Have you thought about taking your children to a Kids yoga class? Kids can be overbooked with activities, but this is one I think you should make time for.
A well-planned yoga class for kids will be able to teach them the Eight Limbs of Yoga in an engaging way. A Kids yoga class includes yoga songs, yoga games, yoga poses, and so much more. A creatively sequenced class keeps kids involved and teaches them to release stress, listen, to have fun while exercising, and to work well together.
I myself teach adults yoga, and I also teach kids yoga. I love teaching yoga for kids because it is fun, it is silly, we laugh, we learn, and it is a nice departure from a serious meditation class or a hardcore adult Vinyasa session. Ultimately, I am hoping to be creating happy, healthy children.
Here are five health benefits of yoga for kids:
1. Improved Balance
Little yogis struggle very much with balance poses, like Tree Pose. This is in part, because they are learning the skill of proprioception, which means they are learning to know where their body is in space.
Improving balance is going to help with activities like walking, running, and learning to ride a bike.
2. Improved Core Strength
A flowing sequence like a Sun Salutation (which in my schooling on Kids yoga, we call Sergeant Salutations, making it a call and response game) helps kids to increase core muscle strength.
Holding Plank Pose without a belly dip is hard for all of us, especially the younger yogis. Little yogis with stronger cores are going to develop better posture as they grow and be more balanced in activities.
3. Growth of the Brain
Anytime we try to learn and do something new, whether that be yoga or ballet, our brain makes new neuronal connections. That goes for adults too.
Think about all the new things a child learns in yoga class; poses, listening skills, new yoga terms (possibly in Sanskrit), mediation, or breathing exercises. That’s a lot of new connections.
4. Calm and Center Themselves
We all get upset. We all fly off the handle sometimes. Yoga can teach little yogis how to deal with these tense moments off the mat by teaching them what a kids yoga mediation is all about, or how to breathe deeply.
After we do a pranayama breathing activity or a meditation, I always ask my students how and when they can incorporate this at home. Those reasons are usually spot on or very funny because of how interesting they are.
5. Yoga Improves Happiness
Yes, your kids will be happy when they are in yoga class. What I am suggesting is that yoga improves happiness overall. Or more correctly, it has been proven to decrease depressive tendencies.
The scientific details are involved, but overall, yoga produces more GABA, a molecule in the brain that blocks the activity of other molecules known to be involved in depression. Resiliency in the face of life’s curve balls may be a result of living in a happier state.
If you’re interested in taking your kids to a yoga class, look for classes like “family yoga” at your nearby spot.
If teaching kids the practice of yoga is calling your name, look for a program; a lot of trainings happen throughout a 3-day weekend, and you don't have to be a registered yoga teacher to get trained in Kids yoga.