Yoga is a great activity for kids—it is a fun, creative, and noncompetitive exercise that promotes fitness, flexibility, balance, relaxation, and mindfulness. Kids who practice yoga regularly are calmer, happier, and more focused. They also tend to fall asleep faster and get better rest at night! If you are wondering if bedtime yoga for kids would be a good fit for your family, we’ve compiled a great list of benefits, poses and tips to help you decide.
Benefits of bedtime yoga for kids
- Bedtime yoga helps children sleep better at night.
Children often have trouble sleeping because they’re anxious about something or worried about what might happen in the future. When we worry, our body produces stress hormones like cortisol, which can disrupt normal brain function. This makes it harder for us to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. In addition, when we don’t feel relaxed, we may become agitated and restless, making it even harder to fall asleep. By practicing yoga before going to bed, you’ll help calm your child down so they will drift off into dreamland easier. You’ll also give them an opportunity to release any pent-up energy from being awake all day long.
- Bedtime Yoga is fun for both parents and kids.
Bedtime Yoga helps parents learn how to let go of control over their child’s life by giving up worrying about his/her behavior. Instead, they can enjoy watching their kid do things she enjoys doing. The same goes for the parent – instead of feeling stressed out and frustrated, you can just sit back and watch her move around, stretch, and play freely without having to think about anything else.
- Bedtime yoga teaches children how to relax, self soothe and regulate their emotions.
When kids practice yoga on a consistent basis, they develop a greater ability to relax themselves mentally and physically. As a result, they sleep better at night and wake up refreshed in the morning. These skills translate well into other areas of their lives, too. For example, they learn to manage anger and frustration effectively, deal with anxiety and fear, cope with sadness and loss, improve concentration and focus, and increase tolerance towards others. All of this leads to improved relationships with friends and teachers, increased academic performance, and overall happiness.
- Bedtime yoga promotes healthy brain functioning.
The human brain develops rapidly during early childhood, but then slows down significantly after age 25. Regular yoga practice has been shown to promote cognitive development and enhance memory retention. A bedtime yoga session is a great way to improve your child’s mental development while helping them be rested and ready for school in the mornings!
- Bedtime yoga helps children develop self-esteem and confidence.
Yoga promotes positive thinking and encourages students to take responsibility for their actions. It gives them confidence as they gain strength and flexibility through movement. They are encouraged to trust their own judgment and make decisions based on personal values rather than external pressures. Over time, this builds self-esteem and fosters independence.
- Bedtime yoga improves social skills.
Kids who regularly participate in yoga classes tend to exhibit more social awareness, empathy, compassion, patience, cooperation, and respect toward peers and adults. This makes it easier for them to build friendships and form lasting bonds with those around them. In addition, practicing yoga improves communication skills and enhances listening abilities. By improving both verbal and nonverbal communication skills, bedtime yoga also allows kids to express feelings more openly and comfortably.
- Bedtime yoga improves focus & concentration.
Children who have practiced yoga consistently over time demonstrate enhanced attention span and higher levels of concentration. When you add meditation techniques like breathing exercises or guided imagery to a nightly yoga routine, you will see even bigger improvements in focus and concentration. The benefits of focusing on something without distraction are invaluable when learning new things, completing homework assignments, studying for tests, and working on projects.
9 bedtime yoga poses to help kids go to sleep
- Easy pose.
This basic pose encourages your child to sit up tall and breathe deeply through nose. With each exhale, focus on releasing all thoughts and worries about schoolwork, family issues, friends, etc. After a few breaths, have your child bring their hands into prayer position and think or say of something they feel grateful for.
- Cat and Cow pose.
Moving between these two poses teaches your child how to link movement with breath while releasing tension in the back and neck. This is a great pose to practice to calm the mind and reduce anxiety and stress.
- Rabbit pose.
Kids love this posture that helps them relax their minds and relieve tension around the neck and back. This relaxing pose helps ease depression, anxiety, and stress.
- Seated twist.
