Life can be stressful. While we juggle with the daily demands, it is important to realize that even our children can feel overwhelmed by external pressures, home, school-life or friends. Sometimes children pick up on our own anxieties even if they are not fully aware of any situation. Introducing your child to a regular yoga practice can be greatly beneficial; irrespective of whether sport and fitness is favored, yoga is a unique practice that children can really love. In fact, it can set a precedent to how they look, feel and cope for the rest of their lives. Yoga is known to help the individual counter the pressures of life, helping to keep a balanced approach day to day. What better gift can you give to your child than that?
Introducing yoga to children.
The trick is to keep your child engaged and to make it fun. Use nature for inspiration here and introduce postures that mimic animals so that your child can have fun with emulating nature within each posture. Whether you practice with just your own children, or you include their friends, it is good to remember that yoga is non-competitive, so they are not trying stretch beyond their natural capabilities. Imbibe in your child that the power lies in the stretch, holding it and allowing it to elongate their body. The more children can visualize this stretching and elongating benefit, the greater their capacity for embracing this age old practice.
Yoga for children does not mean practicing so hard and often that it becomes a chore either. Yes, it can be a learning tool – teaching them about anatomy and the benefits of good nutrition but the most important benefit is how yoga helps them to be comfortable in their own skin and to feel centered. If you are teaching children, allow your own inner child to emerge. Have fun with it. Your own yoga practice might be a little more serious and something you feel passionate about, but children learn far more readily if they are having fun.
Postures for children:
- Cobra – this is an excellent pose for keeping and increasing suppleness in the spine. Opens up the chest and is great for the lungs helping to combat asthma. Indulge in a little bit of hissing to mimic the snake stretching up. Children will love it.
- Cat Posture – This wonderful stretch to the spine has so many benefits including stretching and tone the inner organs, but children love emulating the movements of a cat and making cat noises.
- Downward Dog – is another pose that children seem to naturally adapt to. Their hamstrings tend to be flexible when young, and downward dog can keep them that way.
- Frog Pose – Another fun posture that children really enjoy with wonderful benefits to tone and strengthen legs.
- Rabbit Pose – stretches out the hips, shoulders, and chest but also helps to eliminate stress and anxieties.
Once the children have mastered the basic postures, help them to work on their alignment and breathing but always ensure that they really enjoy the movements. By teaching them all about the benefits of yoga while they are young, you are creating the foundations of health and well-being that may well last them all of their lives.