I’ve been doing yoga for a long time now, and as soon as I started, I was immediately hooked! I love the fact that it increases flexibility, builds strength, tones the body, and has an amazing ability to help calm the mind and reduce stress. Yoga was one of the things I did while healing from cancer in 2011, and I can definitely say that it had an absolutely huge impact on my recovery. I so strongly believe in the power of yoga to help heal and restore the body that even today I try and practice it daily, even if just for a few minutes.
That’s why I was so excited when my niece Steely finally got to an age where she was curious about yoga when she saw me doing it, and wanted to try it. I knew there had to be benefits of kids learning yoga, and I loved the idea that it was something she could do with her aunty!
After doing a little research on the Huffington Post, it appears that there are a lot of benefits of yoga for children! Yoga has been known to help children learn to breathe through emotions, calm themselves and learn to focus better. It can also help with self-esteem, self-respect, mindfulness and mind / body connection and patience. Basically, all the same benefits adults get from yoga, kids can totally glean from it too.
Now, I’m not a parent, but I do get to spend a lot of time with sister’s three amazing kids — And I have spent enough time around them to know that the little ones don’t have the longest attention spans. I knew that my big challenge was going to be getting Steely to focus long enough to actually gain some benefit from yoga.
Through some trial and error, I eventually figured out how to approach teaching yoga to a child — And once we found our flow (no pun intended), Steely was really into it! Here is how we got into it, and made it fun:
• Chose a good time of day to practice — You may want to avoid jumping into yoga when kids are less likely to want to focus. I would wait until Steely was calm and was in the mood to spend time with me.
• Keep it simple and start slow — Choose a few different and simple poses along with breathing techniques to master before moving on to others. Steely got so excited about learning downward dog that she started practicing it all the time!
• Tell a story and lead by example — Kids are very visual and have big imaginations. Pick poses that they can relate to, and make sure you are demonstrating the entire time. It should be a fun thing to practice together!
• Make it special — Yoga is something l that Steely and I do together — And I make sure to make her feel like it’s our special thing that she and I share. Making it something special that she and I can bond over, gets her really excited about it!
• Have fun — Remember that this should be enjoyable and a bonding activity, don’t take it too seriously or make it something that they feel they are doing right or wrong. The whole goal of yoga is to leave feeling better than when you started.
I hope you guys enjoy trying yoga with your kidlets! It has been such a fun bonding experience for my niece and I, and I highly recommend that all the other parents and aunties out there try it! If you have any other tips for practicing yoga with kids, please let me know!
The Sweet Life By Brittany + Cynthia Daniel