People today are living in the busiest, and that also includes the kids. It is not easy being a kid in today’s hurry-up world; they are hurried from one activity to the next—homeworks, after-school programs and/or lessons, and competitive sports—and they are provided with all sort of digital distractions, leaving them physically and mentally exhausted day by day. The bustling pace of parents’ lives are more affecting their kids’ than ever, and the profound effects tend to lean towards the negative sides—but that’s when yoga for kids comes to rescue.
We are now living in the most stressful time in history, indeed. However, between the chaos, yoga has managed to stick around, or even to rise, gaining popularity around the world. The 5,000 year old art of fusing the body and mind does not only help the adults get through the Yang lifestyle—it also helps the kids with the issues in their own little world. Yoga for kids offers the benefits similar to those of adults’, or even more than, which will be disclosed below.
Top Benefits of Yoga for Kids
Enhances Focus and Body Awareness
In yoga for kids classes, some poses are fast moving while the others are slower paced, allowing the kids to enhance their focus and body awareness. It takes great attention to move from one pose to another, not to mention with different paces, and so does to breath correctly while performing the movements. In a yoga class with kids, the teacher typically has the kids close their eyes and focus on sitting just as a statue. In order to keep their body still, the kids must become aware of all parts of their body, and then when a short period of time for the pose is up, they are told to relax and just start laughing. This is a great release of energy and stress, and it makes them understand that they have control over their bodies and minds—and with this understanding, comes confidence.
Maintains Natural Flexibility
Our body loses its flexibility as we age, but kids have lots of natural one. Making flexibility exercises a habit for kids will make them perform better in any sports. Flexibility that forms in the muscles and joints can be increased with stretching exercises, and regular exercise allows the mobility to yield. Increasing and maintaining flexibility with low-impact exercises such as yoga will result in kids have far fewer serious injuries.
Channels Ever-Growing Energy
Some poses in yoga for kids aid in developing strength in their growing muscles and bodies. Furthermore young kids have a lot of energy, and yoga can be a great exercise to channel it. Studies have found that kids who are hyperactive can benefit from yoga since the practice naturally teaches relaxing breathing techniques, and the focused time in specific postures also helps with their impulses move in a positive direction. According to a 2004 study of 8 to 13 year old boys with ADD published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, practicing yoga once a week for five months resulted in increased concentration, mental and physical discipline and improved confidence among study participants. Parents of the study participants reported that their sons were less hyperactive.
Teaches Awareness of Present Moment
Yoga phylosophy teaches present moment awareness; when our mind is thinking about the past or future, we are actually missing the most valuable now. Kids who have gone through traumatic experience can benefit from yoga since when they are engaged, focuse, having fun and following a yoga lesson, they are in the present moment. Besides helping them aid their stress, yoga for kids also helps them to be more aware of what’s in front of them, to focus more on the present moment, and just to be simply present.
As like any exercises, yoga also takes one’s discipline. Yoga is not a mere exercise; it can become a lifestyle and a journey of a lifetime. When kids learn the practice at a young age, they will learn that yoga takes practice versus an immediate accomplishment, and being commited to the practice will ripple out into their everyday life activities, relationships and responsibilities. They will come to understand that life as well is a path with good days, bad ones, and everything in betweens.
As mentioned before, yoga can increase a kid’s self-esteem. When a kid displays great strength, focus, and flexibility in yoga, it does wonders for their confidence. Achieving a pose yields poise and power, and this may lead the kids to believe in and pursue their true abilities. Since the self-esteem stems out of yoga success that takes effort and practice, kids will understand that it takes effort to achieve things in life, but it is possible since they have the capability to do so.
Classes of yoga for kids often infuse fun themes to attract and engage kids into the practice. Animal names and sounds are often used, and kids are give the opportunity to make up their own yoga poses to fit with the theme. By allowing them to express themselves throughout the class, it inspires them to be creative and self-expressive. The kids are still doing yoga in class, but they have the chance to use their boundless imaginations without judgement.
Encourages Social Interactions
Yoga teaches the kids that despite the differences people have regarding races, religions, ideas, and appearances, we are all the same inside, having bodies that functions, hearts that love, and feelings that feel. Yoga also inspires them to be kind and patient with themselves and their peers, as it takes time and effort to achieve and hold the pose. This accepting and emphatetic traits will help encourage kind peer and social interactions.
