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If you practice yoga yourself, you no doubt know the many benefits of doing yoga on a regular basis. Getting young kids into yoga is a great way to help them relax and release some of their pent-up energy. When it comes to encouraging your children to learn more about yoga, there are certain things to consider. Keep reading as we share some of our top tips for getting kids into yoga and making the practice fun and accessible for them.
Show Them Your Practice
While you could easily send your children to a local yoga class for kids, you’ll find that the best way to introduce them to yoga early on is by showing them your practice. This is ideal for busy parents who don’t have time to add another activity to their schedule. Yoga isn’t something that needs to be reserved for a private space and can instead be practiced in your living room. By allowing your children to watch you practice, they’ll be excited to learn some of the poses you are doing and will start copying you in no time at all.
Start With Basic Postures
Don’t expect young children to be following a similar practice to adults, as even sun salutations might be beyond what they are capable of at a young age. Instead, focus on simple postures that they’ll be able to copy. One of the best ways to introduce your kids to yoga is through the use of chanting and mantras. This will help your children to concentrate on the practice without forcing them to sit in silence which may be uncomfortable for them. Get them to recite uplifting mantras that you may have learned in your yoga classes, which can also increase feelings of gratitude.
Focus on Breathing
Breathing is one of the most important parts of yoga for practitioners of all ages, and it’s something that children will greatly benefit from. By teaching them diaphragmatic breathing and breath awareness, you’ll help to keep them calmer, improve focus, and reduce anxiety. Start and end each short yoga session with your kids with a few minutes of breathing. They’ll be able to take this practice into their daily life in the future, and if they are ever feeling anxious before a big test at school, it will help to calm them down.
Learn Postures with Animal Names
By making yoga fun for kids, they’ll be much more likely to stick with the practice in the future. We encourage you to make sequences that focus on poses with animal names, as these will be much more likely to stay in your children’s minds between sessions. Easy postures to teach young children include cat and cow, butterfly, and downward facing dog. You can get them to make the noise of the animal to help them remember the name of the pose and to make the session more interactive and fun for you all.
Make Yoga Fun
Yoga doesn’t have to be serious all the time, and that’s something we should always encourage children to remember. Make your sessions entertaining and spontaneous, and don’t force your kids to follow you through a long series of sun salutations. Let children play as they would with other activities such as dance and gym, and allow them to explore what their bodies are capable of. A great way to make your sessions more interactive is by making a story out of the poses. Link together different postures into a fun story that your kids will enjoy listening to.
Limit the Length of the Sessions
Until your children hit their teenage years, we recommend keeping each yoga session short and sweet. The longer you make the session, the more likely your kids will lose focus and interest, which might put them off yoga altogether. For the youngest kids, stick to just ten to fifteen minutes and a few postures each session. When kids hit the age of about seven, you can introduce more of a sequence to the practice and start teaching them the basics of sun salutations. In their teenage years, you’ll find that keen yogis will be happy to complete a full class and might be excited to join in sessions that are primarily run for adults. Only you know how long your child can focus for, so keep this in mind when planning a short yoga session for your family.
Create Yoga Challenges
If you’ve looked at yoga accounts on Instagram, you’ll know there are some great challenges out there to test yogis with new postures. A great way to keep kids engaged in a short daily practice is with a challenge. Focus on one pose each day for the month, and take photos or videos of your kids to show them how they look when they are practicing. This challenge will help them to develop a more consistent practice, which is what we should always be aiming for when teaching kids about yoga.
Find Classes for Kids
For busy parents or anyone who doesn’t feel up to the challenge of teaching kids yoga, look out for kid-friendly classes in your local area. Even toddlers can enjoy classes with their parents, which will help to introduce kids from a young age to the practice. You’ll find there are many passionate yoga teachers who love working with young kids and sharing the joy that yoga can bring to their life no matter their age.
Yoga is an incredible practice for people of all ages, and it’s never too early to start teaching your child more about yoga. By following these tips listed above, you can make yoga fun and accessible for even the youngest of children. You’ll find that your child’s focus, concentration, and mood are improved after each session, as well as offering them a new way to exercise. We hope you love sharing yoga with your kids in the future and that you’ll enjoy this new way to spend time together as a family.