Yoga offers physical, mental and emotional benefits for adults and children, especially when practiced on a regular basis. Basic yoga poses offer an introduction to the low-impact form of exercise. Be prepared to make modifications to the poses and to your usual yoga routine to accommodate the creativity of children. A child-centered yoga practice gives the young participants the greatest benefit.
Strength & Flexibility
The physical aspect of yoga improves a child’s fitness level in many areas. The yoga itself gets the child moving, which increases the heart rate and burns calories. While low-impact, the moves strengthen muscles, particularly the core muscles and legs. These muscle groups provide a strong base for the body and help achieve proper posture. Many yoga poses involve stretching and pushing the body to increase flexibility. Getting into the poses and staying in position requires coordination of muscles, improving the gross motor skills of a child who practices yoga regularly.
Children feel stress much the same way as adults do. Everything from school work to friction at home adds to the tension children feel. Yoga offers a positive outlet for the stress that builds throughout the day. Children are also able to use the yoga principles to calm down if they find themselves in a stressful situation. If a child begins to panic over an unexpected test, she can call on breathing techniques used in yoga to relax.
The improved physical fitness and relaxing qualities of yoga help some children improve self-esteem. The improved sense of body awareness also contributes to improved self-image for many children. Creating a laid back, child-led yoga practice allows the young participants to let loose and be themselves. They often enjoy the activity, giving them confidence in their ability to do yoga. The commitment to regular yoga practice gives a child a sense of belonging and expertise, which can also help improve self-image. Yoga can help youngsters connect more with nature and other people, allowing them to feel more confident in a variety of situations.
Unlike kids’ competitive spots, yoga creates an all-inclusive environment that doesn’t thrive on winning or performing better than another participant. This type of activity teaches kids to work together and support their peers rather than compete to come out on top. According to Yoga Journal, yoga practice can inspire a sense of cooperation and even compassion for one another.