By: Kylie Smillie
By now, most of us are all well-versed in the benefits of yoga for adults, but did you know that children could also benefit from a little Namaste time of their own?! According to yogi experts, practicing yoga with your little ones can help improve things like sleep (which is precious to all you parents out there), as well as help relieve constipation, colic, and gas.
Aside from the obvious physical benefits of enhanced flexibility and strength, becoming a child yogi has also been shown to facilitate mental benefits. Anyone who has taken a yoga class knows the importance of inner focus with particular attention on linking breathing to movement. When we encourage children to follow our lead and flow through some Asanas (that’s yoga poses to you and me!), we are providing them with a chance to hone in on their ability to concentrate and focus on the task at hand… a skill that many argue translates to improved focus and academic achievement at school.
As the importance of mental health and ‘self-care’ becomes more prevalent in today’s society, teaching children mindfulness has become a very popular topic. Unlike adults, who are well versed in how to adapt to stress (albeit some more than others), children are still learning how to handle stress and manage their emotions. Yogis say that perhaps the most important benefit of practicing yoga with our mini-me, is the relief of stress and anxiety, as well as relaxation (which hopefully aids the ever elusive sleep!) that it provides.
So with all that in mind, try and channel your inner guru and give yoga a go with your little ones to aid their development and provide you with the chance to get on your mat and feel the benefits! If you are tech savvy and well versed in the world of Zoom or FaceTime, why not make it a social activity by arranging a yoga session for your child and their friends (provided you have a willing adult to lead the chaos)?! Of course, you could always schedule a virtual session with one of our nannies and give yourself a much needed break!
Check out this instructional yoga video below that I’ve created to help guide you!
Don’t feel like you need to be a yoga instructor to follow along with the video above. If you have been practicing yourself and feel comfortable flowing through some sequences that you could easily adapt for children, then you are more than equipped. Children respond well to mirroring their adult counterparts and for younger ones often transitioning into an inversion posture such as Downward Dog can be made into a game of peekaboo looking at them upside down! Just keep in mind that some Asanas (poses) like Downward-Facing Dog will not be possible for baby until at least 6-10 months old due to the strength required to support themselves. Check out these 6 easy poses for kids to do! Try and keep sessions short, lets face it attention spans are not their biggest strength in the early years. Another way to make it fun and more engaging is to consider changing the names of poses to animals or something your mini-me has a particular interest in (Harry Potter themed yoga anyone?!)
Yoga is a fun activity that does not have to be competitive between children and in our current quarantine world, providing social interaction between children as well as a distraction for other parents to enjoy some ‘me time’ is bound to score you serious brownie points! Just make sure to trade off the responsible adult part so you also get some ever-important time to yourself!