Children of these days increasingly have to deal with the pressures of society, the overload of studies, and even family problems. It’s no surprise that they suffer from stress just like adults. Unfortunately, with the growing competitiveness for academic achievements, kids are forced to focus more on working hard and have very little time to rewind and de-stress. That’s where yoga for kids comes in. We often tend to neglect the idea of yoga for kids because we don’t fully realize the benefits of yoga in early childhood.
Contrary to what some parents may believe, schools and daycares are taking yoga into much consideration thanks to the recent scientific discovery about the many benefits of Family Yoga.
Benefits of Yoga for Kids
There are many benefits of yoga for children.
Helps Develop Healthy Habits
Kids are too young to understand how to deal with stress in a healthy manner. Yoga can provide both physical and mental support that younger kids need to manage their stress and anxiety. It also helps them develop healthy habits from an early age.
Some healthy habits include
- Maintaining a good posture.
- Eating healthy foods.
- Calming oneself in stressful situations.
They will learn to stay physically active and maintain an active lifestyle from childhood. It’s difficult to obtain good habits when you’re older, but kids have a better chance of this.
Helps Improve Concentration
Children are by far the most distracted when it comes to doing things that require concentration. In the age of digital technology, parenting is harder than ever as kids are becoming more addicted to digital devices.
This is where yoga for kids can be a lifesaver for new parents. Yoga can help improve their mental focus and concentration in school. In addition, yoga can teach them the benefits of control-breathing in their everyday life. They also learn to focus on their posture. These techniques allow them to be in the present moment.
Helps Become More Self-Aware
Various yoga poses allow kids to find out more about their capabilities. Furthermore, they can be more aware of their attitude towards life by controlling their thoughts and reactions in certain situations. Through self-awareness of the mind and body, they will grow as a confident and resilient person.
Teaches Non-Competitive Virtue
Competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But the competition in the classroom can be damaging for your little ones. They can become demoralized by the never-ending culture of contests and rankings at school.
Yoga can help kids understand that different persons are capable of doing different things. And they should find what they are good at. A non-competitive activity like yoga will allow you to raise a non-competitive kid in a competitive culture.
Teaches Calming Techniques
Temper tantrums like sudden explosions of anger, frustration, and disorganized behavior are common in younger kids. However, it’s not easy for them to know how to calm down in these situations. Regular practice of yoga can help kids calm from tantrums, burn energy, and sleep better.
Teaches Self-Acceptance and Tolerance of Others
It’s essential for kids to practice self-acceptance and learn to be respectful towards others from a young age. But a disturbing reality is that kids grow to be very insecure about themselves. What difference yoga can make for kids?
There is a surprising connection between yoga and self-acceptance. Yoga can allow them to accept themselves for who they are and see the beauty within by creating a peaceful mind of anyone who participates. With regular practice, yoga can help kids find self-acceptance and love.
How to Explain Yoga to a Child
If you don’t know, children aged as low as 4 years can start practicing yoga. So you might wonder how to explain yoga to kids. There are a few different ways to do that.
- Yoga is a natural way of living. It is a great way to make our bodies stronger and make our mind calm.
- Yoga is an exercise for our mind, body, and breath.
- Yoga is an ancient Indian science of exercising and healing that helps us feel good in a fun way.
- And yoga is for ALL. Anyone can derive enormous benefits from practicing yoga.
How to Go About it Correctly
If yoga is something that is not already included in your kid’s daily activities, then here are a few tips on how you can make it a habit.
First and foremost, you need to make kids excited about practicing yoga. Buy a toddler yoga book. Try to mimic the yoga poses on the book together and make stories to go along with them. Make it as much fun as possible so that your little one looks forward to rolling out his/her yoga mat and doing yoga with you every night before bed. Here are some Kids’ yoga books and accessories we recommend:
1. Gaiam Yoga Mat for Kids
2. Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story
3. Good Morning Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Wake Up Story
For preschoolers, yoga poses are much simpler than adults. So be aware of the level of difficulty of the pose. A kid’s yoga book can be a good starting point.
If you have older children, you can either get a teacher at home or go to yoga classes to teach them the correct poses and techniques in order to reap the full benefits. You must remember not to force your child. Yoga requires lots of patience, and kids need time adjusting to the kind of stretches and poses involved. So go slow, but most importantly, have fun together.
Furthermore, consistency is key when you want your child to pick up a habit. Repetition also makes yoga poses easier to learn. So make sure to practice it daily. Don’t forget that the whole point of yoga is to relieve stress, not to add more. So, invite their friends, put on some fun yoga videos, have delicious snacks, and make the most out of it.
Some Fun and Easy Yoga Poses for Kids
A child’s muscles aren’t fully developed at a young age. So parents must not push their children to do more than his/her capacity. Below are some of the most fun and easy yoga poses that kids will love!
The key to yoga is breathing. Along with breathing, let your little one discover how to relax and stretch correctly.
1. Butterfly Pose
This pose is great for opening hips and strengthening inner thighs. Guide your kid to lift up both legs like the wings of a butterfly. Then encourage them to hold for a couple of seconds and breathe. It’s a fun and engaging way to get started!
2. Cow Pose
Adding various animal poses to kids yoga can make it more enjoyable. Start by getting your hands and knees in a “tabletop” position, then move your chest forward to make a cow pose. This pose is excellent for strengthening the back and core.
3. Cat Pose
Does your little one love cats? It’s time to have some fun with cat pose. Start cat pose by getting down on your hands and knees with your kids, so they can copy your movements. Now spread your fingers wide like cat paws. Then move your tummy up while looking at the floor and breathe slowly. You can also move your tummy down while lifting your head to look up. It’s a great yoga pose for kids and new moms! This pose strengthens the back, arms, and tummy.
4. Tree pose
Stand straight and lift your hands like you are reaching for the sky. You can make it even harder by lifting one leg up as well. Tree Pose is great for improving balance and posture – as well as strengthening the back and legs.
5. Cobra Pose
The Baby Cobra Yoga pose lets kids lie on their tummies like snakes. It’s great for stretching the chest, the back, and the legs.
6. Dog Pose
There are two versions of this pose, Upward-Facing Dog Pose, and Downward-Facing Dog Pose. Make sure you have a good and soft yoga mat before you practice this yoga pose with your kid.
7. Rabbit Pose
Start in a table-top position, and try to bring your head towards your knees. It’s a little harder pose for little kids, and don’t try too much if they think it’s hard for them. This pose is great for stretching the shoulders and the back.
8. Bridge Pose
This is a fun pose to do with kids. Start on the floor with your lower back open and upper body bent like a bridge. This pose helps keep the blood pressure under control and relax the mind!
9. Happy Baby Pose
Happy Baby Pose is one of the most fun yoga postures for little kids. This pose strengthens and stretches lower back muscles wonderfully. While doing this with your kids, you will have a good laugh too.
10. Corpse pose
This is a good yoga pose to end your little family yoga session. As the name suggests, this pose is similar to lying on the floor like a corpse. This is a really relaxing pose if you want to have a moment’s peace with your little one.
Other Receomed Kid’s Yoga Books and Resources For You
Children do what they see. Practice yoga together and talk about the benefits of yoga. It is also essential to approach it as a game so that children do not get discouraged and get bored. Vary the postures and movements to keep kids interested until it becomes a habit.