

Like what you read here? There’s so much MORE to explore and learn with Kidding Around Yoga. Check out our website for our live and online teacher trainings, Yoga Alliance-approved 95-hour RCYT trainings, specialty online courses, original music, merchandise, and beyond! KAY even offers an online course to help you teach teens and tweens the power and peace a yoga practice can provide (TeenKAY).


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