This pose improves flexibility throughout the spine and torso and encourages the wringing out of tension and stress. It also strengthens core strength and builds stamina.
- Child’s pose or Sea Turtle.
This classic calming asana releases tension in the lower back, improves digestion, and soothes an overactive nervous system. It also helps with insomnia and making falling asleep easier.
- Butterfly Pose.
This great hip opener mimics the flapping of butterfly wings and is a great way to open your child’s hips after sitting in school all day.
- Fish Pose.
This asana opens the chest to help us slow down and breathe deeply. It is one of the most effective poses for reducing stress, improving emotional regulation, and promoting overall wellness. It also stretches the back, neck, and shoulders, helping to relieve tension in these areas.
- Bridge pose or Whale.
This posture builds strength in the legs and back and opens the chest. It improves circulation by opening blood vessels and stimulates lymphatic drainage. Bridge pose is especially beneficial to increase lung capacity to improve slow deep breathing.
This is a great place to end your child’s practice. Remind them that this pose is a time to come back to the present moment and reflect on what you learned throughout the session. Encourage them to relax completely and focus on their breathing. In this pose, children learn to let go of all worries so they can fall asleep peacefully.
17 tips to get started
- Practice together as a family. Children will be encouraged and learn faster if you are modeling the asanas and breathwork while teaching them how to do the practice.
- Keep it simple! Don’t try too hard or push your child too far. Start with just a few poses and build from there.
- Have fun! Let your kid have fun with the poses and allow them to use their imagination. Incorporating stuffed animals into the poses can add a fun and engaging dimension to the experience of teaching and play.
- Experiment. Try different things until you find something that works best for both of you.
- Encourage your child to take breaks throughout the session. These moments allow both teacher and student to catch their breath, reset, and prepare for the next set of poses.
- Offer praise whenever possible. Praise your child for being brave, strong, flexible, calm, relaxed, happy, confident, healthy, smart, responsible, respectful, helpful, compassionate, and loving.
- Give your child choices when appropriate. Let them choose the posture, type of breathing, and which leg or side of the body to lead with.
- Help your child understand why they need to stretch properly. Explain that stretching makes muscles stronger and prevents injury.
- Teach your child calming breathing techniques. Breathing correctly reduces stress and increases endurance.
- Tell your child stories about people who practiced yoga. These could include famous yogis like Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi Jois, Indra Devi, Swami Vishnu Devananda, Yogi Bhajan, and Kripalu Maharaji.
- Read kids yoga stories. There are many great bedtime yoga books available in bookstores and libraries that you can read as part of your evening routine.
- Don’t be afraid to tell others about your family’s experience with yoga. Sharing information about positive experiences encourages other families to give yoga a chance, too.
- Create a calm atmosphere. Make sure your home has enough space for everyone to move around comfortably without bumping into furniture. Tidy up toys and put up blankets or pillows to make the floor more comfortable. Dim the lights and consider diffusing a calming aromatherapy oil.
- Choose comfortable clothing. For young children, it is probably best to have them change into their pajamas before their evening practice. Older children may prefer changing into more adult looking athletic wear. If so make sure their clothing is loose fitting or does not restrict their movement.
- Consider using a yoga mat instead of carpeted floors. Mats provide traction on slippery surfaces and offer better support than carpets. Alternatively, you can have your child practice on their bed for a quick transition to sleep.
- Play calming music. Music is known to help children fall asleep faster by reducing anxiety levels and promoting relaxation. For the best results, look for instrumental music specifically created for yoga and meditation.
- Ask questions to encourage reflection and integration like “What do we learn from each pose? What does my body need to work through today? How long should I hold each position? Is there anything else I should know?”
Yoga before bedtime is a great way to teach kids to breathe deeply, relax, and connect with themselves and their bodies. No special equipment is needed, and it’s a great way to incorporate mindful movement, meditation, and relaxation into a bedtime routine. Even just a few deep breaths in one yoga pose before bed can help increase the chances of your child having a deep and restful sleep.