Yoga For Kids:
why is yoga good for small children?
Yoga is centuries old, but still relatively new in the United States. Only recently has funding been provided for studies in the U.S. to chart and evaluate the benefits of starting a yoga practice at a young age. Preliminary study findings suggest that yoga is helping kids in a big way. Yoga practice can provide a foundation of healthy lifestyle habits that a young child can carry into adulthood. Research is proving that children who practice yoga are more focused in school and better able to deal with stress. One parent told me that her three year-old when agitated would excuse herself from the dinner table and practice a few down dog poses to calm herself.
Yoga can increase flexibility, coordination, and concentration. It can also improve a child's balance and muscle strength, promote positive body awareness and good posture. Some other reasons why your child can benefit from yoga:
Yoga encourages deep belly breathing which ultimately helps your child relax and develops physical endurance.
Yoga is not competitive and is accessible to all children, as they are able to practice at their own level.
Yoga uses positive language, affirmations and visualization techniques, which over time can increase self-confidence and positively develop a child's self-image.
Practicing yoga a few times a week can help aid digestion because the movements promote healthy circulation and deep relaxation. This can also result in better quality sleep.
try these at home with your child
1. Elevator RideDownload Pose Instructions
Turn baby to face you and shift to sitting on you heels.
This is called Thunderbolt pose.
Slowly and evenly lift the baby up to the 5th floor and then go back down a little faster to the lobby.
Maintain eye contact with your baby. Only lift as high as you physically can. Do it 3 times.
ALIGNMENT: Sit tall with a straight back. SMILE!
If sitting like this hurts, put a rolled up blanket behind your knees when kneeling.
"Let's go on the ELEVATOR. We can ride to the top floor and then take the express all the way down."
"Going up 1-2-3-4, 5th floor please! And SWOOSH back to the ground floor."
2. Frisky DogDownload Pose Instructions
Lay baby so their head is at the top of The Little Yoga Mat and facing you.
Part 1: Exhale as you do down dog and bark!
Part 2: Inhale as you shift to Plank Pose and bubble your lips. Dog-Plank, Dog-Plank, Dog-Plank RUUUUUFFFFF-BBBBBBBBBB, etc. Do this 3 times.
Part 3: Rest in child's pose. Arms outstretched, with your face gently pressing into baby's belly and hum.
DOG ALIGNMENT: Be sure that your arms are straight, hips are high, and your heels are reaching for the floor.
PLANK ALIGNMENT: Remember to stack the bones! Wrists on top of elbows, elbows on top of shoulders.
Body is straight like a plank of wood and you are positioned directly over the baby: eye-to-eye.
"Doggie wants to play with you! RUUUUUFFFFF RUUUUUFFFFF Now he's coming closer to blow bubbles! BBBBBBBBBBBBBBB All done. Time to rest! HMMMMMMMMMM."
3. Double HeartDownload Pose Instructions
Sit cross-legged with baby seated on your lap facing out. Place their hands inside of your hands and create a double prayer pose in the center of their chest. Inhale Exhale as you say OMMMMM (Pronounced A-U-M)
ALIGNMENT: Sit with a straight back and open chest. If this is challenging place a small blanket under your seat.
"Hello baby! Let's get cozy and put our hands together to form a double heart. We will breathe into our hearts and send the love to everyone 3 times! Here we go! OMMMMM OMMMMM OMMMMM So much love!"
1. Fabulous Mr. FrogDownload Pose Instructions
"Let's go to the swamp. I want to cool off."
"You are now a frog and on the move for food. Ah Ha! A Lion. Do frogs eat Lions? NO."
"What do frogs eat? Worms or bugs or mosquitoes. I see some mosquitoes."
"Leap 3 times straight up into the air and see if you can catch a mosquito with your sticky tongue."
"Got it! SCORE!"
2. Chatty ButterflyDownload Pose Instructions
When talking on the phone have child pick up their foot and place it close to their ear.
"There are butterflies everywhere in the garden but you are the most beautiful butterfly of all! Show your colors! Take a seat with your knees bent and soles of feet touching. Hold your feet and flap your butterfly knees."
"BRRRRRRRRRRING BRRRRRRRRRRING Someone is calling your butterfly. Better pick up the foot phone and see who it is. Right foot please. "Hello? I'm doing yoga now. I'll call you later. Bye!" BRRRRRRRRIIIIING BRRRRRRRRIIIIING OH NO someone else is calling. Pick up your left foot phone and see who it is. "Catch you later! I'm busy!" Flap your wings and fly away now."
3. Lotus FlowerDownload Pose Instructions
Start in butterfly pose and take arms under both legs and lift feet off the floor. Hands in mudra pose (thumbs and first fingers touching to form a circle).
"Your butterfly has transformed overnight into a flower--a gorgeous lotus flower. You have 15 petals and you only grow in the mud. Emerge from the muddy swamp to show your splendor. Balance and shine in this pose."