Introducing Kids into Yoga: Benefits & Tips

Many adults are rolling out their yoga mats these days to stretch out those tight hamstrings, heal their aching shoulders, and ease their anxious minds. As yoga has become more mainstream, people have learned and experienced the benefits of the yoga practice. But is yoga just for adults? Can kids practice yoga, too? They certainly can. Yoga offers many great benefits to kids of all ages. Here are a few tips that parents, teachers, and caregivers can use to introduce yoga to children.


Yoga for kids is a wonderful source of physical exercise and body awareness. It also is developmentally positive for enhancing creativity, socialization, and mindfulness.


Physical Exercise & Body Awareness

Just as adults enjoy yoga for the physical practice and the positive effects it has on the body, the same can go for children. Engaging in movement of any sort, like a yoga practice, keeps kids physically fit. In addition to that, they grow to appreciate their own bodies and develop a respect for others' physicality and abilities.


Enhance Creativity

Yoga for kids is a lot of fun, too. Kids Yoga instructors do not worry so much about having their young students get the poses right. It is more about allowing the kids to be free and expressive with their bodies. In cases where children have a tough time expressing themselves verbally, using their bodies as a communication tool can be very helpful. The yoga poses can help a child express their feelings; they can use the postures to say if they are sad, angry, or happy.


Another way to have fun with kids’ yoga is to allow children to make up their own yoga postures.

Because many of the yoga poses adults practice have animal names, kids can make up their own postures depicting their favorite animals. This teaching tool helps a child develop their creative minds. They will take great delight in making up yoga poses for dinosaurs, giraffes, and kittens!


Socialization

Introducing yoga to young people can enhance their social skills, too. It is an activity in which kids improve their interpersonal relationships. They learn to share, communicate, and develop empathy for others. They also learn social skills like cooperation and being a team player. Practicing yoga with other children will reinforce the importance of social interaction. Media devices like televisions, computers, and cell phones have dominated the social scenes for young people. Engaging in an activity like yoga will remind them of the importance of human connection.


Mindfulness

Teaching yoga to kids can also help them monitor and regulate their own emotions. Sometimes overanxious kids do not have a method for calming their minds and bodies. Yoga can be a helpful remedy. Teachers and parents can use fun breathing exercises to teach children ways to settle their overactive minds and energetic bodies. Such exercises will help them to focus, concentrate, and pay attention better.


Kids Yoga Resources

How can parents and teachers introduce yoga to their kids and students? Here are a few resources. One way to help teach yoga poses is to use colorful flashcards. They may depict some of the common yoga postures that a child can learn. There are also books, videos, and websites that are catered to teaching yoga to kids, as well as information on types of yoga and its origins. These can be handy tools to have around as classroom or family activities. There are even kid-size yoga mats designed for the young yogi. Having their own yoga equipment will make them feel important and special. So, if you are looking to encourage the development of children to increase their overall wellness, give yoga a try.


>>YOGA FACTS FOR KIDS<<


Written by Guest Author, J.C. - PHD & Yoga Instructor

Edited by Stephanie Powers, MSc, LCDC

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