These Fun Sun Salutations Are For Kids Only!

Only for kids!

Don’t get confused by the word junior. Juniors, for me, are my two daughters. One is eight, and the other is just two and a half, and their gazes remain fixed on me as I do my home yoga sequence on Sunday mornings.


As I started my practice on a particularly rainy Sunday, my elder daughter interfered, asking, “Mama, can I do yoga with you?” I was not prepared for that question, but of course I said yes. We found her a yoga mat and changed her into a pair of leggings and a t-shirt. I continued as normal, doing my regular Sivananda-style sun salutations,  and after two rounds my daughter declared that it was a boring routine. I chuckled at first, but when I thought longer about it, I realized that she could be right.

This classic style of Sun Salutation has 12 poses and is quite a slow practice. You breathe deeply into each of the poses and hold it a little longer. It’s difficult to keep younger children entertained with yoga, especially if they’re as active as my daughter so I put some thought into it and came up with this special Sūrya Namaskār for children.

Sun Salutations For Kids

Two variations evolved out of creating this sequence for my daughter. Both are slightly different from each other, with the second being slightly more challenging.

Kids’ Sūrya Namaskār – Variation I

Patient Mom
Image Credit: Amanda Hirsch on Flickr.

Generally, children find it difficult to stand still in one place. So start them off standing erect and as calm as you can get them! Hands rest on either side of the body with the spine and neck stretched. Take three deep breaths.

  1. Tadāsana (Mountain Pose): Take three deep breaths to begin.
    Inhale.
  2. Urdhva Hastāsana (Raised Arms Pose): Slowly raise your arms above your head.
    Exhale.
  3. Uttānāsana (Forward Fold): Bend forward and rest the palms flat on the floor.
    Inhale.
  4. Adho Mukha Śvānāsana (Downward Facing Dog Pose): Stretch the legs back, pushing the heels to the floor and glutes to the ceiling. Keep the fingers spread and relax the head between the palms.
    Exhale.
  5. Table Pose: Come on all the fours like a cat, and keep the spine parallel to the floor.
    Inhale.
  6. Utkatāsana (Chair Pose): Sit on your heels with the top of the feet resting on the mat.
    Exhale.
  7. Balāsana (Child’s Pose): Spread the knees outward and bend forward, stretching the hands. Let the forehead rest on the mat.
    Inhale.
  8. Adho Mukha Śvānāsana (Downward Facing Dog Pose): Tuck the toes and push the body off the mat. Stretch the hands, push the heels down to the floor, and buttocks to the ceiling.
    Exhale.
  9. Uttanāsana (Forward Fold): Jump in between the palms, allowing the head to come close to the knees
    Inhale.
  10. Urdhva Hastāsana (Raised Arms Pose): Straighten up, sweeping the hands over the head.
    Exhale.
  11. Tadāsana (Mountain Pose): Bring the hands to rest on either side of the body.

Repeat two to three times. If they become distracted, go with them and encourage them to explore new movement, and return to the sequence when ready — or not at all! I’ve discovered many new ‘poses’ playing with my daughter this way.

Kids’ Sūrya Namaskār – Variation II

Sister's Challenge
Image Credit: Torrey Wiley on Flickr.

My children find this version more interesting as it is faster and more challenging then the normal first variation. The pace of the transition can easily be modified so as to meet the speed of the desired age group.

  1. Tadāsana (Mountain Pose): Stand straight with hands joined at chest level. Spine and neck should be stretched and straight. Take three breaths to let the body prepare for the flow.
    Inhale.
  2. Urdhva Hastāsana (Raised Arms Pose): Lift your hands up and bend backward gently.
    Exhale.
  3. Utkatāsana (Chair Pose): Bend the knees, stacking it over your toes. Push your hips backward without compromising on the spine.
    Inhale.
  4. Mālāsana (Garland Pose): Squat down with knees spread outward and hands at the chest level.
    Exhale.
  5. Bālāsana (Child’s Pose): Place your palms down on the mat in front of you. Join the knees and allow them to rest on the mat. Stretch the hands slowly and rest the body in between the knees, forehead touching the mat.
    Inhale.
  6. Sphinx Pose: Stretch the legs backward and lie flat on the abdomen. Keeping the forearms on the mat, lift your chest and head up. Keep the tummy on the mat.
    Exhale.
  7. Adho Mukha Śvānāsana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose): Tuck the toes and stretch your arms, lifting the buttocks to the ceiling. Push the heels down and bring the head in between the palms.
    Inhale.
  8. Uttanāsana (Forward Fold): Jump in between your palms and bring the head close to the knees.
    Exhale.
  9. Utkatāsana (Chair Pose): Bend the knees and sweep your hands over your head.
    Inhale.
  10. Urdhva Hastāsana (Raised Arms Pose): Straighten your knees.
    Exhale.
  11. Tadāsana (Mountain Pose): Rest the hands on either side of the body.

Will My Kids Actually Go For This?

Image Credit: Donnie Ray Jones on Flickr.
Image Credit: Donnie Ray Jones on Flickr.

It is a challenging question as children lose interest pretty fast. The trick is to keep it engaging. It would really work if you could also practice with them, helping them out. Try to be lenient, and why not? We are not here to ensure that they are doing it the perfect way.

My eldest daughter practices the second variation, and I’ve even modified it further to incorporate some of the new āsanas we discovered such as Warrior 2 and Crescent Pose. She loves the variety and it keeps her practicing. Watching the younger one trying to practice is the real fun. Even though she is hardly three years, she manages to do her rendition the first version.

Along with invoking my creativity, I find working out with the kids also helps in improving my patience. As long you aren’t taking it too seriously it is a blissful experience! Do you have any junior yogis or yoginis in your home? Have they ever tried or wanted to do some yoga? Why don’t you share your practice with them, and the experience with us?

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