While we may not think of children as being stressed, the truth is that many of the influences of the modern world can put psychological pressure on kids. From busy parents, to peer pressure, to overstimulation, many of today’s experiences can cause undue stress to our young ones. Yoga can provide a way for children to learn to self-soothe from these influences and find peace in the moment.
Yoga is a set of disciplines originating from ancient India that can benefit people’s body, mind and soul. Although not all its effects have been backed by science yet, many of them have. It can reduce stress and anxiety, all while improving the quality of life.Yoga can also have a measurable effect on health/ through increasing strength and heart health, reducing pain and promoting better sleep.
Despite the fact that yoga is most commonly practiced among adults, it actually offersa plethora of benefits for children as well. Yoga teaches kids that relaxing is not only allowed, it is encouraged, all while giving them a venue to gain an awareness of their body beyond what is possible through normal play. Here are a few of the benefits that yoga can provide for your child:
Yoga for children will be different than yoga for adults. Not only does the length and intensity have to be tailored to the specific child, easy and comfortable beginner positions should be chosen that would encourage them to want to continue the practice. Below are a few fun and engaging positions that will have your kids asking for more.
Child’s Pose: As the name implies, child’s pose is a great asana for beginners. It stretches a child’s back and helps them get ready for a kid-friendly yoga session. Sit on the floor with your bottom on your heels. Spread your bent legs a little and then bend forward keeping your arms out in front or behind.
Lion Pose: A great way to release their inner beast, the silly simhasana is a perfect pose for children who have so much energy they can sometimes seem a like wild animal. Sit on floor with legs underneath and toes touching. Spread knees and place hands on floor in front of you. Lean back, breath in and then lean forward to the floor and roar! See this video for an example!
Mountain Pose: This easy pose is the cornerstone for all standing poses and is an easy way to improve posture. Stand with feet flat on the ground, toes touching. Hands should be to the side, facing outward. Neck, head and back should be straight and aligned. Keep this position for a nice long one minute.
Bridge Pose: A fun an energizing pose for children, this asana builds balance all while transforming your child into a bridge! Lie on your back on the floor and bend knees bringing the soles of your feet to the floor. Arms to the side, with hands on the floor. Start lifting your bottom to form a bridge while deeply inhaling and exhaling. See this video for an example!
These few poses are a great place to start what can become a lifelong yoga practice for your child. By instilling the values of yoga early, you can ensure that your child reaps the benefits of this ancient exercise for many years to come.
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