Cultivates a Peaceful State of Body and Mind
All yoga classes conclude with a quiet time; it is typically time for Corpse pose in adult yoga classes, but it is called the “Do Nothing Pose” in kids yoga classes. The kids are lying down on their backs in quiet, preaceful stillness, as the teacher turn on the music a guided visualization sometimes. This three minutes of stillness is important to cultivate a relaxed state of body and mind in kids.
Gives Tools for Stress Management
Kids are also affected by stressful events, such as moving to a new house or new shcool, and facing a death in the family, and they need a way to manage stress and anxiety as much as adults do. Yoga is a physical exercise that produces happy endorphins; it teaches non-judgement and non-competition towards oneself and others. The practice is also a great way to teach the kids how to be calm, and provide enough freedom for kids to just be a kid.
Teaching Yoga to Kids
Yoga with kids can be one challenging yet fun workout routine for adults. Introducing yoga for kids may take time until the kids get the ideas of yoga and fall in love with the movements. The biggest stumbling block when it comes to teaching kids is definitely their attention span. Typically, teachers could only hold the kids’ attention from five to twenty minutes maximum, so they always need to find a way to keep the class moving and learning at a steady pace. Mixing and matching activities, such as following yoga videos for kids and then adding yoga games for kids, can amke the kids stay attracted to the class. Below are several tips for teaching yoga to kids that many parents and teachers have found useful.
Starts with yourself. Adults need to start by setting an example. Nervous system regulation is one of the most important skills young kids need, and they learn it from adults through what’s called co-regulation. Teaching kids the breathing technique is probably the most basic. Breath awareness is one of the simplest and most powerful practices you can teach to kids. Diaphragmatic breathing should be learned so that their focus can begin to improve. You need to practice with the kids, and after a few months, the diaphragmatic breathing will become automatic.
Create routine in yoga for kids. Although kids may have short attention span, they can get used to a routine. As they can respond strongly to routine, you need to create and use the same routine each time you are with them before adding some adjustments. You may include OM in the beginning and ending of each yoga practice, and even though you use games in the middle of the session, try to stick with OM routine to start and end the practice.
Practice regularly, but be flexibile. You may practice the breathing technique three times a day, seven minutes at a time. You cannot expect kids to do several routines or remember several different poses quickly. Take baby steps with them, and practice it regularly. However, when the kids are struggling with focus regardless your effort, just change what you are doing and try doing something else that is fun for them at the moment.
Use moving stories and role plays. What best engages young kids is a combination of movement with meaning, stories that include social or emotional learning or using symbolic language or animal archetypes. Kids remember the poses easily if they are associated with animals or characters from children stories. You should buy those yoga for kids DVDs because it can help a lot with the yoga teaching and learning process with kids.
Varying Yoga Poses for Kids
In yoga for kids, the name of the poses should be adjusted so that the kids can easily remember. This pose is great for oxygenating the body and resting for stability. Have the kids to begin on hands and knees, and then tuck their toes and lift their bottom high so their body create a triangle with the mat, pressing their chest forward with their head hanging down. Have the kids focus on keeping their feet firmly on the groung, bending their knees if needed.
Butterfly pose is great for opening the hips and a good stretch for the ankles. In yoga for kids, it is important to reming them to sit up straight. As the crown reaches for the sky, a spinal stretch and hip stretch. Ask the kids to sit up straight and push down on the knees or thighs with their elbows as they keep their feet pressed together. This allows the hips to open up more. For them to process easily, tell them to open their feet like a book.
Have the kids to stand steady on two feet and press one foot firmly into the mat whle lifting the opposite heel. If they feel stable in this position, they can then turn out the knee with the heel lifted and bring the heel to the inner ankle. This pose is great to quiet the mind since it requires focus to balance. Holding the Tree pose takes concentration and tightens the core.
Of course the kids have to learn this pose; Child’s pose is the place fo safety. It is a grounding pose that soothes the mind and rest the body. have the kids on all fours, and tell them to sit back on their heels, resting their head on the mat. Tell them to walk their fingers away from their bodies to stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles.
Happy Baby Pose
This pose is a hip-opening one that is really great for the body. the more the tailbone is planted on the ground, the more the spine gets the full alignment that is necessary. Have the kids lie on their back, pull their knees towarsd their belly and then grab on to the outsides of their feet. Tell them to open their knees as wide as their torse and press their feet into their hands. In yoga for kids, teaching them poses that are close to them, so that they can relate, can make them stay focused.