Give your kids the gift of flexibility, focus, mindfulness, and overall health by making yoga part of their regular routine.
If you’ve practiced yoga, you know the awesome feeling of being centered, relaxed and one with your body and mind after your asanas. Kids of all ages can also benefit from this experience as their lives are busier than ever with demanding school work, a multitude of extracurricular activities, and over-scheduled social calendars. In particular, the physical stress of competitive sports can be taxing on growing children’s bodies. Yoga can increase a child’s flexibility and thereby reduce potential injuries.
Various studies and books have reported wide-ranging benefits of yoga for kids, including:
- Development of gross motor skills along with strength, agility, endurance and cooperation (Ref – Tummers);
- Improved mood and reduction of tension or anxiety (Ref – W0lters Kluwer);
- Opportunity for self-discovery leading to more self-acceptance, which is especially important during adolescent period (Ref – Henningsen.; Ref – Henningsen);
- “Improved on-task time and attention as well as reduced symptoms” for students in primary grades with ADHD (Ref – Henningsen);
- “Increased long-term emotional balance, reduced fears and decreased feelings of helplessness and aggression.” (Ref – Stueck & Gloeckner)
Yoga Gone Mainstream
As research demonstrates the value of yoga for kids, and as adults witness the improvements, we find more venues for yoga practices for kids. We now have more studios offering classes exclusively for kids, more schools making yoga part of the core physical education curriculum, and more at-home products like DVDs and YouTube videos designed specifically for kids.
As described by Marsha Wenig in her article titled, “Yoga For Kids,” practicing yoga with kids can be a different experience. Wenig integrated music, storytelling, animal adaptations, drawing and other actions into kids’ yoga to captivate their attention and help them express their creativity.
Just like there are different styles of yoga that are practiced for different purposes, yoga for kids may be adapted based on the age group and needs of the kids. Most importantly, establish a regular yoga routine for kids as this ongoing commitment will yield the greatest long-term benefits.
5 Easy Yoga Poses for Kids
Help your kids get started their yoga practice with these 5 easy poses:
Cat Cow Pose
Visit NamasteKid or About.com for more poses with instructions.
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