You probably already know the benefits of yoga: relaxation, stress reduction, mental clarity, better breathing and physical strength. However, yoga isn't just for adults. Yoga is for everybody regardless of age or size. It's a low intensity workout that parents and kids can do together. You can do it in your own home and there's minimal risk of injury.
For kids, it enhances physical strength, practices balance and coordination, develops focus and concentration, boosts self-esteem and strengthens the mind-body connection. Studies have also found that yoga helps kids with ADHD. By incorporating animals, music, art and storytelling into the mix, yoga helps to calm the senses and teaches children how to slow down, relax, express and honor themselves. That's something that we all could use more of in this fast-paced world we live in.
How can you get your kids from running in circles to Downward Facing Dog? Here are five ways to make the experience fun for your child and you.
1. Practice in front of your kids. Kids are naturally curious. If you roll out your mat in front of them, they're bound to ask questions and want to join in. They will see that yoga is natural and can be a part of everyday living.
2. Keep it fun. Practicing with your kids is not the time to try to perfect the headstand or any other advanced pose. Stick with playful poses like Happy Baby or Downward Facing Dog. Kids should be allowed to interpret the poses and move toward them at their own speed as long as it's done safely.
3. Get wild. Most of the poses in yoga have animal names. Make the animal noise that goes with the stretch you're doing. Some animal poses to get your started: Cat/Cow, Downward Facing Dog or Butterfly.
4. Follow their lead. Let your kids pick their favorite pose. Or let them come up with their own pose with its own unique name.
5. Strike a pose. The growth of yoga on social media, particularly Instagram, has sparked many monthly yoga challenges with a pose of the day. Have your own daily pose of the day challenge with your kids.
Kids want to play, so encourage their strengths while teaching them to be healthy, whole individuals. You may just find you have a little yogi standing next to you in mountain pose the next time you roll out your mat.
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