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Children struggling with attention, sensory regulation, or emotional regulation concerns will often have a notable increase in anxiety about school. With the transition from a summer of free play, less structure, and open access to movement and sensory outlets, these kids may be struggling with sitting and attending for long periods of time.  You may find them having difficulty coping with the stress of school demands. Here are a few yoga and sensory based strategies to help kids while seated at their desk.

Yoga and Sensory Flower Breathing

This strategy will allow movement and calming breath work to organize the sensory systems.

Place hand palm up on your knees under your desk.

With each inhale – allow flower hands to open.  Allow hands to move to an open palm position.

Upon exhale – allow hand to close back to fisted position.


Yoga and Sensory – So Hum 

This is a form of meditation and breath work that will help quiet and relax the mind and body.

While in a seated position, inhale through your nose and think the word “so”.

Now, exhale and think the word “hum”.

Continue this in repetition.

Yoga and Sensory Elevator Breathing

This breath work teaches children full body breath and belly breathing.  This work helps to calm and organize the system.

Imagine there is an elevator inside your chest.

Exhale all of your air to the bottom floor.

Inhale a short breath to fill the bottom floor.

Inhale another breath to fill the 2nd floor and now one more to fill the 3rd floor.

Now slowly exhale to start back at the bottom floor.

Yoga and Sensory Chair Push, Pull and Twist

This sensory strategy will provide proprioceptive input to alert and organize a tired body. This can also be helpful to organize a child who is needing extra movement during seated tasks.

Chair Push

While seated, place your hands on the side of your chair.

Keep feet on the ground or lift slightly while using your arms to push your bottom out of your seat. Hold for ten seconds.

Chair Pull

For chair pulls, place hands with fingers grasping under the seat.

Pull body into the chair seat for ten seconds.

Chair Twist

For chair twists, place a hand across the body and place on the opposite knee.

Take a deep breath in and sit up tall.

On the exhale, twist the body and look behind you.

Try on the opposite side.

Yoga and Sensory Sun Salutation Break

This yoga and sensory strategy works great to organize a group of children.  It can be helpful as a movement break once or twice a day.  As a parent, you may suggest this to your school teacher for a sensory break activity.

If your child is well versed in the Sun Salutation yoga sequence, he or she may be able to teach the group.

Explore More >>

Sun Salutations for Vestibular Input


Teaching your child a few yoga and sensory strategies will give them the tools they need to start their school day off right. Knowing tools to help your body feel just right can be highly empowering to kids.  These strategies can be used in the classroom with all children.  Feel free to share with your child’s teacher.

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Brooke S Backsen is an Occupational Therapist and Yoga instructor, specializing in sensory therapy and working with children with behavior concerns in homes, outpatient clinics, behavioral health hospitals, and schools. Brooke's passion for happy and healthy kids has led her to open My Recess, a sensory clinic for children in her community. Find My Recess Inc. on Facebook