Bedtime Yoga Sequence with Cathy Calandriello
After long lovely days at the beach, at the ballpark, on the playground and running around the neighborhood, kids tend to remain wired when heading to bed. Unless of course a calming activity is deliberately infused into the routine leading up to bedtime.
Yoga before bedtime works like a miracle. Your kids can do yoga for better sleep, but some poses may energize them more, especially if your kids are already wound up from a stimulating day. These eight yoga poses will calm them before bedtime and make the transition to sleep easier. The purpose of yoga is to prepare the body for meditation and increase mindfulness. So after you do bedtime yoga, take the opportunity to teach your kids to meditate. The yoga-meditation power duo will be your new bedtime superhero.
A good night’s rest will affect how your kids relate to the world. It will decrease anxiety, depression, blood pressure, and heart rate. Great sleep will increase your child’s ability to handle stress and give them a more positive outlook. They’ll have a better memory and an increased ability to problem solve.
This bedtime yoga session will take you roughly 30 minutes depending on how long you hold each pose. 30 to 60 minutes before bed is the ideal time for your kids to do their bedtime yoga. When the yoga starts to feel too easy, do each pose twice.
- Sea Turtle Pose start on all fours (table top), sink hips back over feet, arms stretch out long
Also known as Child’s Pose, Sea Turtle mimics the rounded hump of a Sea Turtle’s back. It relieves stress and gently stretches hips, back, thighs and ankles. This pose also helps with insomnia and makes falling asleep easier.
- Cat Pose Table top, arching back, dropping head
Cat pose mimics a cat arching its back, so it’s easy for kids to learn and have fun with. This pose will stretch the muscles in your back and neck. It also helps to relax the mind, which can help reduce anxiety and ADHD symptoms.
- Rabbit Pose From cat, tuck toes, drop head. Crown of head to the floor. Hands reaching back to feet
Rabbit Pose is a relaxing posture that also alleviates depression and anxiety. It stretches back and neck muscles. Kids love this pose and can easily get into the full expression of the posture. Rabbit calms the mind and relieves tension around the neck and upper back, making sleep easier.
- SAILBOAT: Seated twist. One knee bent. Twist over knee. Do both sides
Child will twist around the straight spine, which has a neutral effect on the nervous system.
- HALF BUTTERFLY: One leg in. Forward fold over straight leg. Do both sides
Forward folds have a calming effect on the nervous system and the one bent leg opening up the hip adds to the calming effect.
- FISH POSE: Legs in butterfly. Hands under tailbone. Crown of head on floor
Fish pose is a lovely night time yoga pose to add to our sequence. We tend to hold stress in our hips, so allowing our legs to relax out to the sides enhances the relaxation effect. Open up the chest and allow your head to relax back and look behind you (slightly different than the picture). This multifaceted pose works beautifully to continue the calming effect.
- BRIDGE: Hips up, hands reaching for feet
Bridge pose is an inversion well known for its calming effect on the nervous system. This kids’ yoga pose can also be used anytime you have an extra minute during your day to give your child an extra sense of calm. Great, of course, for moms and dads too!
- DEADBUG: On back. Arms and legs up
Deadbug pose adds a final dose of a calming response before the big finale! Your child can even add the hum of the bug to enhance the relaxation. Hearing the humming sound within one’s own head can also double the calm for some children.
- SAVASANA WITH MEDITATION
Savasana is the final yoga pose in this series and the granddaddy of the relaxation poses. Encourage your child to lie flat on his or her back and close the eyes. For preparing for bedtime, it can also be helpful for your child to do savasana right in their bed and then allow themselves to drift softly into dreamland! The purpose of Savasana is to lie flat on your back and do nothing but breathe, which is harder than it sounds. Savasana shifts you into your parasympathetic nervous system, which is necessary for restorative sleep. You may find that your kids fall asleep before they are finished with meditation. They won’t even remember trying to fall asleep.
