The Benefits of Yoga for Kids
While kids are incredibly resilient, they’re also not immune from the chaos of the current times.
Each age group has been affected by the pandemic in different ways, but everyone stands to gain significant benefits from yoga. Check out our best tips below for getting little ones excited about yoga!
Benefits of yoga for kids
Children benefit from yoga in many of the same ways as adults. However, they have the added bonus of gaining these benefits early on!
Practicing yoga makes exercise a natural part of their routine, which gives them a strong foundation for healthy habits. Best of all, it’s a portable activity, meaning they don’t need any equipment or special clothing to enjoy it. Yoga increases their flexibility, strength, coordination and body awareness, while also introducing them to the power of connecting with their breath.
Let’s face it: It’s much better to learn good posture as a kid than to correct it as an adult. Plus, good posture early in life can prevent many of the physical problems that arise after a lifetime of hunching over, because bad posture places extra stress on the joints, ligaments, bones and muscles.
Yoga teaches kids to practice elongating and lengthening their bodies, and promotes better overall spinal health in a number of ways. Plus, standing up straight helps boost confidence levels!
Body Positivity & Self-Esteem
Physical activity helps people feel better in their skin, and yoga in particular is a powerful way to build self-love. Kids will gain a sense of personal empowerment, greater self-esteem and relaxation in their bodies. The aim is to help them feel comfortable, secure and happy in their body starting at an early age.
Can you remember the intensity of the emotions you felt as a young person, the daily ups and downs and insecurities? Now just briefly imagine that you had an awareness of yoga and meditation, and all the ways these practices promote self-acceptance and inner strength.
Yoga is a wonderful outlet for dealing with stress. Bringing the practice into your child’s life, and reminding them to tune into the breath and quiet their minds, will set them up with tools they can use off their mats and in the real world.
How do I get my kids to do yoga?
Is your child convinced yoga is “boring”? Does their attention span typically peter out at the five minute mark? Not to worry — we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve!
Make It Fun
If you think yoga has to be serious and silent, think again! As you’re introducing your kids to the practice, a little playfulness will go a long way.
Start by choosing the poses that will inspire joy — like happy baby, downward dog, and cat/cow. These are movable poses that make even us adults smile. Animate your asanas as much as possible, whether this means letting out a battle cry in warrior poses, hissing like a lizard or mooing in cow.
Make It a Family Affair
Make yoga a family practice and get on the mat with them. Both of you can do yoga side by side. You can lead the class, make a story out of the flow, or encourage them to choose where you go next. It is an excellent way to bond.
Not only will it give you some quality time with your kids, but when they see you taking the time to work out, it shows them that self-care is a priority. Plus, kids are naturally curious, so seeing you in action will give them a little pull toward the practice of yoga.
Make a Game Out Of It
There are endless ways to get creative with your mini yogis! Here’s just a few…
- Write yoga poses on popsicle sticks, and have your kids draw the next pose.
- Assign a pose to cards and have them shuffle and pull from the deck.
- Kids will love the opportunity to play “yoga instructor” and lead you through a sequence of their own.
- Enjoy a game of yoga freeze tag. If you get tagged, take a downward-facing dog. To get unfrozen, another player has to do cat-cow pose underneath you. Feel free to switch up these poses to keep things fresh!
- Kids thrive on a little friendly competition, so challenge them to see who can “OM” for the longest amount of time.
There are tons of ways to incorporate a little fun into the practice and make it interactive. When kids know they have a fun game to look forward to, they’re much more likely to join in.
Happy yoga, everyone!
For more family-friendly tips, check out the CA Parents’ Corner blog.