Yoga has been the new buzz for a while now. It has picked up in popularity due to its ability to help us to slow down and break away from the new norm of fast-paced living. Yoga poses (known as asanas) unite the mind and body in a physical and mental practice that has countless benefits for all age groups.
There’s a reason yoga has been around for thousands of years; it is simple and can be taken anywhere.
The only equipment necessary: your body! Yoga doesn’t have to be SO serious, and even a few minutes can provide lasting benefits.
Kids yoga incorporates many of the key elements of a regular yoga class. Classes are typically structured around a kid-friendly theme to engage kids and keep them interested. It’s essential to incorporate basic asanas with a focus on building strength, balance, and awareness.
There don’t have to be many rules. Respect for yourself and others is usually an excellent place to start.
Generally, each class will have a warm-up and cool down to prepare children for what they are about to learn and apply elsewhere. A yoga class can be five minutes or fifty depending on your kid’s attention span on a given day. Talk about flexibility (pun intended)!
Body awareness and sensory integration are vital areas for learning in a yoga class. Kids can learn how to be inside their own bodies and to organize internal and external feelings and sensations.
Learning to self-generate a calm body and how to focus the mind is a valuable life skill at any age. This is a consistent part of yoga. Your children are learning how to build strength, activate specific muscles, and focus on breathing within a fun and supportive environment.
There really is no wrong way to do yoga and helps improve various skills and confidence at the same time.
We all know how to breathe, but breathing like a yogi is different. Generally, yoga classes incorporate breathing exercises that kids can learn to practice anywhere. Yoga is an important tool that kids and adults can turn to in times of stress.
Relaxation breathing calms the nervous system, activating the hypothalamus in the brain that inhibits stress-producing hormones. Learning how to breath in this way takes regular practice.
In yoga, breathing can be the main focus at any time, which allows kids to engage and let go of daily worries. Breathing is the key to happiness!
Parents may think that their kids need to be of a certain age to start practicing yoga, but there are a lot of misconceptions here.
Kids can do yoga at any age! Yoga for younger kids and toddlers has a focus on playful movements. Learning to imitate poses is a valuable skill, and can be a fun game for parents and kids to share.
Little ones who start learning to move in different ways will build strength, balance, and trust in their bodies.
Slightly older children can begin to follow different sequences, possibly told in the context of a story. This can build focus and teach how to merge playfulness with structure and learning.
Even older kids can start to learn about their bodies through yoga, building on those earlier skills with increased awareness, strengthening, and linking the body and mind.
How to Start
If you are ready to start yoga with your kids, there are a few approaches you can take. Kids yoga classes are popping up in schools, studios, and even online. Books that walk you through a series of poses are easy to find along with kid-friendly card decks with pictures of yoga poses. The key to starting yoga with your kids is to make it fun, no matter what age your children are.
Playfulness and creativity play a huge role here. You can use props, costumes, or music to boost the level of fun. Start with the basics, and as interest builds, try adding in a few fun poses.
You can do yoga outside or even utilize this mindful and relaxing activity as part of a before bedtime routine. Kids love to move! So when starting with a new child’s yoga program, a little bit can go a long way.
Long Term Benefits
Little ones who do yoga experience long-term benefits that parents can be thankful for as well. Look for increased confidence in your little yogi as a result of developing bod awareness, creating an inner sense of calm, and building strength. The key here is that kids can learn knowledge through yoga.
They can develop a lifelong practice that can be applied to all kinds of life situations. Doing yoga can enhance learning in other areas, building skills across the board. It can help with developing friendships and gives children a better connection with their inner compass that helps them navigate through life.
Academically, yoga can help to reduce stress, improve focus, and boost brain health. There’s no stone left unturned by engaging in yoga.
Now that you have learned all about what yoga can do for kids, you’re probably thinking: Sign me up! And lucky for you, yoga can be a family practice.
Yoga can help you connect with your child and yourself. If you’re able to meet your own needs, you will be able to meet the needs of your children more effectively.
Teaching Those Healthy Habits
Yoga teaches us about self-care and unity with others. In the ever-increasing pace of life today, we need this more than ever. Anxiety is on the rise, along with so many other health problems. No need to worry though.
Teaching children about yoga, health, and fitness at a young age will help prepare them for a healthy, well-rounded life. There’s no better time to start!
If you begin to put yoga first on your family’s to-do list of fun, you’ll realize how much time and space will open up for you. You and your child’s future self will thank you.