Children inspired by yoga
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Cockerel pose has benefits for adults as well as children. It will give you the chance to gently stretch out the muscles in your upper back, chest and shoulders – it’s also good for your co-ordination! However, please check with a health professional before doing the pose with your child if you have any health concerns at all.
How to do cockerel pose
Before you start cockerel pose, make sure you have plenty of space around you. Find a clear space on the carpet or a mat where you can sit or kneel with your child.
Start by taking your shoes and socks off as it is safer and easier to do cockerel pose barefoot. Your child is less likely to slip and will receive accurate sensory information through their feet.
You can choose whether to begin cockerel pose in either sitting or kneeling. Kneeling will be harder. Put your hands on your waist, so your elbows are pointing out to each side. Encourage your child to copy you.
Then move your elbows back and forth and up and down – once again encourage your child to copy you. Now you are cockerels flapping your wings!
Together, stretch your arms up above your head, bringing your palms together, then take them back down, in and arc, to your sides, just like big cockerel wings.
Repeat cockerel pose several times. Don’t forget to crow “cock-a-doodle-doo!” as you make the movements.
The benefits of cockerel pose
As your child does cockerel pose with you they will have the chance to:
Gently stretch out chest and shoulder muscles
The actions of cockerel pose make it the perfect antidote to screens or mobile phones, when you or your child may be sitting in a fairly slumped position with their arms held close to their chest. Cockerel pose encourages your child to move their arms in the opposite way, stretching out the pectoralis muscles which run across the front of the chest.
Increase awareness of both sides of the body
As your child flaps their cockerel ‘wings’ – they will have to coordinate movements on both sides of their body. Your child will be using these basic foundation skills as they learn to write or type. As your child takes a deep breath in and out, really activating their diaphragm, they will develop their body awareness (proprioception).
Enhance ‘crossing the mid-line’ skills
The ‘mid-line’ is an imaginary line running down the middle of our body – separating the right side of our body form the left. Young children have to learn to cross this mid-line. They have to learn that they can take their right arm and hand over to the left side of their body and their left arm and hand over to the right side of their body. When your child puts on their clothes, or draws, or writes they will have to cross the mid-line of their body may times. It is therefore useful for them to practice this movement in a fun, non-pressurised way.
Develop breath control to self-regulate and calm
As your child practises their cockerel crows, they will be encouraged to take slower, deeper breaths. Steady, deep breathing is important for both movement and speech. Deeper, slower breaths cause an automatic decrease in heart rate and blood pressure leading to a more ‘relaxed state’. So a few “cockle-doodle-doo’s” may help your child to calm down if they are feeling worried or anxious. It will also, hopefully, make them smile!
Strengthen & develop key co-ordination & balance skills
As your child bends their knees and wriggles down to the floor (in the more challenging version of cockerel pose) they will strengthen their leg muscles and improve their balance and co-ordination skills.
A more challenging cockerel pose
Try a standing cockerel pose Put your hands on your waist and flap your elbows as before. This time also bend your knees and wriggle your bottom down to the floor – just like a chicken settling down to lay an egg! Once again crow “cockle-doodle-doo!”
Make a cockerel beak with your arms Start in sitting, kneeling or standing. Stretch out one hand out in front of you and place it on your apposite shoulder. Try to keep it there Now stretch your other hand and place it on your other shoulder. Your arms should be crossing over the front of your body and your elbows should be pointing straight ahead – see picture below. This is your cockerel’s beak! Keeping this position – take your elbows apart then bring them back together in front of you – just like a cockerel opening and closing his beak – don’t forget to crow ‘Cockle-doodle – doo!’
Cockerel pose games
Make up your own actions to Tatty Bumpkin Cockerel Song! As well as being a great morning wake up song, this really encourages listening skills.
Think up some chicken sounds and practice together.
Add some counting to your cockerel pose. You could say “1, 2, 3 Cockle-doodle-doo!”
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