There are plenty of adults who swear by yoga for its physical and mental health benefits—improved flexibility, strength, balance, focus and relaxation. It’s not too surprising to learn that yoga also provides these same advantages for children, encouraging them to increase their self-esteem, body awareness, coordination and concentration. Yoga is a great way for children to exercise their bodies and minds, and more importantly, it’s fun! Kids can use yoga to play make-believe—imagining they are stretching like a cat, slithering like a snake or swaying like a tree—and who doesn’t like a good game of make-believe?
Learn more about children’s yoga, and try it out with your kids. Enjoy the relaxing benefits along with them, and show them that when they stretch and stand up tall, they reach a higher point on their Frecklebox growth chart!
- Even if you are an experienced yogi, read up before you get started teaching yoga to your children. Kids learn yoga differently than adults, and it’s a good idea to find ways to incorporate playfulness and energy into exercises to hold their attention better. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Yoga With Kids is an excellent resource (available free online ). Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:
Yoga is simply an organized system for what comes naturally to kids. It is the art of fusing body and mind for an overall sense of strength, flexibility, and well-being. Yoga moves, bends, stretches, and empowers bodies. It also moves, bends, stretches, and empowers minds… It can help kids become better athletes, better students, even better friends, siblings, and family members. Best of all, yoga can help kids to see the beauty within themselves, boosting their self-confidence, helping them feel comfortable with their bodies, and getting in touch with who they are inside.
- Make a game out of easy yoga poses. Use the kid-friendly illustrated cards, Yoga Pretzels: 50 Fun Yoga Activities for Kids & Grownups, to practice moving, bending and stretching with lots of fun and variety.
- If you want a little more guidance and structure, find a class where you live or buy one of the YogaKids DVDs or check out a preview on YouTube. They combine music, simple yoga poses, breathing exercises and imaginative activities in an infectious way that are sure to be a hit with you and your children.
Time to get moving! What do you think about trying yoga with your kids? Have you ever done it before, and if so, would you recommend it to other families?