If you’re a regular yoga goer, you’ve probably noticed that many of the poses have animal names. This is because the early yogis were influenced by the natural world around them – animals included. Emulating the shape of the animal, animal-themed yoga poses are ideal for younger practitioners. As many of them are simple to practice, they’re a great way to introduce your little ones to yoga. Before getting started, make sure to pick up some children’s yoga clothes. In this article, we explore yoga poses that emulate animals.
Dolphin Pose is designed to regulate digestion and tone the core muscles. To practice the asana, begin on all fours. Setting your knees directly below your hips, bring your forearms down to the floor keeping your shoulders above your hands. Once in position, bring your palms together whilst keeping your forearms on the floor. Next, curl your toes under and slowly lift your knees away from the ground. Lengthen your tailbone and lift your bottom towards the ceiling. Your body should now form an upside-down ‘V’ shape. At this stage, younger practitioners should keep their knees bent slightly. Pressing your forearms into the floor, engage your shoulder blades and draw them towards your back. In this position, do not let your head hang; instead, support it between your upper arms. You are in Dolphin Pose. Hold the asana for around 30 seconds for best results.
Cobra Pose boosts circulation and invigorates the heart. In women, the posture can also improve menstrual irregularities. To practice the asana, begin lying on your stomach. Stretch out your legs, keeping the tops of your feet on the mat. Next, place your hands underneath your shoulders. Gently draw your elbows back into your body whilst pressing your thighs and the tops of your feet into the ground. Stay in this position for a couple of seconds, remembering to breathe deeply. When you are ready, straighten both arms to lift your chest off the ground. Finally, press your tailbone firmly into the floor and engage your bottom. You are in Cobra Pose. For best results, draw your shoulder blades towards your back and distribute the stretch evenly throughout the spine. Hold the posture for around 30 seconds before releasing the backbend.
Cat and Cow Pose stretches the muscles in the upper and the lower back to remove built-up tension. When used regularly, the asana can prevent headaches, migraines, and backache. To practice the asana, begin on all fours. Ensure that your wrists are aligned with your shoulders and your knees are aligned with your hips. Next, take a deep breath in and arch your back towards the ground. You are in Cow Pose. Hold the position for around 5 breaths before moving onto the next stage. On the fifth exhale, tuck your chin into your chest and arch your back toward the ceiling. You are in Cat Pose. Hold the asana for around 5 breaths before repeating the sequence.
One of the most renowned postures, Downward Dog has a number of great benefits. To practice the asana, stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the waist and slowly lower your torso towards the mat until your body forms a triangle. Your hands and feet should now be securely on the floor. If your shoulders or hamstrings feel too tight for the pose, try bending your knees to make the posture easier. Spread your fingers for additional balance and move your head forward until it is in-between your upper arms. You are in Downward Dog. Hold the posture for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
Supported Half Frog Pose is designed to boost circulation and supply the body with fresh, oxygenated blood. To practice Half Frog Pose, begin lying on your stomach. Next, stack your hands on top of each other and place them palms down on the mat. Lower your head and rest it on the back of your hands. Bend your right knee at around 90 degrees and bring your leg out until it’s in line with your hip. You are in Half Frog Pose. If this posture feels uncomfortable, try resting your leg on a pillow or blanket for support. To increase the stretch, bring your knee up towards your armpit. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Much like Half Frog Pose, Half Tiger Pose is designed to boost circulation. Additionally, the posture stretches the ankles, calves, and feet to remove tension. From the previous asana, move into a plank position. Your shoulders should rest over your wrists and your body should form a straight line. To maintain balance, spread your fingers apart and press your palms into the mat. Engage your abdominal muscles and bring your right knee into your chest. Finally, lift your stomach and drop your left heel closer to the mat. You are in Half Tiger Pose. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before repeating on the other side.
Twisting Lizard is designed to tone the abdominal organs and improve their function. Additionally, the posture opens the hips and chest and increases flexibility throughout the body. To practice the asana, begin in a low lunge with your right knee bent. Next, rest your left hand on the floor underneath your shoulder. Raise your right arm above your head and twist it to the left, turning your head to gaze behind you. You are in Twisting Lizard. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
Yoga poses the emulate animals are ideal for yogis of all ages; however, they are particularly beneficial for children looking to get started. Before practicing, be sure to pick up a good quality yoga mat and some comfortable yoga shorts.