It seems that grown-ups understand the health benefits of yoga. Breath control and simple meditation to calm the mind and spirit with physical poses to increase the strength and well-being of the body!
But what about children? Is there any benefit to introducing yoga to the youngest members of our society? I’m here to tell you yes! In this series of articles, I’ll do my best to explain how children can benefit from yoga as well as provide ideas for daily yoga practice.
Let’s start with three reasons your young child would benefit from yoga:
Learn to control movements.
Yoga helps children develop control over their movements and gives them sensory information to understand the relative position of different parts of their bodies in space.
One way they do this is with movements that cross the midline of the body, which promotes coordination and use of the whole brain. Many simple yoga poses do this such as seated twist, lying down twist, tiger and eagle but simply touching the right hand to the left foot is developing this control!
Another exercise I enjoy doing with young children is “Finger kisses.” One by one, we bring our thumb to meet each one of our other fingers, giving little kisses as we go! It seems simple, but young children are practicing concentration, control of individual fingers, and fine motor control!
Yoga doesn’t always mean sitting silently in meditation for long periods of time. It can be fun too! You can include simple games such as throwing and catching a beanbag or socks with your child. How is this yoga? It’s focusing on one thing and helps hone that focus. I throw a bag, I catch a bag. Coordination is key!
You’ll see progress.
Especially with younger children, ages 2.5-3.5, you can see progression very quickly. Mastery comes easily at this age, especially by taking yoga activities one step at a time.
For example, invite your child to balance for 3 breaths. If you accomplish this, try for 6 breaths the next day. As you progress, speak to these little successes and your child will become confident in their skills! For example, “Last week we balanced for 3 breaths, this week we’re balancing for 6 breaths! We did it!”
The important thing is that you and your child enjoy these exercises together. You can all enjoy time spent together as a family while increasing your child’s awareness of their bodies and how they relate to their environment.
Stay tuned for more ideas on easy-to-implement yoga practices for your daily routine, including poses to do before bedtime!
About Christiane Kerr
Christiane founded Calm For Kids in 1999. The organization is committed to giving teachers and parents the skills to enhance children’s development through yoga and mindfulness practice, enabling them to use their inner resources to face life’s challenges.
Recommended for you: