Everyone can practice yoga, you are never too young or too old!
Research has shown that yoga can benefit children in various ways and if practiced can make them calmer, more focused and have better concentration. What parent or teacher doesn’t want that!?
If you are thinking this sounds like a great idea but don’t know where to begin, just be creative and go with the flow and children are bound to enjoy it!
To get them involved in yoga however it must be fun and exciting. Here are a few ideas for teaching children yoga…
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How to introduce yoga:
- Make it part of a game.
- Encourage them and show them the postures
- Focus on breathing
Children learn through playing so just having fun is the most important aspect with yoga for children! If you are active and show them the postures they will soon join in and start playing around.
What postures shall I teach them:
[Side Note: Make sure you slowly introduce these postures and hold each for one – two minutes to keep there focus. Holding them for any longer they will get bored and loose concentration]
The Flower Pose (Lotus Blossom)
This is one of my favourite postures and children will absolutely love pretending to be flowers. Simple, easy and children should focus on balancing with the feet off the ground.
Sea Lion (Upward Facing Dog)
Upward facing dog looks a lot like a Sea Lion and can be practised to help strengthen the arms and wrists, work the back muscles and open the heart. They will love pretending to be on the beach as Sea Lions.
Tree, Flamingo, Cactus (Tree)
The tree posture is so much fun for children, you can pretend that you are swaying in the wind in a forest full of lots of different trees (the children). You can try and get them to close there eyes and see if they can hold the balance.
With these postures remember it is about having fun. You could even add an timer so after each two minutes they know its time to move on to the next posture. Perhaps use a story book and take them on a journey using all the different postures.
These are just three simple ideas for postures but pretty much any yoga asana can be used if you are creative and come up with a story behind each one.
A great way of getting children to focus on their breath is by visualising. For example, sitting down in a comfortable cross legged position get the children to imagine holding a flower in one hand and a candle in the other. Then get them to look at the flower and take a deep inhale as you slowly imagine the flower grow! Then look at the candle in the other hand and take a long, deep exhale imagining that you are blowing out a candle. Imagining that they are physically changing something with their breath helps them to focus and concentrate, whilst still having fun and being playful!
How can practicing yoga benefit children:
- It is noncompetitive – It teaches them about learning at their own pace and exploring their own bodies and how everything works… how they can stretch, fold, focus, bend, balance and breathe.
- It relaxes and calms – Yoga breathing exercises help control feelings and help to handle frustrations in their everyday lives; helping them to think before taking action. Helps them then to control emotions, negative feelings such as revenge and jealousy.
- Team Work – All the children will be watching the teacher and learning together so they will grasp the ability to work in a team environment. You could even can teach them how to support each in other in the postures.
- Improves their focus – Focusing on the postures encourages them to make greater efforts at focusing and balancing which then exercises the mind. This lays the foundation for concentrating. Supporting children to do better at school, such as being attentive in the classroom finishing homework etc.
- Helps them to become Self Aware- Self-aware of personality, thoughts, beliefs, motivations and strengths. Which will in turn give them confidence.
It also strengthens and keeps children healthy! If practicing yoga can improve and boost healthy living in children I belief it should be practised every day in pre-school, primary school, nursery and so on.
Overall it promotes better breathing and relaxation to calm and restore the body. It helps them towards better preparation for later school life and later life in general. It helps them to be calmer and more able to concentrate and focus.
Everyone should practice yoga with the amount of benefits it brings to us, even children.
There are places all over that teach yoga for children. In London the classes at Triyoga sound great and if you don’t live in London, Yogabugs offer fun and interactive classes and teach all over the UK.
Hope you liked this post, leave a comment if you have ever tired yoga with children or are thinking it sounds like a great idea!