Children need to move and yoga is a great way to develop a healthy body and mind. It is important to have fun when planning a yoga session with children because they learn best through play! The main thing you need is space. Yoga mats are a bonus, but carpet or grass will do just as good. You can play calm and relaxing music as well to set the mood.
Practicing yoga poses reduces tension and stress in the body. Breathing during poses also helps create a calm and focused mind, which helps children in every aspect including school and relating in social situations. Children develop their physical skills, which helps them gain self-confidence.
To start ask children “what do you like about yoga?”. Other questions can include “what is yoga for?” We want to remind them throughout the yoga practice to develop three things: balance, strength, and flexibility. They can also repeat after you in a pose “I am bright” “I am balanced” “I am strong” “I am kind” “I am me”.
The goal of yoga is peace. You can also choose to explain a goal based on your family’s individual needs and values. When doing a pose you can ask “What are we getting better at with this pose?” they can answer for example “flexibility!” children like this game-like question. This helps to give life skills that they can use throughout their lives.
Enjoy a playful and imaginative yoga class. They love less talk/lecture and more follow along with the adult teacher. Use lots of animals, animal sounds and animal movements. For example, in cobra pose show about how snakes rise up and make hissing sounds. For cat and cow, they can make the corresponding animal sounds like “meow” and “moo”.
Younger children respond well to the downward dog “doggy pose” and “walking the dog” which is when you peddle the feet rhythmically, bending the knees alternately. Follow walking the dog with half splits dog.
How to connect yoga and wellbeing for children?
Demonstrate purposeful breathing perform a pose. For example, use language out loud like “breath in/inhale” and always follow this with “breath out/ exhale”. Kids easily learn how to breathe while moving by following your lead on this topic. Yoga teaches us to skillfully breathe to improve our health, reduce stress, improve concentration, and increase a sense of well-being.
Teach children to focus on positive coping skills. An easy positive coping skill to teach children is to reflect on things we are grateful for. This helps access a state of mind that is grateful and thus healthy and gives them an alternative to focusing on things that are missing in their lives. At the end of yoga practice while in a seated pose like an easy pose or half lotus pose, ask “What are you grateful for today?”
End with “We need to listen to what our body is telling us, pay attention when you’re hungry when you’re tired so that we can take care of ourselves.
Teaching our kids wellbeing methods like yoga is absolutely invaluable! Make it fun and you can also allow kids to wear their favorite yoga outfit and truly express themselves and their style.