Children need yoga as much as we do, as it’s a practice that can help counter the stress experienced by little ones living in a hurry-up world. In this guide, we share how to practice yoga with children, some of the benefits, useful asanas, and pro tips to spend quality time together and navigate the day-to-day more mindfully.
Yoga is the practice of accessing and amalgamating all aspects of our true nature- the mind, body, and spirit. It is an ancient Indian practice of breath control and body postures that help support well-being. Practiced by the Indian sages, it gained a foothold worldwide due to its plethora of benefits. And this also applies if you want to practice yoga with children.
Regular practice of Yoga is an excellent habit of starting anytime! Practicing Yoga can not only add value and positivity for adults, but it can also be amazingly beneficial when done with children. Right from boosting concentration to improving the quality of sleep, the benefits of Yoga are insurmountable.
Specifically for children, Yoga can have a ton of benefits on their mind and body. It can improve their flexibility, neuromuscular development, immunity, concentration power, sleep, coordination, creativity, social interaction, self-control, and confidence. And the best part of this practice is that it helps establish healthy habits among children right from an early age.
Moreover, children nowadays come across quite a few social, emotional and physical challenges or struggles in their daily lives. Hence, Yoga’s dedicated and deliberate practice, including behavioral procedures, breathing techniques, and physical postures, can be precious for them. Additionally, Yoga is something that children can practice anywhere and without any particular apparatus or clothing. Also, Yoga techniques like breathing, concentration, poses will guide the children to curiosity and self-discovery.
With so many benefits to reap, Yoga is a must-do activity for all! However, the main challenge here may be the initiation process. So here’s a quick guide that will support you and your child on their yoga journey.
Benefits of practicing yoga with children
- Yoga helps children manage their anxiety.
- Yoga improves children’s emotional regulation.
- Yoga boosts children’s self-esteem.
- Yoga increases children’s body awareness and mindfulness.
- Yoga enhances children’s concentration and memory.
- Yoga develops children’s strength and flexibility.
- Yoga teaches discipline and reduces impulsivity.
Start slow and simple
Start very slow with the least expectations. You can’t expect children to master the Yoga poses in a matter of weeks or months. It will help if you keep patience with them. An excellent way to start this journey is by a daily practice of holding hands on the mats and taking deep breaths together. However, before beginning, make sure that they are enthusiastic about it rather than being forced into it. It is essential to let the children get the basic idea and structure of Yoga and gradually improve and make corrections with daily progress.
Make the yoga practice with children fun
Children will relish the experience only if there is an element of amusement. There are various ways to craft this practice into a fun period and allow them the right amount of time for creative expression. You can provide the child with their mat. Whether that is an old mat or new, let them make it their own by decorating it and perhaps storing it in their room or play space. Additionally, a jolly instructor, traditional stories about Yoga through children’s books, singing a mantra, practicing a heart-opening mudra can also go a long way in keeping the child interested. If you’re practicing at home, YouTube videos of yoga poses may do the trick as well.
Be consistent and lenient
It is crucial to be consistent yourself before expecting your child to follow suit. Practice the same poses in the initial days and in the same order. Once the child sees that they are improving on these poses, they would like to vary their practice, and the zeal would continue. Furthermore, be lenient and patient during the process since you do not want them to lose focus or interest. More than proper postures or alignment, creativity is vital at this stage.
Sense of bonding through the yoga practice
In our ever-busy lives, practicing Yoga together with your child can improve the relationship. The time spent together can enhance the bonding and strengthen your relationship. It will also generate happy and peaceful values, and regular Yoga will also keep both parent and child grounded and alive. Now that’s a good enough reason to take your child with you the next time you go for your yoga practice.
Some useful asanas to practice yoga with children
Once begun with few deep and calming breaths, the following useful poses or asanas can be part of your primary series with your child:
- Happy baby pose
- Mountain pose
- Tree pose
- Warrior pose
- Cobra pose
- Downward facing dog pose
- Child’s pose
- Corpse pose
Tips to teach yoga for children
Since different children learn new things differently, it can initially be challenging to begin the process. The following few simple tips can help teach Yoga to the children in a fun and engaging way.
- Create a lesson plan with a few themes, poses, or added games to get started quickly. Although you might need changes in those plans in between, it is good to have a basic idea in hand.
- Curb the constant positive feedbacks and focus more on open-ended affirmations.
- Ensure that they remain safe and have fun but ease up on the alignment. Beginning with a positive experience is the most critical factor of practicing Yoga.
If you’re still reluctant to start practicing Yoga with your child, now is the time to get started. In addition to the innumerable benefits, it is an excellent chance to bond with your child.