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The health benefits of yoga for kids of all ages

When children practise yoga, they are essentially training their capacity to focus on the subject at hand.

Did you know that a growing body of research has shown that yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and classroom behaviour and even reduce children’s anxiety and stress?

With so many benefits, it makes sense then, that parents would want to encourage their children to do yoga – either as a hobby or as a daily de-stress activity.

What is yoga?

Originating in India, yoga (meaning union or yoke) is the practice of accessing and integrating all aspects of our true nature – body, mind, and spirit – in the pursuit of inner harmony.

Various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.

While some yoga poses are more suited to adults, several more poses are easy for children to do, too.

Why yoga for kids?

Yoga is not just for adults! In fact, it can give children critical life skills that can help them succeed in the world.

  • Yoga aids youngsters in anxiety management. The breathing exercises and relaxation techniques gained from yoga can assist children in managing stress.
  • Yoga helps emotional regulation in children. It teaches them to remain in the present moment while relaxing and achieving a serene frame of mind, so improving their emotional regulation.
  • Yoga can do wonders for children’s self-esteem. Young children might gain personal strength by perfecting a pose or enhancing their balance and flexibility.
  • Yoga enhances body awareness and mindfulness. Children learn about their bodies and the movements they are capable of by performing various yoga positions.
  • Yoga improves concentration and memory in children. One of the most significant advantages of kids’ yoga is that the varied poses require children to concentrate and work on their memorisation skills, which can transfer to improved academic success.
  • Yoga increases the strength and flexibility of children. Yoga strengthens children’s growing bodies and improves their flexibility, hence decreasing their risk of injury.
  • Yoga teaches self-control and decreases impulsivity. Yoga can minimise disruptive classroom conduct by offering a physical outlet for children’s expression. As they struggle to clear their thoughts and perfect their poses, yoga also teaches children about discipline.
  • Yoga appears to be a promising way to assist with weight loss and management in children who are overweight or obese.

How to get your child excited about yoga

Tamsin Putter, a certified yoga instructor who teaches yoga and is the founder of Yogafull, recommends making yoga playful and fun for kids in the classroom or at home. In her yoga classes, Tamsin weaves in fun games and stories with positive themes like compassion, gratitude, and strength.

“Many kids nowadays battle with extra pressures at school and online that adults didn’t have to deal with back in the day. Yoga can bring them a certain sense of calm and assists in grounding kids, bringing them back to the present moment by helping them focus on their breath and giving them a break from the hours of screen time they endure,” says Tamsin.

“The joy and peace yoga can bring into a child’s life is extremely beneficial; all children could reap the rewards. Moving the body into various poses helps kids focus on what they are doing in the present moment and brings a sense of stillness. It can also be great fun trying to get your body into different shapes while laughing and releasing endorphins. Practising various pranayama (breathing techniques) also helps centre children and teaches them to be quiet and to focus on their breath. This is a valuable tool they can use in the future when they find themselves in stressful situations. It is important to teach children from a young age how to deal with the pressures of life, and yoga can healthily imbue that sense of calm.”

Yoga brings children peace in a fast-paced world

Tamsin continues to say that it is challenging to define in words how much yoga can improve our sense of wellbeing.

“I can only speak from personal experience as a plus-size yoga instructor and say that I wish I could have found yoga when I was a child. Yoga has the most incredible way of teaching us to love and appreciate our bodies; it shows us our strengths and weaknesses and allows us to improve from a place of love. It can drastically improve your self-esteem as you patiently practise the poses and feel yourself getting stronger. It will give them a certain sense of pride and confidence when they finally start achieving the poses they have been practising.”

The health benefits of yoga for kids of all ages
Tamsin Putter, a certified yoga instructor, demonstrates the child-friendly half lotus pose (Ardha Padmasana).

What yoga poses are suitable for kids?

Here is a list of 10 great yoga poses for kids to do:

  1. Easy sitting pose (Sukhasana)
  2. Child’s pose (Balasana)
  3. Half-lotus pose (Ardha Padmasana)
  4. Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
  5. Wide-angle seated forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)
  6. Seated forward fold (Paschimottanasana)
  7. Butterfly pose (Baddha Konasana)
  8. Tree pose (Vrksasana)
  9. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
  10. Corpse pose (Savasana)

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