Yoga for kids
By Jacinta Hoogenboom
Just as we experience amazing health benefits from doing yoga regularly, so too can our children. Yoga can help children to manage their stress, to build concentration, to increase their confidence and self-esteem, to find inner fulfilment, and to feel more energised.
Yoga for kids is fun and it’s a great way for children to connect and be part of a positive and non-competitive group. It will foster cooperation and compassion in them and it will encourage them to move their bodies and be active. It will also keep them away from the TV and computer.
Yoga for kids is a recent phenomenon that has evolved naturally out of parents realising that their children may experience the same health benefits from yoga that they do. Traditional yoga practice is definitely not for children but luckily yoga is flexible enough that it can be modified to suit people of all ages.
When planning classes, teachers should develop them in an age appropriate way and teach asanas modified specifically for the children. Classes should be somewhat gentle, and although children are naturally flexible, it’s is important to keep the poses simple.
The teacher should make the classes fun and engaging for the children. The yoga poses were created at a time when people lived more closely with the natural world, so many of the poses were inspired by things that were found in nature such as the tree pose and the camel pose.
A way to make a class fun and to keep the children’s attention is to get the children to make animal noses when doing each pose. So when the child is doing the cat-cow stretch, they can meow when they are in cat pose and moo when they are in cow pose. Or when they are doing the cobra pose they can hiss and slither.
Some great poses for kids are:
- Cat-cow stretch
- Downward facing dog
- Corpse Pose
When doing yoga, children exercise, play and connect more deeply with themselves. Yoga will have positive effects on their minds and may help them to develop a peaceful and positive outlook in life.
Introducing yoga to children early on in their life may have many unforeseen benefits for their future. As yoga helps a person to experience inner peace, it may help them to make wise choices as they grow up. It may also help them to release emotions so that they grow up in a healthy and balance way.