What after school activities are your kids signed up for this term? Soccer, basketball, gymnastics? Have you thought about trying yoga?
Yoga and mindfulness are not just for grown-ups. Yoga is a fun and healthy activity for kids that comes with a host of benefits from building strength to reducing anxiety and aiding sleep, and best of all, Kids Yoga is FUN!
Here are 10 awesome ways yoga can benefit your kids:
Develops body awareness
Kids become familiar with their physical body as it moves through class. They learn about the skeletal and muscular systems and how they assist us to move in different ways. They also learn about bodily functions such as breathing and digestion. All of this results in increased body confidence, something often lacking in children, particularly girls, by the time they reach high school.
Grows strong, flexible bodies
Active games and flowing yoga sequences increase heart and breathing rates and stretch muscles. Poses that involve holding your own body weight help build strength. Core strength is developed alongside mental strength or resilience. This aids in the prevention of injuries during other sporting and play activities too. And we all know yoga increases flexibility, not just in body but also in mind.
Improves coordination and balance
During a class, many yoga poses are performed on one side of the body, then the other. This helps kids learn their right from left. They also work on balance skills and discover where their bodies are in space, whether twisted around or upside down. Cross body actions or crossing of the body mid-line aids in preparation for writing and developing sports skills.
A well-designed kids yoga class moves between active, noisy games and still, quiet poses and mindfulness exercises. This offers an opportunity for junior yogis to refine their self-control and focus, as well as learning to follow instructions. First time little yogis often find it difficult to sit in stillness but within weeks they are asking for meditation and lying still and quite for extended periods.
Relieves stress and manages anxiety
Kids get ‘stressed-out’ too. Juggling school, friends, family and after-school activities can take a toll on their mental health. Many kids have trouble getting to sleep at night. Yoga shows them how to slow down and to recognise their stress triggers. It introduces simple techniques using body, breath and mind to move from stressed to calm. Kids develop the tools they need to better manage their stress and to assist them in relaxation.
Promotes imagination and creativity
Classes filled with storytelling, role-play and games, allow kids to use their imaginations during yoga. (Picture a room full of roaring lions, buzzing bees, graceful dancers or a forest scene!). Some classes may ask the kids to ponder ethical issues, or to come up with creative solutions to everyday scenarios, explore their emotions or their relationships with others and with the world around them.
At a kids yoga class, everyone is on a level playing field - there are no scores to keep, no winners, losers, firsts or seconds. Yoga encourages them to simply be the best they can be. Everybody has a chance to lead and when winning is not the aim of the game, the value of simply doing your best becomes more important. Each child progresses and achieves at their own pace. This particularly gives kids who see themselves as less ‘sporty’ a wonderful opportunity to shine.
Yoga teaches kids how to use their bodies in healthy ways. It gives them an appreciation of what their amazing bodies can do and teaches them self-respect. Kids have the chance to work in pairs, in groups and individually. They all have the opportunity to lead, to follow and to be a valued member of the group. Kids learn to make Om-azing choices for themselves, others and our planet.
The look of pride on a kid’s face when they can hold a tricky balance pose or a headstand is priceless! Even the accomplishment of finally touching their toes after weeks of practice. This wonderful sense of achievement can remain with them long after class has finished. Yoga builds confidence as they see that we are not all the same, that we all have our own strengths and weaknesses and that that’s ok.
With less rules than most sports activities, kids get to be kids – learning through story and song, playing, moving, and co-creating – all the while having FUN!
Bonus benefits (for you!)
Ready to find a kids yoga class?
We offer after school kids yoga classes at the Beaumaris Yacht Club on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. And preschool yoga on Monday mornings in Highett.
If you are interested in bringing kids’ yoga to your school, pre-school or kindergarten contact us on 0414 191410 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss availability.