THE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR KIDS
Contributing to the healthy improvement of mind, body and spirit, yoga’s origins can be traced as far back as the 4th century BC – the fact that it is still hugely popular today is testament to its practicality.
But what you may not know is that yoga isn’t just for adults. In fact, kids can derive some incredible benefits from child-friendly yoga sessions. There’s even a push to get yoga into the Australian school curriculum. Developing their physical, mental and spiritual attributes has never been more fun!
WHAT IS YOGA FOR KIDS?
Aside from modifying the more difficult poses and adding a splash of fun and games into the mix, there aren’t too many differences between yoga for adults and yoga for children. In fact, presenting yoga in a language that kids can relate to is an ideal way to help them relax, reduce their stress levels, strengthen their minds and bodies, and simply be ‘present’ for a small period of the day.
Many adults find yoga is the best way to cast off the stresses of the day – whether it’s the rigmarole of relentless office life or the non-stop pandemonium of wrangling their family – and while children tend to have fewer worries in their lives, the same is true for why yoga is a healthy activity. It feeds the mind, helps develop their growing bodies and ensures they are in a safe space where they can coexist and build relationships with other kids.
Every parent and caregiver wants children to participate in activities that help them exercise, connect with other children and play in a positive way – and that’s exactly what yoga for kids offers.
GOOD FOR THE BODY AND FOR THE MIND
Unlike a Pilates class or a session at the gym, many fans of yoga are drawn to its focus on not how it conditions their physical body, but how it helps them develop their mind and sharpen their emotional intelligence.
Yes, yoga classes for children are built around their gross motor development, but it’s also about focus and concentration. This is achieved through conscious breathing exercises, meditation, creating awareness of their bodies, promoting stillness and quieting their minds, and of course play.
With kids yoga, that play is explored through more than just the static poses – there are games, stories, music, visualisation and moments of pure relaxation.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL KIDS’ YOGA CLASS LOOK LIKE?
Here’s a good example of what an average yoga class for kids might look like. It’s a positive environment where the instructor or caregiver is frequently reinforcing how well the kids are doing. Whether the poses are traditional or modified, it’s more about being in the moment than what they are actually doing with their bodies.
And because kids are notorious for their short attention spans, adult-style yoga simply won’t cut it. That’s why poses are interspersed with other types of play, as well as relaxing music, mediation minutes, game time, and moments where the children are asked to simply close their eyes and visualise what’s happening in different parts of their bodies, which helps build better concentration and understanding of themselves.
BIGGEST BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR KIDS
It’s difficult to quantify just how many benefits there are for kids who participate in yoga classes, however some of the most valuable skills they will acquire can be split into the physical benefits and the social, emotional and cognitive benefits:
Helps build core strength (healthy posture)
Focuses on better flexibility and mobility
Improves balance and coordination
Ensures greater awareness of their senses (they start to notice what’s going on inside their bodies)
Reduces stress to help strengthen their immune system
Social, emotional and cognitive benefits
Allows kids to use their strength and skills in a non-competitive setting
Breathing techniques help them manage anxiety in other parts of their lives
Aids healthier sleeping patterns by teaching them how to relax their bodies and extend their breathing
Boosts relationships with other participants (i.e. children in their class)
Increases their confidence through more positive self-image
With such a variety of benefits, it’s no wonder the popularity of kids’ yoga classes is surging.
Heritage House isn’t your average provider of early learning – we are focused on helping your child develop their ‘whole self’. That means creating an environment where they can truly thrive. From physical development to emotional strength and social competencies, we deliver a holistic education that guides children towards a healthy future – and yoga is just one piece of the puzzle.