Yoga is a universal practice that can be done by people of all ages and abilities. From children to seniors, yoga can be extremely beneficial to anyone and everyone. Because it has become such a widespread practice over the years, several modifications and modalities have been innovated and integrated. One of these newer modalities is children’s yoga.
Yoga for children has been adapted from the normal practice of yoga and has proven to be successful in reducing stress, building concentration, and boosting confidence in young children. Yoga is a practice that unites the body, mind, and soul, and this is no different in children’s yoga.
Let’s take a look at a few tips for children’s yoga, the benefits of a child practicing yoga, and 5 yoga poses that are great for children as well as their many benefits.
Tips For Children’s Yoga
Whether you are leading the class or simply bringing your child to participate, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Children shouldn’t practice with a full stomach
We all know their little tummies need time to digest their food, so let them practice a couple of hours after they’ve eaten to make sure everything is settled and there won’t be any upset stomachs.
They should always warm up before beginning asanas
Just like adults, little bodies need to stretch before working out so that their muscles are warmed up and ready to work.
Children should practice at a time of the day when they are energetic and awake
For some, this may mean in the morning, and for others, perhaps in the afternoon. Knowing when is a good time to practice is always important.
Be sure that children practice on a non-slip yoga mat
There are several great yoga mats on the market for children, but some of the best are sustainable cork yoga mats. Because they are sustainable, non-slip, and antimicrobial, these mats are safe for children and an excellent choice for children’s yoga practice!
Don’t take it too seriously!
While yoga is a wonderful practice for calming the mind and inner reflection, kid’s yoga should also be fun! Children don’t engage if they are not entertained, so if you want them to really participate, you will need to make the yoga entertaining and fun. Perhaps incorporate some games into the practice and, of course, keep moving! Children’s attention span isn’t as long as adults’, so staying in one position for a long time is not going to work in this case. Keep moving, keep playing, and keep it light-hearted!
Benefits of Children’s Yoga
There are several benefits associated with yoga for children, including:
- Boosting Creativity: Yoga is a great way to clear the mind and focus. When practiced by children, this opens up a world of creativity and imagination.
- Increasing Confidence And Self-Esteem: Yoga is a feel-good activity and when practiced regularly, can truly help to boost self-confidence. If a child is practicing and they master a pose, they will feel good about themselves. Practicing yoga also involves perseverance, which can truly help with a child’s confidence. If they don’t master something the first time, they can keep trying until they do. This is a great way to teach children about not giving up. Then, once they reach that goal, they will feel great about themselves. Make sure to give them the praise they deserve and allow them to feel proud as well.
- Improving Coordination: Children who practice yoga will learn coordination and balance very quickly. Their developing minds and bodies are still working on figuring things out, like how to move properly. Yoga is a great way to help that development along.
- Increasing Strength And Flexibility: It is never too early to begin living a healthy lifestyle. This includes getting those little bodies moving! Beginning at an early age to practice self-care and exercise is crucial to developing strong muscles and flexible bodies to avoid issues in the future.
- Calming The Mind: Little ones sometimes have a hard time expressing themselves without getting worked up or frustrated. Yoga is wonderful because it allows them to calm the mind and think more rationally, rather than stressing out about any little thing.
5 Yoga Poses For Children
Now, let’s take a look at some yoga poses that are great for children and the benefits they possess.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This asana is done by bending the knees, sitting back onto the heels, bringing the forehead to the mat, and stretching the arms out in front. This is an incredibly beneficial pose to children because it relieves stress and anxiety and creates a sense of calming and peace. It is a version of the fetal position which babies naturally take often, meaning that it is a comfortable pose for children. By having them sit here for a few breaths, it can really bring their stress levels down and increase relaxation.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain pose is a wonderful beginning point for any yoga practice. Begin by standing with the feet hips-width distance apart and the back straight. Reach the arms overhead, or bring hands to prayer position in front of the heart centre. Keep leg muscles engaged and knees pulled up toward the thighs. This pose is very beneficial for young ones because it creates agility in the spine, improves posture, enhances balance, and strengthens legs, ankles, core, and glutes. It can also reduce flat feet.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Lying flat on the tummy, reach the hands back and bend the knees while grabbing the ankles. Push the feet into the hands to lift the chest and legs from the ground and hold for a few breaths. This pose is excellent for strengthening core and back muscles and improve flexibility in the back, legs, and abdomen.
Tree Pose (Vrkasana)
To do this pose, stand in mountain pose and begin to shift the weight to your left foot while lifting the right foot up to either directly below the knee of the left leg or on the inner left thigh. Hands can be in prayer position or extended up over head for a few breaths. This pose is excellent for children because it increases balance and enhances self-confidence. Children will have to focus during this pose, and when they can do the pose without falling out, they will feel accomplished.
Lotus Pose (Padmasana) OR Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
These poses are interchangeable and which one the child chooses will depend on their level of flexibility. For easy pose, the child will sit in a simple cross-legged position with their back straight. For lotus pose, they will sit in a cross-legged position, but each foot will be placed on top of the opposite thigh. Both of these poses are great resting poses and will improve posture and help to ease any anxiety or stress that the child may be experiencing. It is a way to increase focus and bring in calmness.
Children who practice yoga from early on will likely develop healthy habits and will be able to control their anger and frustration better than a child who does not practice yoga. Children’s yoga is an excellent practice to begin while very young and can help to raise happy, healthy children.
Sarah Mercey is a world traveler, hiker, and nature lover. She is a journalist, yoga teacher, and lover of life who is passionate about sharing wellness tips with people around her. She has experience in small editions and often writes articles on the topic of mindfulness and yoga.