Yoga is the perfect exercise for children. It teaches them patience and self awareness. It also promotes balance, flexibility and healthy living. Most importantly, your kids will have a lot of fun exploring their potential as they grow through practice.
If you are a yoga instructor or enthusiast, your young ones will eventually see you practicing and want to join you. This is a great thing, but in order to promote body awareness and allow them to enjoy their practice, it’s important to give them a bit of proper training.
Here are some tips to help you get your little ones started.
Ease Them Into It
A large part of yoga is all about going at your own pace, but children often only have two gears: sleep and full speed ahead. This especially applies if you are already at an advanced level. Don’t be surprised if your children immediately attempt to mimic you while you’re holding a one-handed tree pose.
Think back to your first class. Your instructor likely told you to ease into your poses. Never push, but always let your body naturally ease you into anything difficult. When starting out with your young ones, stick to the basics. Teach them to slow down and hold some simple stretches and poses for at least 15 seconds. If this seems like an eternity for your child, start with holding poses for less time. You can also begin with some simple breathing exercises to calm them down and teach them to focus on the present.
Keep it Structured, But Encourage Exploration
While children often need a bit of structure, don’t be afraid to deviate from your initial training plan. Start with some simple sequences. If your child seems to take to one or two poses, allow them to focus on those for longer periods of time. The key to keeping a child engaged in anything is to never make them feel as if they have to do it.
Act as their guide on this journey, rather than a drill instructor. The only time you should be pushing back on them is if they are venturing into something that can get them hurt. Outside of that, encourage them to find their own style during their practice!
Make it Fun
Why do anything if it isn’t fun? Although this a great opportunity for you to bond with your child, remember that only they can decide if they want to keep going. All you can do is guide them and make the journey as fun and safe as possible for them.
Here are a few tips that can make yoga more fun for the kids:
- Accessorize: let them choose their own equipment. Your children will definitely have a great time choosing the colors of their Yoga mat towels, pads, blocks and more.
- Turn it into a game: you can turn their practice into a neat little game. Try a matching game like “guess the yoga pose” to help them learn new poses, or you can integrate a “yoga pose of the day.” This will help children focus on one new pose each day, allowing them to perfect it before moving on to another pose.
- Encourage them, but don’t overdo it: it’s great to reward them for reaching a new level of their practice, but try to avoid praising them for every successful pose.
Stay safe and have fun!