Yoga for Kids

November 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Yoga Articles

As yoga’s popularity grows, more and more avenues of this ancient practice are being explored. Yoga for kids, quite a modern concept, grew out of parents thinking their children could enjoy some of the same benefits of yoga that adult do, such as improved body awareness, coordination, and stress relief. Traditional yoga practice is definitely a grown-up activity, but yoga is flexible enough to accommodate young students as well when the teaching is approached in the right way.

Although children are naturally flexible, they probably will not do the poses “correctly” in the adult sense of the word, so it’s important to keep things simple. More than learning the poses, the yoga experience will encourage kids to explore the unfamiliar with open minds and be comfortable in their bodies. For kids who are not good at (or don’t enjoy) conventional sports, yoga may provide a much-needed physical outlet in a noncompetitive environment. As they reach the teenage years, yoga can help young adults deal with their changing bodies and give them ways to combat stress in academic and social situations.

Yoga Classes for Kids

Your child’s first exposure can come as early as infancy, if you bring them to a mom and baby yoga class. While this may not make much of an impression on a young child, by the age of three they will probably be ready to do simple poses. Many yoga studios now offer age-appropriate classes for toddlers and school-aged kids, which may include singing, movement, and lots of talking. Kids have a lot of questions, after all, so the mood will be much lighter than an adult class. Make sure that your child’s teacher is certified to teach yoga to kids (when in doubt, ask the studio or the teacher herself). If you are considering a drop-off class (one in which parents do not participate), ask to sit in and observe before your child begins or during his first class.

Yoga at Home for Kids

If you want to do some yoga at home with your kids, here are some ideas:

Put out mats for yourself and your child(ren).

Let the kids choose some music, but make it parent’s choice during final relaxation.

Introduce simple poses your kids will feel a connection to, such as those that relate to the natural world or represent shapes. Basic breath work, such as three-part breath can also be introduced to older children. Just learning to take deep breaths and clear the mind can be helpful to kids.

Follow along with a video, such as YogaKids

Poses for Kids:

Cat- cow stretch – Encourage them to meow and moo

Downward facing dog – Can also be described as making a triangle or a mountain

Cobra – With hissing and slithering, of course

Tree – Rooting into the earth, swaying in the breeze

Butterfly (aka cobbler’s pose) – Fluttering their wings

Corpse pose – Lying still can be the most challenging!

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