In today’s day and age, many adults are seeking salvation and clarity in the form of yoga, and as research is progressing, the ancient art is becoming increasingly popular with children, too. Whether you’re interested in the amazing health benefits the practice has to offer or ready to start teaching your little ones some new poses, in this article, we discuss why yoga for children can be a fantastic idea and the numerous benefits.
One of the things in the forefront of any parents’ mind is the safety of their child. With there being such excessive debate in society today about the negative and positives of even the most mundane activities, it’s no surprise if you’re left feeling a little uneasy about introducing your little one to anything new. We are happy to let you know though, that the numerous studies gone into assessing the benefits of yoga on children have proven that the practice is in fact, highly beneficial if performed correctly. Like with anything, if you don’t feel confident yourself just yet, it may be best to start off with the aid of a teacher, rather than self-taught practice. Also, make sure your child has suitable yoga wear such as yoga leggings, plus a yoga mat.
Children are born with the gift of incredible flexibility. As we grow older, it’s no secret that we dream of our bodies being able to move in the way they could when we were a child. Practicing yoga from a young age is something that can help prolong this ability. Training the muscles to stay supple and strong right from the get go, can only be a good thing, as strong muscles will mean they bounce back and heal that little bit faster from any injury.
Even in adults, yoga teaches self-discipline and aids concentration, so giving kids the chance experience of a variety of different paced poses teaches them from that young age that attention and self-awareness is an important step towards achieving your goals.
The beliefs that end up contributing to our self-esteem as an adult are often formed in early childhood. Celebrating the small successes achieved through yoga teaches children that they can do great things if they put their mind to it. Displaying the great strength, poise and power learned through yoga can do wonders for their confidence, building self-esteem foundations for later life.
Through yoga, children learn to outlet their stress in a positive way, in a calm, accepting environment. Like with any form of exercise, yoga contributes to the release of endorphins throughout the body, of which are commonly referred to as “happy hormones”. The release of these positive chemicals into the body when partaking in exercise means that the activity can contribute to an increase in mood. Teaching your child a positive way to outlet stress and frustrations is something that can be of benefit as they develop into adulthood.
The way the media today bombards us with images of unrealistic “perfect bodies” can affect everyone, even children. Studies have shown that over 50% of girls between the ages of 6 and 8 would like to change their bodies because they can see they don’t look like the airbrushed supermodels on the television. Taking part in a children’s yoga session shows them that everyone is different and those differences should be celebrated. They will realise that although everybody looks different on the outside, on the inside everybody there is aspiring to achieve the same goals.
Like with any new skill, yoga isn’t something that can be learned overnight. The journey they will go when learning the different poses will show them that success needs to be worked for, and to see results in anything, you need to stick with it. Teaching the skill of commitment at a young age can be beneficial in relationships and responsibilities in addition to general life skills.
Poses for Beginners
To begin, lie flat on your tummy. Slowly bend both knees, bringing your legs up behind you. Next, lift the chest off the floor and reach both arms back towards the toes, holding onto the feet. You are in Bow Pose. Hold for 15 seconds before letting go of your feet and lowering the legs back to the floor.
Start this pose laying on your back, bending the knees while keeping the soles of your feet touching the ground. Relax your arms, letting them drop carefully to the sides of your body. Tuck your chin into your chest then lift buttocks and back off the floor, creating a bridge. You are in Bridge Pose. Hold for 15 seconds before lowering back and buttocks back down to the ground.
Begin in an all-fours position. Ensuring that your arms are positioned directly underneath the shoulders, start to slowly round your back, as if stretching the middle portion up toward the ceiling. With your chin tucked into the chest, hold this pose for 15 seconds or as long as you feel comfortable.
Begin this pose kneeling on the floor, sitting back on your heels. Slowly bring your forehead down towards the ground, until it is comfortably resting in front on your knees. Relax your arms to the sides of your body, and feel the stretch along the entirety of your back. You are in Childs Pose. Hold for 15 seconds while taking a couple of deep breaths to increase the stretch.
The resting pose is a popular choice in any children’s yoga class. All you need to do is lie down on your back, relaxing your arms by your sides while keeping your legs stretched out. You are in Resting Pose. Take this time to concentrate on your breathing for as long as you feel happy doing so. This pose is all about rest and reflection, so encourage your child to take some time to do this.
Yoga for children can be an excellent form of exercise to incorporate into their everyday lives, as not only does it teach them strength, discipline, and concentration, but it teaches them that in life it is healthy to take a few quiet minutes each day for yourself. Yoga will teach your child to take time for themselves as they grow up.