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5 kid-friendly yoga poses for young hikers

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It is never to young to have fun with fitness, and the opportunities to mix hiking and yoga abound.

With the mild winter in Southern California, hiking with kids can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get exercise at the same time.

The hiking trails found in Pacific Palisades offer numerous ways for kids to not only enjoy the scenery of being in nature, but also to work on their endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

Cardiovascular fitness of children has declined over the past five years due to factors such as

  • sitting in front of screens
  • not enough outdoor play
  • schools cutting gym classes.

Making fitness part of children's everyday routine goes a long way towards reversing this trend.

One of the best forms of low-impact cardiovascular exercise kids can do on a regular basis is walking. By incorporating simple yoga poses with walking, kids will gain more stamina and endurance.

In order to keep their hiking legs limber, try incorporating these 5 yoga poses on or off the mat:

  1. Child's pose
  2. Waterfall pose (standing back bend)
  3. Ragdoll posture (standing forward bend)
  4. Triangle posture
  5. Dog pose.
Child's pose
Child's pose Illustration by Kathleen Rietz and adapted from The ABCs of Yoga for Kids

Child's pose

The Mouse posture (child's pose) is a stress-relieving position that also serves as a stretching warm-up.

It is a great way for kids to not only release tension in their backs, but also to stretch their hips, thighs and ankles before a long walk or hike.

Waterfall Pose
Waterfall Pose Illustration by Kathleen Rietz and adapted from The ABCs of Yoga for Kids

Waterfall Pose

Hiking can often result in a forward collapse of the torso.

Thus, it is important to open the chest to maintain proper posture.  The Waterfall pose is a fun back bend for kids to do before a hike or walk.

An open chest is critical to breathe deeply, and this in turn helps kids to sustain full constant deep breathing while on the trail.

Ragdoll pose
Ragdoll pose Illustration by Kathleen Rietz and adapted from The ABCs of Yoga for Kids

Ragdoll pose

Athletes know that it is important to keep the hamstrings flexible and strong.

This is true for young hikers as well.

The Ragdoll yoga pose is a forward bend that helps to open young children's hamstrings.

When the hamstrings are tight the pelvis is misaligned, causing strain in the back.

This pose will help children to improve their leg and back strength.

Triangle pose
Triangle pose Illustration by Kathleen Rietz and adapted from The ABCs of Yoga for Kids

Triangle pose

The Triangle pose stretches and opens the hips, groin, hamstrings, knees, calves, shoulders, chest and spine.

This all around yoga posture allows children to use the full range of motion in their muscles.

 

Downward dog pose
Downward dog pose Illustration by Kathleen Rietz and adapted from The ABCs of Yoga for Kids

Downward dog pose

Perhaps the most well-known yoga pose of them all is Downward Facing Dog.

This basic posture can do wonders for a young hikers body by strengthening and toning the arms and legs, stretching the hamstrings, and lengthening and elongating the spine.

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