Yoga for children is safe, beneficial and fun! Yoga can greatly help kids to develop not only their physical fitness, but also to learn to become more focused. The benefits of yoga for kids can also include learning to self-soothe as well as feeling more confident and empowered. Physical exercise activities in general are necessary for children to develop a sense of self, but yoga goes beyond this into development of the soul. I will share some ideas for yoga games, bedtime yoga, and yoga book for kids.
Benefits of Yoga For Children
Yoga Can Help With Focus
Children have been doing martial arts for years but now we are seeing a growth in the movement to children’s yoga. It is similar in the sense of discipline but yoga may be a better choice for your little introvert… or excellent to relax your extrovert! Yoga is great for improving endurance, balance, and mindfulness. University Health News daily, says that “Researchers have found that yoga can greatly affect neural patterns in the brain, which can improve your ability to concentrate and focus.” Yoga is great for concentration, cognition, and memory and almost every kid could use some extra development in these areas.
Yoga For Kid’s Physical Health
The most obvious benefit of yoga for kids is healthy development. Family yoga helps to improve balance, strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity. Yoga uses so many different muscles in its movements and it works to both strengthen, tone, and improve flexibility and range of motion. According to LiveStrong, some yoga poses even count for strength training and cardio.
Yoga For Children’s Mental Health
While you and your kids are performing a yoga posture, you aren’t just standing in that pose, you are also working on breathing exercises and meditations. For any age, focusing on your breathing, helps improve ability to focus, brings a great sense of relaxation, and can help reduce stress.
Yoga can also be used for children with autism and ADD/ADHD to help reduce core symptoms. There are special yoga programs for children with these learning disabilities and it is a more hands-on approach. In this therapeutic type of yoga, Hatha yoga is used. Hatha yoga for children is a more holistic approach with plenty of meditation and calming of the senses. Also used to help with disabilities are eye exercises, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques accompanied with soothing music and sound therapy. Therapeutic yoga is said to increase motor, cognitive and communication skills in kids with disabilities. This helps to reduce the hyperactivity of ADD/ADHD. Your child will experience more balanced emotions because they will gain self-control.
Teaching Yoga To Kids
There are so many great ways of teaching yoga to kids. From starting out with yoga movements, to trying yoga books for kids, to attending yoga classes, there are lots of ways for kids to learn about yoga.
Today, I am thrilled to have Tara Stiles, a wellness expert, bestselling author, and the founder of Strala Yoga, share with us a little bit on how to introduce children to the concept of yoga and make it fun and rewarding experience for the child and the adult alike.
The Strala Yoga approach combines yoga, tai chi, and Traditional Chinese and Japanese Medicine to help people release stress, heal, let go of negative habits, and move more easily through everyday challenges. Tara’s bestselling books include Strala Yoga, Make Your Own Rules Diet, Yoga Cures, and Slim Calm Sexy Yoga. Tara works with The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an initiative with the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation that combats childhood obesity, in order to bring Strala classes to more than 30,000 schools around the United States. Today she will share some awesome yoga moves for kids.
Yoga Moves For Kids
by Tara Stiles
When I had Daisy, I realized even more than ever that my self-care affects those around me. With yoga, it’s not only the poses and movements that provide benefits, but how you are with yourself while you practice. You have a new opportunity with every breath to work toward a better relationship with yourself. If you are too rigid, the next breath can soften you. If you are giving up too easily, the next breath can bring you some energy. When you practice in a way where how you treat yourself in the process is just as important as the movements you are doing, you have a real opportunity for great results. Adding the little ones into the mix is teaching them valuable life lessons as well as improving your own relationship with yourself and each other.
It’s really nice to do yoga together, like you are both discovering the moves, instead of a strict instruction of the pose as the goal. Try having an idea of what you can do together as yoga partners and enjoy the process. It’s a big pressure release for adults to enjoy the process over the pose as the goal. The best result is the little ones soak up how they feel from the experience. Even more encouragement to enjoy yourselves. Remember, the magic is inside!
Mommy And Me Yoga Moves:
Here are a few fun yoga movements to try together at an early age.
