Yoga for Kids: Child-friendly Routine & their Benefits9 minute
In recent years, yoga has become quite popular with adults, pregnant women and the elderly. While these age-groups are fully invested in accessing and integrating the mind, body and spirit, there’s a new study which reveals that yoga can be as beneficial for children as it is for adults. It can help them counter school pressures, loneliness, technology stress, health issues and most importantly help them build a stronger immune system. It’s been over a year since children have been away from school. They’re not just struggling between their online classes but are also restricted from outdoor activities. There is no better time than now to incorporate a yoga routine in your child’s life. Teaching them young helps them develop self-esteem and enhances body awareness.
Yoga for kids doesn’t have to be stressful. Just thirty minutes of practicing yoga asanas per day can help them relax, rejuvenate, and enhance their overall mood and well-being. As an adult, if you practice yoga every day, get your child to join you. Don’t expect flexibility and coordination initially. Start with baby steps and simple poses. These days, there are a lot of yoga studios too that offer classes for toddlers and school-aged children. As a parent, it is a decision you have to make whether you want to train your child yourself or enrol them in an online class.
How to Introduce Your Child to Yoga?
This International Yoga Day, we’re here to bring you tried-and-tested tips that will help you incorporate yoga into your child’s life.
- Practice Openly
The best way to teach children is by example. If you practice yoga regularly, do so in an open space such as a living room or balcony where your child can watch you. When they see you move your body in certain ways, they too may be inspired to imitate you. You could also let them know that there is extra space next to you in case they wish to join you. As a parent, don’t impose yoga on your child. Let them know that they can join you whenever they want. When they’re ready, they will only reach out to you.
- Get them their very own Yoga Mat
A yoga mat is an important part of every practice. Get your child their own mat. It doesn’t have to be plain and boring like the adult mats. Make it fun for them. Try and find them a mat which has their favourite cartoon character on it. Remember, the mat should be colourful and inviting. When you create their own special yoga space, they might be more enthusiastic to practice with you every day. Check out this Kids Cartoon Printed Reversible Yoga Mat.
- Make it Fun
Yoga for toddlers and school-aged children is completely different from adult yoga. As a parent, your goal is to make it a fun routine rather than a monotonous one. You could use easy yoga poses and pretend to be their favourite animal, aeroplane, superhero or anything they like. Make it fun for them as much as possible. You could even give every asana a unique name. Sky’s the limit. Use phrases such as “crawl like a tiger”, “walk like a bear” or “stretch like a giraffe” to make the yoga practice fun.
- Feed their Curiosity
Children love asking questions. As you begin your yoga practice with them, they’re likely to have a host of questions in their creative minds. Instead of brushing them off, feed their curiosity. Ask them how yoga makes them feel and what their favourite pose is. Nourish these moments and they’ll definitely be more excited about yoga than you are.
Benefits of Yoga for Kids
Now that you know how to introduce yoga into your child’s life, here are a few benefits they will experience along the way:
- Helps Manage Stress & Anxiety
Just as yoga helps adults with stress management, it helps kids too. After a long day of online classes, get your child to do breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. Just like any other fitness activity, yoga too makes the body release certain endorphins which will help them get rid of negative emotions, stress and anxiety.
- Enhances Focus & Concentration
With the entire country reeling under the effects of the pandemic, kids too are affected by it. They miss going to school and playing with their friends. This is further taking a toll on their concentration and they tend to get distracted easily. The best way to get children to focus and improve their concentration is by incorporating a guided yoga routine in their lives. Teach them how to focus on every pose, every limb and hand movement and every breath as they perform yoga. This will help them understand their bodies better and they will feel more active and present in their everyday lives.
- Supports Positive Mental Health
Since yoga calms little minds, children are more likely to be aware of their innate capabilities. They will feel more optimistic towards life and are less likely to experience depression, anxiety and any other mental-health issues which are prevalent in most kids today. Also, since yoga is a non-competitive practice, children are less likely to feel trapped in a rat-race. They will also understand that every body is different and thus they will feel more encouraged to learn at their own pace.
