Yoga and ballet are completely different traditions, yet they work perfectly together – as they move help develop strength, flexibility, and a commitment to doing one’s personal best. Ella recently asked if we could make up some Ballet Yoga for our Yoga for Kids series and this is what we came up with!
Yoga is great for encouraging children to self-regulate. It has taught the children in my daycare the power they have over their moods and has been really good for the sensory sensitive or somewhat “out of touch” kids for connecting with and developing control of her bodies.
A good yoga practice is just challenging enough for the individual, without being pressure-laden and difficult. It gives children focus without frustration.
We just wore comfortable, loose clothing for our Ballet Yoga session – but you can make a quick no-sew tutu if you really want to get into character! My daughter has been doing yoga casually at home for almost two years, so we also worked on transitioning into our poses – slowly adjusting from one pose into another – but you can instead return to a regular standing pose in between new poses if you and your child are new to yoga.
Listen to your body and do only what is comfortable.
Sun Salutation/Second Position
Sun salutation is when you stand shoulder-width apart, raise your arms straight up, and look between your hands to where the sun would be. This is a great “opening pose” and is very similar to ballet’s second position. Ella curved her arms slightly to be more like a ballerina.
Modified Star Pose
Next, we tried lifting our legs out the side while keeping our “cores” straight – you want to keep a straight line with your back and supporting leg. This is good for isolating a movement and strengthening outer thigh muscles.
A “proper” star pose (like the one we did in our Fall Yoga series) would see Ella aligning her back with the raised leg.
PS – the tongue out totally helps you balance. Try it.
Next, Ella stretched her leg from her side up and towards the back wall while leaning and reaching forward with her opposite hand.
This pose is really tricky, and the goal is to curve your leg up behind your head and hold your calf or ankle securely with the corresponding arm to the raised leg, while leaning forward and reaching forward with the opposite arm. It’s a great back stretch pose
Next, we sat on our yoga mats with our feet together and pressed down on our inner thighs with our elbows and forearms. This helps open up the hips and stretch the inner thighs.
Ella loves flapping her legs like butterfly wings in between stretches for this pose.
We opted for simple toe stretches before going into our rest pose, but boat pose or any other core-building or stretching floor poses would be great for closing out the sequence.
We always like to spend the last couple minutes of our yoga practice lying still, with our arms at our sides, relaxing and focusing on a positive thought. This is a really affirming practice for children to develop at a young age.
After practicing some ballet yoga for kids, you might enjoy checking out our 18 Ballet Books for Children.
Our Little Yoga Mat is about 2 years old and still going strong! I highly recommend them.