The following bedtime meditation for kids combines relaxation and visualisation techniques to encourage kids to calm themselves before sleep. Before you try it, carry out your usual bedtime routine, tuck them in and turn out the light.
Meditation can literally make your brain bigger. A study by Harvard neuroscientists found that just eight weeks of regular meditation causes an increase in grey matter. These scientists are confirming what ancient Eastern traditions have known for millennia, and the info is also useful for our kids. Kids who practice mindfulness or meditation experience increased attention, better mental health, and improved self-regulation and self-awareness. It can enhance empathy, make them feel more connected and less stressed, boost creativity and, interestingly, help them fall asleep faster.
As you take them through the guided meditation, keep your voice low and soothing. Use repetition and rhythm, elongate pauses and gradually slow your words down to lull your kids into a state of relaxation. Let them know that they just need to listen and imagine the things you’re talking about—that’s all. It may take a few times before they get on board, but persist, make it part of the nightly routine, and soon bedtime will be a much calmer experience for everyone.
Bedtime Meditation for kids:
Lie on your back with your hands on your belly. Make sure you’re comfortable. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. As you breathe in, notice how your hands lift as your belly rises, and then sink down again when you breathe out. If you like, you can imagine you are sniffing a beautiful flower, breathing in its lovely smell. Feel how your whole body relaxes each time you breathe out …
That’s it. Now take your hands off your tummy and let your arms lie by your sides and we’re going to imagine that instead of your bed, you are lying on a cloud. A beautiful, fluffy cloud that is so soft and comfortable to lie on. The cloud is a golden pink colour, like the clouds you see in the sky at sunset, and it floats gently up into the sky, up to the stars, carrying you safely, up and up.
As you lie on this golden, glowing cloud, your whole body feels very warm and heavy. Notice how your feet feel warm and heavy, and your legs feel warm and heavy. This lovely, relaxing feeling travels up your body into your hips and tummy. Your arms and your hands and your fingers feel warm and heavy. Your chest and your neck and your head are now warm and heavy. Let your whole body go loose and limp and sink into the softness of the cloud. Its colour glows all around you. You feel so comfortable, safe and calm floating on your cloud, so comfortable that you don’t want to move.
It feels wonderful to rest your body. Now that your body is relaxed, you can relax your mind, too. It feels wonderful to rest your mind. Imagine that the thoughts or worries you have in your mind turn into clouds too. Watch them drift up and away, and notice how peaceful it feels floating on your own special cloud. Take a deep breath and imagine that you are breathing in the golden pink light of your cloud. Let it fill you up with that peaceful feeling. Let it fill your whole body and let it fill your mind, too.
This feeling is the way you feel when you’re going to sleep, and that’s what we’re going to do now. Keep your eyes closed, and keep on breathing in that peaceful feeling and drift off to sleep on your soft, safe cloud, knowing that you are safe and you are loved. Goodnight.
**Information for this article taken from the following sources: singsongyoga.com ; discoverbrillia.com and
Cathy was a Special Education teacher from 1984-2019 and holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education, along with several teaching certifications. She first became a practicing yogi in January, 2009 as part of a New Year’s resolution to try new things. While Cathy soon fell in love with the physical aspects of yoga, it was not until she began to share her yoga practice with her students that she noticed the benefits that extend beyond the mat. Cathy became certified as a ChildLight Yoga instructor in 2014 and has since taken several courses through ChildLight in teaching yoga to persons with special needs and disorders.
Cathy was trained in Vinyasa Flow in 2016 through Happy Love Yoga RYS with Sarah Jones and is a RYT-200 with Yoga Alliance. Cathy also received her Yoga Therapy Certification through Breathing Deeply in August, 2019 Master Reiki Certification in October, 2019. Cathy hopes to continue and expand her practice of yoga and alternative therapies to improve the lives of people of all abilities. Cathy believes in the power of yoga to increase focus, attention and self-esteem and to bring an awareness to all of the good in the world in which we live. Cathy’s desire when teaching a yoga class is to bring a complete experience…physical, spiritual and mental… to all participants.