Easy & Effective Yoga Routine for Kids
If you’ve decided to start teaching your child yoga at a young age, it is important to create an easy and effective routine for them. Yoga for beginners usually involves basic poses, body postures, breathing exercises and meditation. Remember, yoga for kids and adults is different. The first rule is to find child-friendly yoga asanas.
We’re here to help you out with an easy yoga routine for your child that can be practiced at any time of the day.
Let’s get started!
- Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Vrksasana is all about standing tall and maintaining balance like a tree. This yoga pose is ideal to achieve stability in the legs and strengthen thigh muscles. It also improves balance and concentration.
Step your feet together and stand straight. Lift the right foot with the knee out. Now, place the foot on the inner thigh or in a position which feels comfortable. Your hands should be above your head in a namaste. Hold the position for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Dhanurasana is known to regulate the digestive system and strengthen the back, chest and shoulders. Since it gives maximum stretch to the abdomen and abdominal sides, it helps in toning the overall body shape too.
Lie flat on your stomach with arms stretched along the sides of the body. Next, bend the knees bringing the feet towards the hips. Grasp the ankles using both hands and lift your torso and shoulders off the floor. The posture is effective when held for three to four breaths.
- Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Chair pose works on the ankles and thigh muscles. It is an ideal yoga asana for anyone who has digestive issues. It also aids in heart functioning. It is believed to be one of the most constructive yoga poses.
Start by inhaling and raising your arms above the head. Bend the knees forwards and exhale. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor with your knees projected out slightly. Lift your arms and stretch them straight. Pretend like you’re sitting on a chair. Keep the gaze forward. Hold this posture for as long as you feel comfortable.
- Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
Padmasana is a cross-legged yoga position that is often used for meditation. It can calm the mild and alleviate various physical ailments. If you want your child to develop a good posture, make them do padmasana every day. It is also known to ease menstrual discomfort and digestive tract issues.
Sit on the floor cross-legged. Place your right foot on your left hip so that it touches the thigh bone. Similarly, place your left foot on the right hip. Your legs should appear as if they are bound. Allow your knees to drop on the floor and keep your spine straight. Place your hands on your knees by bringing the tips of your thumb and index finger together while straightening out the other fingers.
- Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Kids love baddha konasana as it makes them flutter like a graceful butterfly. It is a good stretch for anyone who has lower back problems. It also eases menstrual discomfort in girls and prevents any kind of gastric issues.
Sit with your spine upright and your legs stretched out straight. Fold your legs in a way that ensures your feet are touching each other. Hold them with both your hands. Inhale and exhale, and gently flap your thighs and knees like the wings of a butterfly. Flap slowly but pick-up speed once you get the hang of it. Breathe at a normal pace.
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Bhujangasana is the best yoga pose to strengthen the spine. After a long, tiring day, bhujangasana can release stress and fatigue. It is also known to relieve breathing problems and promote a sturdy back.
Lie face down with your feet flat on the floor and palms on either side of your body. Pull your shoulders slightly towards the spine and lift your body like a cobra. Keep your hands pressed on the mat. However, do not put unnecessary pressure. This position is effective when held for a good 30-45 seconds. Get your child to practice cobra pose every morning and see visible benefits.
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Child’s pose is the perfect yoga pose for beginners. It is a great stretch for the hips, thighs and ankles. If your child is experiencing heightened stress, anxiety or fatigue, make them do the child’s pose. It also relaxes the muscles.
Kneel on the floor with your toes together and your knees slightly apart. Lower your torso between your knees and extend your arms with your palms facing down. Put your head on the ground. Rest in this pose till your back feels a comfortable stretch. However, do not strain yourself.
- Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Ensure your child ends their yoga practice with savasana. Though this yoga pose looks effortless, it can be challenging as it requires utmost patience. This yoga pose is usually the last asana of every routine. It brings down the heart rate, reduces anxiety and stress and improves concentration.
The pose is simple as it involves lying on your back with legs straight and arms stretched along the body. Keep your eyes closed and palms faced upwards. Inhale and exhale slowly while concentrating on every body part.
As they say “yoga se hi hoga”. Encourage your little one to practice yoga with you every day. It can significantly improve their physical, emotional and social well-being. Once they start enjoying it, you can even try out partner yoga exercises.
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