Modern kids have a lot more going on these days than their previous generations had. Increased distractions, social influences, digital over-stimulation and increased academic pressures are all making it more difficult for kids to relax and just ‘be’.
Introducing a regular yoga session into your child’s life could not only have positive benefits for them, but also for the rest of the family too. Whether you choose to teach yoga to your children at home or take them to a kid’s yoga class, you could be arming them with some of life’s greatest skills.
Here we look at 5 of the main benefits of yoga to kids of all ages.
Breathing exercises can create energy, encourage relaxation and help to increase brain focus. If you teach your child a breathing ‘game’ to practice each day, it could stay with them for life and really arm them with a strong life-skill. One idea is to ask your child to inhale slowly for a count of 4 through their nose. Ask them to pretend that he or she is blowing up a balloon in their belly, so that it should inflate when inhaling. Then slowly exhale through the mouth for a count of 4 until their balloon belly has deflated. Repeat 4 times.
The majority of younger children struggle with attention and concentration levels, which is hardly surprising given the number of distractions they have in front of them. Balancing yoga poses help children to realise that they can increase attention and focus naturally. Poses and games focused on balancing skills promote a stillness and quieting of the mind. This can help kids deal with any stress and anxiety as well as focussing on important things like revision and exams.
Yoga helps create awareness in the body and an appreciation of how amazing the body actually is. It gives children a way to express themselves and feel proud of the progress they are making during their yoga lessons. Encouragement and trust are important here, so that a child knows and feels that they are safe and supported during each session. Children that have healthy body awareness are more confident and strong, have a better posture, and are more likely to perform better at school and in their other hobbies.
Inspiration and Creativity
When life gets a bit serious, we all need some escape-time. Yoga can provide this to kids. Children love the animal-themed names of the yoga poses and it’s always fun to practice waggling a long tail whilst in Downward Dog Pose or hissing out a slimy tongue whilst in Cobra. Through inventive yoga practice a child can help to feel a sense of play and spontaneity, and best of all, have fun! Most kid's yoga classes combine yoga poses with songs and music, storytelling or partner work so that a creative balance is achieved.
Stretching and Lengthening
Yoga helps kids learn to use their muscles in new ways. Whether a pose is done standing, sitting or lying down, they will challenge different sets of muscle groups, whilst helping them to become aware of their body and how all the pieces fit together. Through integrating breath and movement, muscles become warm and more flexible, and are able to support their tender joints better.
At Go Yoga Harrogate we offer a selection of Yoga Classes for younger kids and teenagers, so come along and give it a try.