Yes, there is an activity that exists that will allow your child to simply relax, help cultivate the sense of open-mindedness & reaps both physical & mental health benefits, that magical activity is ‘Yoga’.
Yoga had been around for thousands of years but the focus on kids yoga is relatively new & is continuously growing. Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem and body awareness, Yoga is a great gift to give your children.
Why should you include yoga in your child’s daily routine?
Yoga has numerous benefits, hence Children derive enormous benefits from yoga as it helps improve both physical & mental health in children, It improves the physical health of the children in the following ways:
- Yoga helps improve physical balance.
- It also helps in building strength & endurance in children
-It helps improves aerobic capacity in children.
-It also helps in boosting immunity.
Other than the physical benefits, as mentioned above yoga also has a lot of mental health benefits as well, which are:
-Yoga helps improve focus & concentration.
-It also helps in building a sharp memory.
-It helps in reducing stress & anxiety in children & brings a sense of calm that results in better academic performance & behavior.
While doing yoga, children exercise, play, connect more deeply with the inner self, and develop a closer relationship with nature & the environment around them, they become aware of themselves & their surroundings Yoga brings out the inner peace & happiness that already exists in all humans in a more beautiful way.
When children imitate the movements and sounds of nature, they have a chance to get inside another being and imagine taking on their qualities, hence they tend to possess the same qualities & have a deeper understanding of the qualities acquired by them. When they assume the pose of the lion (Simhasana) for example, they experience not only the power and strength of the lion but also their own sense of quality, when to be aggressive, when to act strong & powerful. The physical movements introduce kids to yoga's true meaning: expression, and honor for oneself and one's part in the delicate web of life.
Yoga Poses that you can incorporate in your child’s routine
Simple yoga breath exercise
- Take a deep breath in and hold it for a count of three.
- Breathe out forcefully, like you’re blowing out a candle.
- Repeat this for five cycles of breath
-It helps the child bring their awareness inside.
-It helps to manage pain & discomfort.
-It helps in balancing unpleasant thoughts & emotions.
- Come to a Squat, knees lined up over your toes.
- Lift through your chest and pelvis (rather than just "plopping" down). Look straight ahead (you could tell children that they're looking around for a fly to catch, and their bodies are ready to jump!).
- Place your hands firmly down on your mat or on the ground, pressing through the whole hand (you could tell children to try pushing the ground away -- it'll help you jump high and strong!)
- On a breath out, jump your pelvis up, legs following. You can "ribbit! ribbit!" with the children as they jump.
- Try that four more times.
- Check-in. Take a restful moment (perhaps in a "criss-cross" applesauce seat), or do more if the children want to and they don't seem like they're starting to overheat. Gauge the energy (within yourself if you're practicing alone).
- Ask the children what the jumps felt like for them. If practicing alone, reflect for yourself.
- Stretches the legs
- Strengthens belly and pelvic muscles
- Builds gross-motor skills
- Encourages strong and healthy posture
- Sit on your feet, knees forward.
- Place your hands on your lap, on your heart, on your belly (to sense your breathing), or in Prayer Hands. Choose what feels best for you.
- Take a breath in and feel yourself growing taller -- grounded in your seat, like you have roots going down into the earth, but with the top of your head growing up to the sky.
- Close your eyes, if that's comfortable. If it's not, gaze softly forward.
- Stay here for three to five breaths. What's your breath like -- smooth and full, or more choppy and short? Is your body making you aware of anything, any pains or strains or big stretches? [see above: sit on a block, rolled blanket, or rolled towel with any pain or sensation that's just too much]
- If you feel like staying here longer, and you have the time to, allow yourself to do so. If not, softly open your eyes (or re-focus them if you have a soft gaze forward). Notice how you feel. Continue with the rest of your yoga sequence or other activities in your day.
- Stretches the legs
- Strengthens belly muscles
- Encourages fluid, strong breath
- Builds mindfulness
- Brings a sense of empowerment
How to :
- Come to all fours on your hands and knees.
- Keep your hips lifted over your knees and walk your hands forward to lower your chest.
- Lower your forehead to the ground and let your neck relax.
- Spend a few moments in puppy pose.
- Extends the spine, a wonderful counterpose to our spine being shortened from sitting and texting.
- Increases flexibility in shoulders, chest, and hips.
- Calms the mind.
- Activates the stomach muscles; great for aiding digestive issues
How to do Boat Pose:
- Sit down on your bottom with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Lift your heart up tall.
- Keep lifting your heart up as you lift up one leg.
- You can also lift the other leg, or simply switch which leg you lifted.
- Once your legs are lifted, squeeze them so you feel strong.
- Then, lower your feet back down to the ground into your original position.
Benefits of Full Boat Pose:
- Tones and strengthens your abdominal muscles
- Improves balance and digestion
- Stretches your hamstrings
- Strengthens your spine and hip flexors
- Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines
- Aids in stress relief
- Improves confidence
How to :
- Stand tall in mountain pose.
- Shift your weight onto your left leg. Bend your right leg behind you, up toward your bum.
- Use your right hand to grab hold of your right ankle. If you feel wobbly, face a wall, and use the wall for support.
- Take a deep breath in and extend your left arm out.
- Balance for a few seconds. Breathe in and out.
- Gently release the pose. Switch sides and repeat.
- Learn to focus your attention via the gaze
- Powerful stretch for your upper chest
- Improves balance
- Strengthens legs and core
- Increases confidence
Children are natural Yogis, they are tremendously flexible & their ability to believe & trust allows them to receive the teachings of Yoga to help them grow in an inspirational & inspiring way.