Yoga is beneficial to kids in many ways and an early introduction can be incredibly valuable to them. By practicing yoga, children are given the tools they need to overcome emotional, social and physical challenges through learning how to exercise, developing confidence and the ability focus better. Yoga Teacher and editor for Siddhi Yoga shares her insight on how to start a successful yoga practice for the youngest yogis.
Teaching children how to do yoga is a challenge in itself. It is an exercise in patience. You have to remember that little kids have little attention span. So if you are to teach your kids a routine they are not willing to do, you just might get frustrated. You have to make yoga fun and appealing for the kids too.
Here are a few tips on how to make your kids into little yogis:
1. Keeping It Simple
Kids will imitate what you do so keep the poses simple. Save the complicated ones for another day. You can start teaching them by doing your exercises frequently out in the open. Their natural curiosity will most likely get them to do what you do without any pressures on your end. Choose simple poses that a child can accomplish without exerting too much effort. Explain to them the health benefit of each pose so they will understand how yoga works.
2. Tell A Story – Be Light-Hearted And Have Fun
Be creative. Kids remember how to do things better if they associate a pose with something fun and familiar. For example, say, “Let’s do a sandwich!” Start the kids in a sitting position with legs outstretched in front. Then say, “Let’s reach for the sky!” Let them stretch out their arms to the ceiling as they inhale. Once they exhale, you say, “Let’s fold it up!” Then they should bend from the waist and reach for their feet, folding like a sandwich! Now they know what a sandwich pose is. You can create short stories to explain why there are chants or mantras you need to say while doing yoga. Use the name of your favourite pet when doing the animal poses. Instead of just calling it the downward dog, you can say: “Let’s do the Brownie pose!” As long as you stir up their imagination, add a little humor and grab their interest, they will not think of yoga as a boring routine.
3. Teach Some Breathing Exercises
Breathing relaxes the body and calms the mind. This is very effective in calming down hyperactive children. It will teach them a discipline that they will eventually benefit from for the rest of their lives. Learning how to breathe teaches kids how to stay calm during a state of chaos, and how listen to their inner voice when making a decision. Basic breathing exercises also helps in relaxing children when they are getting frustrated with the poses. Teach kids how to take a few minutes off the routine to focus on their breathing. This creates a calming effect and helps them unwind from tension and stress. Again, this requires lots of patience.
4. Establish Routine
Do your exercises regularly at a fixed time. This will establish a routine that they will soon learn to respect and understand. You can establish the routine by making it predictable. Associate the sessions with an event or activity such as sunrise (first thing in the morning) or sunset (before sleeping). Children will learn to appreciate the value of rituals and fulfilled expectations. Each member of the family should have their own mats and be mindful of keeping their own space clean as part of the discipline. Routine is highly associated with yoga, given that you are doing the same order of poses each day. Being consistent brings a sense of pride and accomplishment among the family members. In yoga teacher training you learn about order of poses and patience along with other qualities of yoga.
5. Try This Yoga Flow
The list below is a sequence of yoga poses that your family will love. These are all fun and easy to do that even the kids can do it. If you would like to learn more fun yoga poses, you can “click here” and let the new family yoga tradition flow!
1. Mountain Pose
2. 1 to 3 sun salutation or Surya Namaskara (includes the upward and downward facing dog)
3. Cat and cow
5. Child’s pose
6. Tree pose
7. Warrior II
8. Triangle Pose
9. Handstand against the wall
10. Waterfall (Vipanta Karani)
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).
Learn more at https://www.siddhiyoga.com/yoga-teacher-training-goa