Health > Keeping Fit > yoga >Child Yoga
Yoga develops many wonderful qualities in children. Beside the obvious benefits of exercising the physical body, both yoga and martial arts sharpen the child’s ability to focus, give self-confidence, and develop self-discipline. And yoga, practiced regularly, helps children become aware of themselves from the inside out. From this awareness, changes and growth in new and positive directions can blossom.
Child yoga benefits
A healthier body – Childhood obesity is on the rise and one of the main reasons for it is that kids today do not move enough. Yoga is a powerful technique for children to begin moving their bodies in ways that feel good and help them look good. Even if your child is of normal weight, yoga can help her become stronger, gain endurance and flexibility. If your child is involved in another sport, a regular yoga practice is a great cross training activity and it may help him reduce the risk of injuries.
The ability to control stress – Today's children are under enormous stress. They are often over scheduled, they face tough competition in school, they have to deal with peer pressure, and they are trying to find their way in the world. This combination can cause children to become stressed out. Yoga can help your child learn how to relax. When your child learns how to control her breathing and relax during her practice, she can then apply this to her world when she encounters challenging situations.
Increased self-esteem – Yoga is a non-competitive activity. Yet it does offer your child the ability to master challenging poses (especially as he gets older). Your child can feel good about his increasing ability without having to worry about how he compares to everyone else. This experience of success can help your child feel more confident in his ability to be successful in other things too.
Greater concentration – The breathing and inward focus that is a main component of any yoga practice can help your child learn to focus his mind more effectively. A number of studies have shown that many children who practice yoga, especially those with problems such as ADHD, are able to concentrate for longer periods of time.
Practicing yoga at home with your child
While child yoga classes are wonderful, they are often hard to find. Depending on where you live, you might not be able to find a place to take your child. Don't fret. There are a number of excellent videos and books that you can get which will help you become your child's yoga teacher.
- Find a spot in your home where you have room to move freely.
- Establish an atmosphere of fun.
- Put on the video and do the poses together, hopefully with lots of giggles sprinkled in.
- Pick out some poses from a book that you can do – have your child choose some of the them.
- When doing the relaxation exercise, talk your child through it by describing a warm, inviting place such as a quiet field near a bubbling brook with butterflies and singing birds. Use your imagination to create a safe and friendly space and help your child experience it in his imagination.
Child yoga is an enjoyable activity that can provide major benefits to your child. It will help her grow stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally – and she'll have a lot of fun too