These days kids are living very busy lives. With school, all of the extracurricular activities that they have going on, and the impact of social media on younger kids. The pressure of being a kid in the 21st century is even more intense than years past.
The benefits of Yoga for kids don’t hugely different from the benefits that adults experience when they practice yoga on a regular cadence. Kids are balls of energies so the hardest thing may be getting them to buy into the meditative and relaxation of yoga.
Helps with sleep
One of the biggest benefits anyone will experience when they start practicing yoga regularly is an improvement in their sleeping patterns. This is true of most forms of exercise but yoga is great because it really helps to relax the mind and maintain focus. This relaxation of the mind and mental break in the day. Specifically, restorative yoga poses are a great wind down to the end of your day. One of the largest factors contributing to poor sleep is stress. Yoga helps to reduce stress and at the core of the reduction of stress is focusing on your breath. Deep inhales through the nose and long exhales through the mouth are a great way to calm the mind and body. For a list of poses that are great to do in the evening check out Harvard’s article on restorative poses and how they can aid with sleep.
Improves balance and strengthens the muscles
By holding poses you are relying on your muscles to center the poses. One of the best things about yoga is it really is a full-body workout and you will be developing and strengthening muscles in areas that you have never worked before. A by-product of this muscle development is an improvement in balance. Specifically strengthening your core, back, and hip muscles helps will help with balance
A Lot of kids and adults alike have trouble sitting up straight and yoga teaches you how to keep good posture in a variety of positions. One of the most common early mistakes in beginner yogis is that they get the alignment of their spine wrong in poses or they are slouched over when the shoulders should be back and upright.
You’ll be amazed when you get these adjustments just how easily these are transferred to everyday things like sitting and standing. After a few weeks of yoga practice will have better posture without even thinking about it.
Increases blood flow
Yoga is great for getting the blood flowing and the heart rate up. Per the University of Washington’s article on the benefits of yoga. Movement brings oxygen to the cells which results in functioning cells. Poor blood circulation can be caused by sitting in one place for extended periods of time. Although the majority of kids won’t have a problem with poor blood circulation due to their constant movement, it’s good to have your bases covered.
A great social platform
Yoga classes are a fantastic platform for kids to interact with other kids. Kids’ yoga classes are drastically different from the typical classes that we adults are used to. The classes are combined with music, adventures, and relaxation techniques that are aimed at keeping the kids entertained and engaged.
Helps boost confidence
Kids are naturally flexible, they will be able to show great levels and agility and flexibility that most adults would only dream of. A good yoga instructor will focus on this and highlight this to the kids. That feeling of achievement is great for a kid’s confidence to believe in their abilities. This will be beneficial to them in the classroom and a lot of other elements in their life.
Kids have a lot going and a lot of expectations from parents and teachers and pressure from themselves. Having yoga as an outlet is a great thing for kids to destress. Yoga is both a physical and mental exercise, your mind needs to be worked as well as your muscles. Learning about yoga from an early age will give them a great start in understanding that both physical and mental exercise is a vital part of a happy healthy life.
Concentration is a skill, so teach them young
Concentration is a hard thing to master. With the principles of yoga and the focus being on the breath and the hold. Yoga trains the mind to concentrate on a few things intently. The best feeling I have had practicing yoga is when I remove all thoughts from my head and solely focus on my breath. Getting kids into yoga classes will help them understand how to sit in one place and remove the mind wandering. Usually, concentration is taught to kids in school where the environment isn’t ideal. So learning the art of concentration in a fun and playful environment is the perfect platform.
It’s not a super competitive activity
Competitive exercising and sports are just not every kid’s cup of tea. So, if your kid is a little more chilled out or you don’t want to put them in a competitive environment. Yoga is a great form of exercise for them. As a whole Yoga is quite a singular journey. Being focused and doing the best you can on the day is a large part of any yoga session.
Synchronizes the body and mind
A connection of the mind and body is something that can alter how your physical body feels. On the other hand, the things that you do to your body (what you eat, if you exercise, etc) can impact how you feel. By getting your kid involved in yoga early. You can improve their mind-body connection which will relieve stress, help with concentration and be a contributing factor to a healthy life. For more about the mind-body connection. Check out Patricia Hart, MD from the University of Minnesota’s article on the subject.
How to get kids interested in Yoga
Practice as you preach
Make sure that you yourself practice in front of your kids so that they can see the poses and movements that are part of yoga. Kids are inquisitive, when they see you doing something they will naturally want to see if they can do it as well. So, get the yoga mat out and start practicing.
Chose an instructor that specializes in kids yoga
There is a big difference between kids’ yoga and adult yoga so it’s really important that you find an instructor that specializes in it.
Don’t put too much pressure on them
The reality is that some kids won’t be interested in Yoga, so it’s important to let the kids try and see how they react to the practice. You can usually tell if a child is interested in an activity by their willingness to return to the mat or class.