If you’re a keen yogi, then you will probably already be reaping the amazing benefits of yoga. Increased relaxation, stress reduction, mental clarity, better breathing and physical strength. Just to name a few.
However, yoga isn't just for grown-ups. It’s for everyone! Kids included. Regardless of age or size, yoga can offer a low intensity workout that you can do in your own home, whenever you feel like it. It’s also a great activity for families to practice together to create a bonding experience. Something calming and supportive.
What are the benefits of yoga for kids?
Kids are busy little humans. They are constantly learning new information, running around, developing new skills and thinking about weird and wonderful thoughts. Practicing regular yoga can enhance all of these things, as well as adding an extra layer of self-esteem, mind-body connection and concentration.
The breathing and movement combined helps kids to slow down, relax and honour themselves and their bodies. That's something that we all could use more of in this crazy world we live in!
Children’s yoga classes often incorporate animals, music, art and storytelling into the mix. This helps them to connect to their inner senses and express themselves creatively.
So, how can you get your kids interested in Tree Pose and Downward Facing Dog? Here are some ways to make the experience fun and interesting for both your child and you.
Practice yoga in front of your kids
Kids are naturally curious and usually want to be just like you! If you roll out your mat in front of them and start practicing an online yoga class, they're likely to show an interest in what you are doing and might even want to join you on the floor.
The more regularly you practice at home, the more your kids will see that it becomes part of your everyday family routine. This is a great start to sparking up some interest in yoga from an early age.
Make it really fun
As your child shows more of an interest in yoga and perhaps wants to start practicing with you, it’s vital that you show them that it can be really fun. Although you might usually take your yoga time more seriously, with advanced poses and plenty of breathing exercises too, now’s not the time to practice this way.
When practicing with your family, stick with playful poses like Happy Baby or Downward Facing Dog. Tree Pose and Cobra are also favourited by little ones. Kids should be allowed to interpret the poses as they wish and move toward them at their own speed. There is no right or wrong, so be wary not to correct them too much.
Go animal crazy!
Most poses in yoga have animal names. This is one reason why kids really get excited about it. If you can’t remember the names of all the poses, you could always make little flash cards together with your kids. Draw the animal and write its name next to it. This way you can both start to match up the names to the poses together.
Also, why not make the animal noise that goes with the stretch you're doing. This will add a further layer of fun to the practice. Some animal poses to get your started: Cat pose, Cow pose, Downward Facing Dog, Cobra, Fish and camel. Who knows what sounds they will come up with!
Give way for creativity
The key part of getting your kids to enjoy yoga is for them to enjoy it. To want to do it, rather than it being a chore along with their homework. Let them spend as long as they want in each of the poses and even let them come up with their own poses and names as part of the fun.
It’s unrealistic to expect young kids to be quiet for the whole duration of a yoga lesson, therefore, have short breaks where they can chat about what they are doing and how they feel in the postures.
The older they get and grow with yoga, the more their concentration and focus will appear.
Kids want to play. It’s totally natural. So, encourage their strengths while teaching them to be healthy, creative individuals. Good luck and have fun finding a new little yogi friend to practice with!