There are many simple yoga poses for kids that introduce the theory of yoga and help them stay active. You can try teaching children a couple of poses during regular play as a lead-in to quiet time or as part of a full routine.
When it's time to quiet down and tune out the distractions of the day for a few minutes, Lotus Pose is the perfect posture. Keep the back straight, the shoulders down from the ears, and the eyes closed. Breathe deep. The hands can rest palms on the knees or in the position shown here.
This variation of Cobbler's Pose is great to do before bedtime. Ask your child to put his or her palms together, and count to 10, breathing quietly. Make sure the back is straight and the bottoms of the feet touch. Ask your child to count to 10 a few more times, breathing deeply all the while.
Pull your child away from the TV or computer to rest comfortably in Child's Pose. This is a simple yoga pose for kids: start by sitting with the bottom on the heels. The arms can remain at the side, shown here; extend forward away from the body; or the child can cross the arms and lay the forehead on them. This is a terrific pose to relax the eyes, shoulders, and back, and also rejuvenate the mind.
Locust Pose Variation
This modification of Locust Pose includes "Superman Arms". Have the child lie flat on the floor, arms and legs extended. Contract the belly and rise upward on an exhale, lifting the arms and legs a couple of inches off the ground. Make sure the child doesn't strain the lower back too much - if he or she does, lower the arms and legs a bit. Yes, making flying noises is okay!
Modified Triangle Pose
Whenever children need a good stretch, have them do this modified Triangle Pose. Stand straight, legs spread, arms at the sides. On an exhale, bring the right arm overhead while the left arm slides down the left leg. Breathe. Repeat on the other side. The one thing you want to avoid is pitching forward too much: keep the back straight and the shoulders, hips, and knees in alignment.
A wonderful concentration posture, Warrior Pose helps children think of themselves as strong and powerful. Start spreading the legs, then turn the left foot in and the right foot out. Raise the arms and on an exhale, bend over the right foot, keeping the knee over the toes. Breathe. To repeat on the other side, straighten the knee, lower the arms, and turn the right foot in, the left foot out.
How still can you be? As still as a tree? This balancing posture is great fun - expect a lot of wobbling! Stand straight and inhale deeply, staring ahead at one point - this helps focus. On the exhale, bend one leg slightly as the other leg comes up to rest the foot either right above or right below the knee of the standing leg. Hold as long as possible, then bring the bent leg down, and place both feet on the ground. Repeat with the other leg.
You'll find more simple yoga poses for kids in the LoveToKnow articles Kid's Yoga, Yoga and Pilates Moves for Kids, and Kids Free Downloadable Yoga Videos.