An Introduction To Child-Friendly Yoga
Who says yoga is only for grown-ups?! Sure, regular yoga is best suited for adults, as it requires longer attention spans and has some difficult poses. However, we’re seeing more and more parents and yoga studios adapting their yoga practices for a new audience: children.
So is yoga good for kids? As adults, we know how amazing and beneficial yoga can be for both our minds and our health, but the good news is that children can enjoy these benefits as well. Of course, child-friendly yoga looks a bit different. Here’s our guide to yoga for kids to help you learn more.
What is child-friendly yoga?
Is yoga kid-friendly? How does it differ from adult yoga?
Essentially, yoga for kids has been adapted to suit the needs of its participants. Generally, there will be more emphasis on having fun (not that yoga isn’t also fun for adults!), and on using poses that are easier and safer for younger bodies.
It’s likely to be more energetic as well, with more interactive elements to engage young minds and capture short attention spans. Of course, yoga teachers can come up with plenty of creative and fun ways to help kids learn the joys of yoga; as long as the kids are happy and safe, the only real limit is your imagination.
Child-friendly yoga is becoming more and more popular. You can now find yoga studios offering special classes just for kids, plus gyms and schools beginning to incorporate yoga moves and stretches into their exercise routines.
How do small kids do yoga? Due to short attention spans and lack of coordination, really young kids might do best with ‘mom and baby’ type of yoga classes, or at least a class with a well-balanced student-to-teacher ratio.
Benefits of yoga for kids
If you’re thinking of trying out yoga for your child, there are so many benefits it can bring! Here are some of the many great reasons to sign your child up for a yoga class.
Learning healthy habits from a young age
Yoga teaches the importance of looking after both your body and mind, helping young kids learn healthy habits. With the rise of various health problems in both kids and adults, encouraging your children to be active can set them up for a healthy life.
Most of us spend too much time indoors or looking at a screen, so it’s important to help your child learn the importance of exercise and movement from a young age.
Improving physical strength
Yoga can offer both cardio training and strength, as many poses use bodyweight to hold yourself in position. Even poses adapted to children can help kids burn calories, build muscle, and learn more about what their bodies are capable of achieving.
For children who experience low self-confidence or might feel nervous or shy in groups, yoga is an amazing way to help them build up their confidence. Exercise naturally releases endorphins in both children and adults, so a fun yoga session can leave your child feeling happier and more confident in themselves.
Since most yoga classes are done in groups, it can also be an easy way for your child to make new friends.
Helping with coordination and concentration
Coordination and concentration don’t come automatically – they’re skills that kids need to build up with practice. Yoga is a fun way to do this, as long as the activities and poses are age-appropriate.
For younger kids, it’s all about getting them to move and understand how their bodies work, while older children and teens can try poses that require focus and concentration.
How can I start enjoying yoga with my little one?
Wondering about the best yoga for kids? Whether you want to sign up your child for a kids’ yoga course or just teach them at home, here are a few ways to get started.
- Tabletop pose—Tabletop is an easy pose to start with for kids new to yoga, as even younger kids can usually manage this one. Supported by your knees and hands, form a table shape with your back straight. From there, encourage your child to try both cat and cow, fun poses that feel incredible for your back and neck.
- Child’s pose—Despite the name, child’s pose might not have been created with kids in mind, but it’s certainly one they can enjoy! This pose is great for both stretching and calming, so it’s ideal if you want to help your child feel more relaxed.
- Warrior pose—Looking for an active way to help an energetic child try out yoga? If so, you might want to teach them the series of warrior poses. It’s great for building strength and flexibility, but it’s also lots of fun – what kid wouldn’t love to become a warrior?
- Boat pose—Another great yoga move to try with your child is boat pose. It builds core strength but can also be a bit tricky, so probably better for slightly older kids.
- Savasana—Struggling to get a fussy child to lay down and get ready for a nap? If so, the savasana pose can do wonders. It’s designed to quiet both the body and mind, so it is an ideal way to ease into afternoon naptime! (A hot tip: meditation can help adults sleep better)
We hope our guide has encouraged you to try out yoga with your child! As parents, you strive to be the best model you can be, so passing on your love of yoga to your kids is one of the best things you can do for their health. We’re sure your kids will come to love the practice of yoga as much as you do.