It's not only adults who need to release stress and tension. Kids need to stretch their muscles and regroup too, after they've been sitting and focusing for a long time. Cat Wisdom helps to head off a bad case of the crankies, so kids can finish their day in a relaxed fashion, says yoga educator Leah Kalish of Move With Me Action Adventures.
What it does
This combination of stretches releases pockets of trapped tension in the back, shoulders, legs and neck.
What to do
Start on your hands and knees with your back parallel to the floor, arms straight under the shoulders, finger spread wide and knees directly under your hips. Breathe in and arch your back, looking up to the ceiling in front of you. Then slowly exhale as you pull your navel to your spine and round your back, pushing through your hands to increase the stretch as you gaze at your belly.
Next, move into a downward-facing dog by curling your toes under and pushing your hips up and legs straight back into the shape of a triangle. Keep your head relaxed between your arms as you continue to push your hips back and reach your heels toward the floor. Breathe in and out through your nose as you enjoy the stretch.
Here's the rhyme parents can teach their kids to remember the combination:
Kitty cat, kitty cat, furry and black.
Kitty cat, kitty cat arches her back.
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Kitty cat, kitty cat, when she's afraid.
Kitty cat, kitty cat pushes away.
Kitty cat, kitty cat, watch out now.
Here comes dog to chase you down!
Inhale and exhale between the arched and rounded positions three or four times before pushing back into down dog. Once in that inverted position, take three to five slow breaths through your nose before lowering to the floor. Repeat as needed.