Yoga poses to calm kids down

Updated Jul 31, 2023
Yoga poses to calm kids down | Huckleberry

Did you know that pretending to be a dog or standing tall like a tree can calm your kids? Yoga is not just fun and games for kids - it can inspire them to use their bodies, minds, and breath to be more focused, relaxed, strong, and flexible, both in their thinking and their bodies. 

In our high-stress, on-demand, overbooked lives, our kids see us in a constant hustle. Unless we’re intentional about making time for relaxation, we model stress and busyness for our kiddos. Yoga is a fun way to take a break, bond with your child, and teach relaxation simultaneously! It may be the stress break your family needs to slow down and feel less stressed.


How to start kids on yoga

7 quick tips to help you and your kids get started with yoga 

5 yoga poses to calm down kids 

Yoga for kids FAQ

It’s never too early to introduce your child to yoga. Babies and toddlers love watching parents practice yoga. They delight in seeing your body move through space in new and unexpected ways, and they may even decide to mimic you. You can invite children of all ages, even babies, to join in on the fun and relaxation too. 

I love the definition from Rainbow Yoga Training, which is one of the three yoga teacher training I’ve taken and have always used to explain yoga to children. 

“Yoga is a way to exercise our bodies, our breath, and our minds all at the same time. Yoga makes us feel great! Yoga is a very ancient science that helps us to develop flexibility and strength in our bodies, and happiness and peace in our mind.”

If your child is a baby or toddler, you can just say something like “Yoga helps us feel strong and good.”

Dedicating a space in the house to yoga, that’s free of clutter and distractions (e.g. Legos, playdough, snacks) will give you and your child an opportunity to focus.

Spontaneous yoga is awesome, but picking a time to practice every day will help the positive habit to grow. Routines help them feel grounded! Kids are most comfortable when they know what to expect and what is going to happen next.  

Yoga looks different with kids! Their down dogs can bark, their trees can feel the breeze, and butterflies may flutter their wings. Try creating yoga poses for all of their favorite animals, trucks, or dinosaurs in their favorite book. Make up a yoga pose for all of the letters in their name. Do yoga poses with their stuffed animals (you can become the animals with your bodies and then help the stuffed animals do yoga poses too!). Get a deck of yoga cards. Or find a kids' yoga class on YouTube. The options are as limitless as your child’s imagination.

This is especially important with younger children. 

Again, this is going to be fun, playful, and quite different from the yoga class you took on Saturday morning. Some days your child will be rowdy and have a hard time focusing. On other days they may be more relaxed. Both are expected!

You and your child could lay on the mat or floor and snuggle while you listen to a relaxing song, or you could sing to them. You could also let them sit in your lap and read a story. Just take the opportunity to slow down and connect. 

Any pose your kid loves, whether it's a pose you both know or one they’ve made up entirely, is an excellent yoga pose. Through yoga, children, and even toddlers, can learn how to release tension and develop relaxation and self-regulation skills to feel and act calmer. In fact, a 2016 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that yoga is a promising stress management tool for children [1]. Here are five poses that are calming and easy for kids to learn.

  1. Sit with your legs crossed.

  2. Rest the tops of your hands onto your knees. Bring your thumb and pointer finger to touch.

  3. Hold this pose for as long as you want, taking long slow breaths. Close your eyes if you’d like.

A child doing an easy yoga pose.
  1. Start on the hands and knees in the table pose. 

  2. Tuck the toes under, lift the hips in the air, and straighten the knees so your body makes an upside-down V. Keep your head between your arms.

  3. Take a few breaths (feel free to bark like a dog too!) or stay here as long as is comfortable. 

  4. Bend the knees and come back to the tabletop position.

A child doing a down dog yoga pose.
  1. Start on the hands and knees.

  2. Press the hips back toward the heels.

  3. The arms can be stretched out in front of the body or curled down by the sides.

A child doing a rock yoga pose.
  1. Sit on the ground with the feet together and the knees out to the sides.

  2. This pose can be held while flapping the legs like butterflies or while breathing deeply.

  3. Hold for a few breaths.

A child doing a butterfly yoga pose.
  1. Lie on the ground with the arms and legs flopped out to the sides and the legs out in front of the body

  2. Close your eyes if you feel comfortable.

  3. Stay in this pose as you listen to a relaxing song or guided visualization for kids. You can also practice deep breathing here by placing a stuffed animal on your child’s tummy and urging them to help the stuffie surf on the waves they make as they breathe in and out (the rise and fall of the abdomen when you breathe).

A child doing a relaxation yoga pose with a stuffed animal on the belly.

Yoga for kids FAQ

Q: Does yoga calm kids down?


Yes, yoga can not only help your child calm down, but research [2]shows that with regular practice it can also teach self-regulation and reduce stress and anxiety.

Q: How do I keep my child engaged in yoga?


Keeping it fun is the key to keeping your child engaged. Using storytelling, songs, and being silly goes a long way with little ones. Alternating between active and silly poses, and calming and quiet poses, will keep them engaged longer.

Q: What is the best age to start yoga for kids?


Any age is the best age to start yoga with your child. You can even practice baby and me yoga or lay them down on the mat beside you while you do your own yoga practice.

Q: Is yoga good for hyper kids?


When kids struggle with impulse control and inhibition and/or are hyperactive, yoga poses can help hone their focus on observation skills. A study of kids with ADHD [3] found that yoga exercises can be complementary to behavioral interventions for children with attention and inhibition problems. Forward bending poses, balancing poses like tree pose, breathing exercises, and poses that encourage movement to stillness, are particularly beneficial. Progressive muscle relaxation is another helpful activity when your child is hyper and needs your help to calm down.

Q: What does slow-flow yoga do?


Slow-flow yoga helps to improve your attention span and calm your thoughts by mindfully and slowly moving through the poses.

Q: How do you structure a children's yoga class?


There is no correct way to structure a kids’ yoga class. However, in my years of teaching experience both professionally and with my own children, I’ve found that beginning with a breathing exercise helps to focus their attention. Next, we alternate between active and calming poses because the variability in pace keeps them engaged the longest and also improves their focus and self-regulation. I end the class with a relaxation pose (savasana), during which we listen to relaxing music or share a guided visualization or yoga story.

Q: What time of day is best for kids to do yoga?


Consistency is key! Children do best when they know what to expect, so practicing at the same time every day, or every day you practice, helps them to feel grounded and comforted. Great options are after breakfast settles, during the midday drop in energy, or before bed. Stick to calming poses if you include yoga as part of the bedtime routine. If it’s more than an hour before bed, including active and energetic poses will help them get their wiggles out before sleep!

Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional.

3 Sources


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Yoga: What you need to know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

  2. Weaver, L. L., & Darragh, A. R. (2015). Systematic Review of Yoga Interventions for Anxiety Reduction Among Children and Adolescents. The American journal of occupational therapy.

  3. Chou, C. C., & Huang, C. J. (2017). Effects of an 8-week yoga program on sustained attention and discrimination function in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.