Did you know that yoga is not just for adults? This activity is often overlooked as being kid friendly. However, this mind-body practice has numerous benefits for children of all ages. Yoga can boost mental resilience, strength, academic performance and self-esteem, and even reduce anxiety and stress. Moreover, it’s a great way to create a healthy, active lifestyle for kids. Read on to learn more about yoga and how it can benefit children.
What Is Yoga?
Yoga is a mind-body practice that has been around for a long time. In fact, it originated in ancient India more than 5,000 years ago. Yoga is more than just exercise, as it helps connect the mind, body and spirit, and is practiced all around the world.
It involves slow movements, physical poses, concentration and deep breathing to improve one’s overall health. There are many types of yoga, including Bikram, hatha and power yoga. Since children are naturally curious, open to learning and flexible, they make the perfect candidates for yoga. Additionally, more than 1.7 million kids practice yoga in the U.S.
The Benefits of Yoga for Children
This ancient practice has numerous advantages for little ones, including the following:
- Better sleep: Yoga helps relieve negative emotions and tension in children, which can help them relax and fall asleep quicker. Instead of completing a full yoga routine before bed, kids can simply perform a few poses to get a better night’s rest.
- Mindfulness: Kids can learn how to be in the moment and make more mind-body connections throughout the day. This also encourages mental clarity.
- Lower stress: Yoga offers a respite from fast-paced lifestyles that often includes sports practices, play dates and tons of screen time. Moreover, stress can derive from school, social settings or at home. However, yoga can help calm and soothe the mind through deep breathing, meditation and slow movements.
- Healthy habits: Yoga keeps little ones active and can help prepare them for a lifetime of healthy habits.
- Improved confidence: Stretching and mastering various poses can teach children to persevere and believe in themselves. They’ll likely feel proud when they learn a new move. This can boost self-esteem and confidence. Best of all, kids can have fun during this activity and not be afraid to make mistakes or pose perfectly.
- Enhanced focus: This practice boosts attention span and focus, which may help academic performance in the classroom.
Easy Poses to Perfect
There are a wide range of yoga poses that are perfect for children. However, little yogis should be supervised whenever they practice. Easy poses for kids include:
- Tree pose: Stand tall on one foot and bring the other foot to the inside of the opposite calf. Move hands in a praying potion in front of the chest and hold for several breaths.
- Cat pose: While on all fours with hands and knees under shoulders and hips, tuck the head down in between the arms. Then, arch the back toward the ceiling and look down at the stomach. This stretch goes great with cow pose.
- Boat pose: Sit down with knees bent and feet on the ground. Extend the arms straight out and lift the toes off the ground. Try to straighten the legs and make a “V” shape with the body.
Tips for Helping Children Start a Yoga Routine
- Start with simple poses first.
- Make yoga fun by telling a story though poses, playing games or by creating poses.
- Encourage little ones to be consistent.
- Sign children up for a yoga class.
To learn more about the benefits of yoga for children, see the accompanying resource.
This infographic was created by Kids Car Donations, cars for kids donation
Author bio: Kids Car Donations is a national organization that accepts vehicle donations to better the lives of children. The organization partners with a number of well-known nonprofits serving children and teens who are confronted with physical, mental and emotional challenges to provide the care they need.