Yoga for Children: Selecting the Right Yoga for Your Child
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When speaking about the benefits of yoga, most of us discuss the advantages from an adult’s point of view. With kids being quite bubbly, energetic and always on the move, it might seem like yoga would be the last thing they would be interested in doing.
However, the benefits of yoga can also apply to children – it builds body awareness, helps with relaxation and calmness, improves flexibility and strength and boosts overall wellbeing. Therefore, you definitely want to consider doing yoga with children.
But how would we go about selecting the right yoga styles? As you already know too well, your children won’t behave quite like adults and they will require a different approach to help them practice yoga safely. To start your child on a fulfilling journey in yoga, here are some essential tips for selecting the right type of yoga for your child.
Explore the options
First, you should explore the different yoga options available. There are plenty of different yoga styles out there from Ashtanga to Iyengar. It’s important to understand what each yoga style entails and whether you think it would be appropriate for your child. Remember to keep your child’s age in mind – a 5-year old might require something simple and gentle (such as Yin yoga) while a 12-year old could start learning more complex styles like Vinyasa yoga.
It’s a good idea to go with something you are already familiar with if you practice yoga yourself. This is so that you know the correct poses and breathing techniques and can better guide the child during the practice.
For parents who are keen to teach their children but don’t have the yoga experience, there are specific yoga practices designed for kids using yoga cards. You can check the retailers at Frugaa.com for yoga cards by Tara Gruber and Annie Buckley. These are especially good with younger children.
Remember to explore further than just the yoga poses. With children, breathing and meditative exercises are especially useful and could help provide more benefits for the child.
The key is to pick a simple yoga style or even just practice bits and pieces of the whole yoga lifestyle. The aim is to slowly ease your child into the practice, which means that a combination of yoga moves, meditation and relaxation can work better than just sticking to a specific style.
Furthermore, you should involve storytelling and play in your child’s yoga sessions. Instead of just focusing on the posture and the breathing, create stories for specific poses that help the child engage more with the practice. Alternatively, you can also help your child feel more part of the process by asking them to come up with stories about the poses.
To further build your child’s understanding of yoga, teach them about the tradition behind it – toward this end, it may be useful check out a book on the principles of yoga called Child’s Play.
Consider the child’s personality
When considering yoga for your kids, first think about the benefits you most want your child to have and then tailor their practice around that.
As mentioned above, yoga can have a huge impact on children. If you feel your child is always a little on the edge, then you want to pick yoga practices that focus on calming the mind. You can do meditative yoga and focus on different breathing exercises. On the other hand, if you want your child to build up some strength and improve their flexibility, a more active form of yoga (such as? ) should be considered.
Working with yoga is about finding the yoga that suits your child’s personality but also provides the most benefit. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have elements of all the yoga practices in your routine but you definitely want to focus on those styles that most benefit the child.
Listen to your child
To make the practice more interactive, you can show yoga videos, talk about the principles and benefits of yoga, and include your child in your own yoga experience. As your child learns more about the topic, you can begin to ask him or her what is the most interesting element and if they’d like to be part of the practice. Children will enjoy the whole yoga experience more if they feel engaged, empowered and involved.
Furthermore, let your child make suggestions in terms of yoga poses. The key is to listen to the child and make them a part of this new experience. If they don’t feel inspired by yoga, be sure to not force them. They may develop an interest for it much later in their lives.
Consider a yoga class
If the opportunity arises, take your child to a children’s yoga class near you. You can find them online by searching with keywords like “Yoga classes for children”, “Children’s yoga classes near me” and “Yoga for children in [Your town/city]”.
Some yoga holidays might also be suitable for children. Even if they are aimed at adults, you can often have your child follow the lessons with you. It can be a fantastic way to combine a family holiday and yoga – a healthy and fun way to relax!
Hopefully, the tips will help you in selecting the right yoga for your child. Remember to keep it fun and listen to your child – there is no need to force anyone to enjoy this wonderful healthy activity!
Want to get certified in teaching children’s yoga? Go on a kids yoga teacher training course!