Practice yoga with your youngins

August 28, 2014

If you're an avid yogi, it might be worth your while to get your kids in on the exercise. Yoga for children is a hot topic lately and experts believe that it can really benefit kids. According to Parents.com, children as young as 18 months can participate in modified yoga routines. It's certainly a fun way to exercise together!

Benefits of kids' yoga
Yoga teachers and doctors agree that practicing yoga poses can be beneficial to children in a number of ways. Yoga poses can be a good way to relax a frustrated child or to release extra energy before bedtime. Moms especially love this!

"A child's yoga practice is a rare opportunity to experience play and focus without worrying about being wrong," said Shana Meyerson, founder of Mini Yogis, in an interview with Parents.com.

Parents.com outlines five areas where children will experience benefits, including flexibility, balance, confidence, concentration and mental health. The physical benefits come from use of different muscles. Yoga poses often target a specific group of muscles that kids might not use that often. Through consistent practice, children will tone their muscles, increase flexibility and refine balance.

The mental benefits start with increased concentration and confidence. Practicing poses requires focus and determination. This concentration has been shown in numerous studies to translate into better school performance. Excelling in yoga also helps children to build their confidence. Mastering poses is no doubt challenging, and both you and your children will be proud of their accomplishment. Finally, yoga has been shown to be a mentally calming activity. Many adults use yoga to relieve stress, and children can experience similar benefits.

"Yoga functions as a release valve that alleviates pressure and as a foundation to nurture and develop a resilient and resourceful body, mind, and spirit," Alexandra De Collibus, founder of Sweet Pea Yoga studios, told Parents.com.

Practice these poses
Once you and your kids have learned the basic poses and breathing techniques, you can experiment with different routines to tone specific areas of the body. Here are a few fun, yet challenging, poses Popsugar recommends trying with your kids.

  • The Flamingo: Start standing up with your feet together, then bend forwards, extending one leg out behind you. Once you've established your center of balance, try to extend your arms out like wings and flap them! Repeat the pose while balancing on your other foot.
  • Tree Pose: From a normal standing position, lift one leg and place the sole of your foot on your inner thigh. You can either put your hands together above your head or sway them like branches. Make sure to switch feet.
  • Downward Dog: You're probably familiar with this classic pose, as it's a great way to strengthen your arms and stretch out your legs. Starting on your hands and knees, lift your backside into the air and form an inverted "v" with your body. Try to keep your legs as straight as you can. Don't forget to woof!
  • Bridge: This pose may be easier for kids than it is for you! Lay on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your palms next to your ears with your fingers pointing toward your shoulders. When you're ready, try to lift your hips up into the air.
  • The Sandwich: When you're winding down, the sandwich is a great way to stretch out muscles. Sit with both legs out in front of you and reach for your toes. Grab your heels, ankles or calves - whatever is comfortable - and feel the stretch!

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