Boat ride with partner balance
Start sitting facing each other. Bring your feet together and hold hands for balance. You can play with lifting your legs up together and sitting up nice and tall. Hang here for a few long, deep breaths and gently ease back down. (See yoga moves photo a few paragraphs above.)
Flying super hero
You might have done this one when you were little with a friend or family member. It is fun for grown ups too. Start laying down on your back. Bring your feet up and place them on the little one’s belly. Make sure to communicate when they want to come up and fly. Play around with balance and hold hands to stay steady.
Up dog together
This is a great move for getting a nice stretch in your back and learning body awareness. Start laying on your belly. Bring your palms on the ground next to you. Gently press down and lift your body up a bit to get a nice stretch. Let yourself move around a bit here to find the right spot for you.
Sweeping, not exactly yoga, but a great practice of moving well and working together in a fun way. Bonus you get a clean house too! Sweeping can be a great warm up for doing yoga together and it’s actually a practice in tai chi of moving well from the center. Bring the stick close to your center and move your body to move the broom. This is a fun activity with kids to collect all the fuzz also and practice doing simple things nicely together.
Here are a few other yoga poses and moves to try together with young children.
Tree pose holding hands for balance
Start standing next to each other. Grab a hold of your ankle and bring the bottom of your foot onto your upper thigh or on the ground on your inner leg if that’s more comfortable. Hold hands for balance.
Start standing facing each other. Shift your weight on one leg, bend your other knee and grab a hold of your ankle behind you so your knee is pointing down. Hold hands with your free hand for balance. Gently press your foot into your hand making a nice arch. Hang here for a few breaths and gently lower down.
Thanks again to Tara Stiles for sharing those fantastic yoga tips for kids! You can follow her on Instagram for more yoga inspiration.
I have also included several more yoga ideas for children below.
Yoga Games For Kids
Maybe you would prefer to start with something fun, like yoga games for kids! Again you know what your child needs and will be cooperative with. Start with what is easy first and you can show expand their interests later. There are a few fun yoga games for kids to start with on the Harvard Health site here.
Yoga Books For Kids
Yoga books for kids are also a great method for self starters. You will want to make sure there are plenty of illustrations and or photos to help guide your kids. Yoga books can help with everything from getting them interested at a young age to advancing them along when they are ready to get even more out of yoga. Here are a few suggestions:
Family Yoga Poses For Kids
You can also teach easy yoga poses yourself or try youtube videos. You can begin with some simple yoga breathing exercises and progress to yoga poses for kids. It is great if you can do them with your kids at first and help them with their form. Family yoga poses are a great way to spend quality time together, having fun and bettering yourselves all at once. Here are a few simple poses to try that are great for the whole family including children of all ages: Child’s Pose, Butterfly Pose, Downward Facing Dog Pose, Cobra Pose, and Extended Mountain Pose. Older kids may also enjoy Eagle Pose, Dolphin Pose, and Warrior Pose.
Yoga Classes For Kids
There are many ways of teaching yoga to kids. You can look for local yoga classes which is a great option if they exist near you. These are great because the yoga teacher can introduce the poses, help with executing them correctly, and lead everyone in mindful breathing and meditation. A good teacher does more than just start your child with an easy pose. They help your child develop and understanding and appreciation for yoga practice. Yoga classes are fun for the kids to interact as well and get to experience a bonus social element.
Bedtime Yoga For Kids
You can focus on one area you might find helpful, like bedtime yoga for kids. You know your child best so this is something you would both find helpful, start with kids’ yoga at bedtime. Here are 12 poses to help your child sleep better.
Yoga for children can be fun and helpful! It is a great way to help improve the child’s self esteem through helping them to become stronger both physically and psychologically. Benefits of yoga for kids are varied from improved aerobic capacity to improved classroom behavior. Teaching yoga to kids can be a fun activity to do with your child and it is a great way to bring purposeful discipline into your family routine. Your kids may also enjoy this mindfulness video from Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars) that teaches us about the importance of breathing and achieving a state of calm.
Which benefits of yoga for kids do you find most appealing? Have you tried any fun poses with your child? It is fun to enjoy physical movement and positive affirmation with kids. I hope these ideas help you develop yoga routines that work well for you and your children.