Did you know that a growing body of research has shown that yoga can improve concentration, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, classroom behavior, and even reduce anxiety and stress in children?
With so many benefits, it makes sense that parents would want to encourage their kids to do yoga — either as a hobby or as a daily stress-relief activity.
What is yoga?
Coming from India, Yoga (i.e union or yoke) is the practice of accessing and integrating all aspects of our true nature—body, mind, and spirit—to strive for inner harmony.
Different yoga styles combine postures, breathing techniques and meditation or relaxation.
While some yoga poses are more suitable for adults, some more poses are easy for kids to do as well.
Why yoga for kids?
Yoga isn’t just for adults! In fact, it can teach children important life skills that can help them thrive in the world.
- Yoga helps teens cope with anxiety. The breathing exercises and relaxation techniques derived from yoga can help children manage stress.
- Yoga helps with emotional regulation in children. It teaches them to stay in the present moment while relaxing and achieving a serene state of mind, improving their emotional regulation.
- Yoga can do wonders for children’s self-esteem. Young children can gain personal strength by perfecting a pose or improving their balance and flexibility.
- Yoga promotes body awareness and mindfulness. Children learn about their bodies and the movements they are capable of by performing different yoga positions.
- Yoga improves concentration and memory in children. One of the most important benefits of children’s yoga is that the varied poses require children to focus and work on their memory skills, which can lead to improved academic success.
- Yoga increases children’s strength and flexibility. Yoga strengthens children’s growing bodies and improves their flexibility, reducing the risk of injury.
- Yoga teaches self-control and reduces impulsiveness. Yoga can minimize disruptive behaviors in the classroom by providing a physical outlet for children’s expression. As they struggle to clear their minds and perfect their poses, yoga also teaches children discipline.
- Yoga appears to be a promising avenue to help with weight loss and management in overweight or obese children.
How to get your child excited about yoga
Tamsin Putter, a certified yoga teacher who teaches yoga and is the founder of Yogafull, recommends making yoga fun and fun for kids in the classroom or at home. In her yoga classes, Tamsin weaves fun games and stories with positive themes like compassion, gratitude and strength.
“Many kids these days are struggling with extra pressures at school and online that adults didn’t have to deal with before. Yoga can give them a certain sense of calm and helps ground children, bringing them back to the present moment by helping them focus on their breath and giving them a break from the hours of screen time they endure.” , says Tamsin.
“The joy and peace that yoga can bring to a child’s life is extremely beneficial; all children could reap the rewards. Moving the body into different poses helps children focus on what they are doing in the present moment and instills a sense of stillness. It can also be great fun trying to shape your body into different shapes while laughing and releasing endorphins. Practicing different pranayama (breathing techniques) also helps to center children and teaches them to be calm and focus on their breath. This is a valuable tool that they can use in the future when they find themselves in stressful situations. It’s important to teach children from a young age how to deal with the pressures of life, and yoga can instill that sense of calm in a healthy way.”
Yoga brings peace to children in a fast-paced world
Tamsin goes on to say that it’s difficult to put into words just how much yoga can improve our well-being.
“I can only speak from personal experience as a plus-size yoga teacher and say that I wish I had found yoga as a child. Yoga teaches us in incredible ways to love and appreciate our bodies. it shows us our strengths and weaknesses and allows us to improve from a place of love. It can drastically improve your self-esteem if you practice the poses patiently and feel yourself getting stronger. It will give them a certain sense of pride and confidence when they finally start achieving the poses they have been practicing.”
What yoga poses are suitable for children?
Here is a list of 10 great yoga poses for kids:
- Easy Sitting Pose (Sukhasana)
- Child Pose (Balasana)
- Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana)
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)
- Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
- Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)
- Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
- Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
- Corpse Pose (Savasana)