Yoga Is for All Bodies…Including Your Kids

You’re quite sure the chaotic modern world’s pressures would drive you crazy in short order if it weren’t for your time on the mat. Your yoga practice enhances your physical and mental health while allowing you to celebrate your spirit and simply be. Guess what? Yours isn’t the only body that can benefit from striking a lotus pose — yoga is also great for your kids.

yoga for kids

Schools that have implemented yoga and meditation programs instead of detention have seen impressive behavioral improvements. It makes sense. After all, you can teach your kids about emotional intelligence. However, they still need quiet reflection time to integrate what they’ve learned and practice making healthy coping mechanisms a natural response to stressful situations.

How can you get your kids to join you on the mat? Here’s why yoga is for all bodies, including your kids and tips for engaging them in the practice.

Benefits of Yoga for Kids

Yoga offers physical, mental and emotional benefits, and many people find that they deepen their spirituality through their practice. Let’s look at how these perks specifically affect the youngest yogis.

1. Improved Physical Coordination

Even adults can find following a fast-paced vinyasa routine challenging. Getting into an asana requires your child to interpret the guide’s signals, translating what they see and hear into physical postures that challenge their coordination.

Even simple motions like a series of cat-cow poses require the combined efforts of your child’s visual and motor cortices. They strengthen synaptic connections by sending these commands to their peripheral nervous systems.

2. Mental Benefits

Researchers have drawn an association between regular yoga practice and improved academic performance in children. Yoga and meditation specifically affect focus and memory, helping your kids stay on task and retain the lessons learned through their studies.

3. Emotional Benefits

Yoga eases stress and anxiety in children just as it does adults. This improvement often correlates to behavioral changes, as panic can induce maladaptive coping mechanisms, like acting out.

Furthermore, yoga can enhance self-esteem. Many children struggle academically because of bullying and teasing from peers. Yoga helps them build an inner core of strength for deflecting insults and dealing with other people’s uncool behavior without losing theirs.

6 Tips for Getting Your Kids Into Yoga

kids doing yoga

How early is too early to start yoga? If happy baby pose is any indication, you’re never too young. Even toddlers can imitate their parents on the mat and often will if given the opportunity. However, if your child is reluctant to start their practice, these tips can help you engage them.

1. Use Age-Appropriate Language

If yoga terminology sometimes seems foreign, it’s because much of it comes from ancient Sanskrit. However, try explaining that to a 2-year-old who’s still mastering English.

They might not care that “ujjayi breathing” translates to “one who is victorious.” However, you can get them to do it if you tell them to breathe like Darth Vader.

2. Keep It Short

Kids have shorter attention spans than adults. What seems like 90 minutes in heaven to you could feel like slow, boring torture to a 5-year-old. You want your kids to love yoga and keep coming back, so keep their sessions brief. A 10 to 15-minute morning practice is enough to raise their interest — it also helps them adopt a positive mindset for the day ahead.

3. Choose the Right Style

Every child is different. What if you have a little one who avoids sports like the plague? Quiet, introverted sorts might naturally gravitate toward introspective practices like Yin — encourage their exploration by supplying them with soft pillows, bolsters and blankets.

Other kids are more, well, energetic. They might thrive in active practices like vinyasa or power yoga, and burning off that excess energy through mindful movement can help make nap or bedtime less of a battle.

4. Get Them Some Gear

You probably wouldn’t dream of going to the yoga studio without your personal mat. It’s more than lingering COVID-19 fears — you feel better when you invest in the right tools for your practice.

Your kids can also benefit from the mental boost of having personalized yoga gear. Make it an incentive — you’ll invest in a new outfit or bolster if they practice three days a week for two weeks. Letting them select a mat, towel and blocks gives them a sense of ownership. Who knows? They might even show off their new goods to their friends and invite them to join in the healthy fun.

5. Try a Kid-Specific Class

More studios today offer specific classes for the youngest yogis. These teachers usually undergo special training in anatomical development to make the moves safe for growing bodies. Take advantage if you can.

6. Practice Together

Is your little one a mama’s girl or boy? Celebrate the special bond you share by practicing together on the mat.

Practicing with your child can teach you a lot. Many yoga guides find that they deepen their understanding by sharing what they know with others and learn as much from their students as they do in training classes.

Yoga Is for Everyone, Including Kids

Do you love the benefits you get from your yoga practice? Guess what? Children can also reap the rewards.

Yoga is for all bodies, including your kids. Introducing them to the practice using these tips aids their physical and mental development while giving them a healthy emotional coping mechanism they can use for life.

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