As adults, we all know the amazing effects of yoga on our mind and body but benefits for yoga for kids!! Isn’t it something unheard of? Most of us would be stunned and simply would not relate to it. But modern times lead to new demands. One of which is to make certain that our children are exposed to yoga. Why? Let’s explore various aspects of it to better understand it. Stay hooked!
Why is Yoga Important for Kids?
We all remember our childhood as good, old, happy care-free days. Unfortunately, that no longer holds true for modern kids. In this hurry-up world, a child, right from his toddler age experiences stress. Be it, busy parents, incessant lessons, school, and play-schools’ attendance and stress, video games, competitive sports, etc., a child faces innumerable challenges.
These undue challenges impact the budding mind and body of the child. Often, it is not for the better. Yoga can have your back covered here. Your child can reap all the positive effects of yoga that you as an adult reap.
Today, yoga has become extremely important for kids. It has emerged as a powerful tool that can help a kid face all kinds of over-stimulation, distractions, and pressures both from peers and academics. It brings an all-round development of the child.
Yoga calms their mind, promotes logical and positive thinking, and fills them with positive energy, confidence, and focus in their life. Body-wise, it builds their strength, coordination, and flexibility. Studied for long, the benefits of yoga in early childhood needs no testimony today.
What are the Ten Benefits of Yoga?
To illustrate better the benefits of yoga for kids, we list the leading ten benefits of yoga in early childhood and even teenage years.
1. Builds strength and develop flexibility
A major complaint of modern times is the lack of physical activities for children. As parks and gardens diminish, children no longer have easy access to parks to run and play around. Even if the park is present, both parents are busy working and have no time to take the child to a park. Consequently, most kids grow up addicted to a TV, mobile, or any electronic device. They have emerged as the staple potato couch.
Lack of physical activity is as detrimental to kids as it is to adults. Yoga provides the perfect medium for any kid to burn his excess physical energy and develop both strength and flexibility. While having fun, a healthy body with both strength and flexibility starts getting developed from a young age. You can be certain that the child will grow into a healthy adult.
2. Yoga improves coordination and balance
Be it an adult or a kid, nothing beats yoga in developing coordination and balance in the body. Through yoga, kids are able to use a wide range of muscles of their body. It leads to their body working in symmetry that leads to improved motor development and body coordination. The balance and coordination of the body improve dramatically in children practicing yoga.
3. Develops awareness of breath, mind, and body
Yoga is all about controlling your mind and body through various poses. Practicing yoga poses for kids benefit them in developing self-awareness. A child can understand the full potential of his/her body and tries to test it to its boundaries.
Making various yoga poses in sitting, standing, and lying position; the child learns about various groups of muscles and how to best use them. They also realize their mental strength by persisting to achieve the perfect pose that most often does not come even in the first few efforts. They learn all about their body and mind and how to control it.
4. Improves concentration and focus
Kids are hyper by nature. It’s a challenge to hold their attention for long. With the number of distractions increasing in our life; the task becomes more daunting. Try explaining yoga to a child and you will feel its full impact!
But gradually once the child starts getting into yoga and practices holding postures and controlling his breathing; he learns to get calm and focus. The meditative nature of yoga helps a child get calm and focus on getting the right posture, breathing, and other nuances of the pose. Consequently, the focus and power to concentrate improve vastly in any child practicing yoga.
5. Improves memory and cognitive functioning
Any yoga pose requires the child to concentrate both on the mind and the body. They not only have to practice controlled movements and focus on the balance of the body but also ensure that their breathing coordinates with the movements.
This means an all-around focus on mind, body, and breathing. Yoga poses for kids benefit teenagers an extra yard as they are better able to use various muscle groups and control them. Regular practice improves the overall memory and cognitive functioning of the brain. It translates to better academic performance, a more balanced outlook, and more balanced behavior.
6. Yoga improves sleep
We all know that our sleep is badly affected if we are tense, distressed, or overwhelmed. A full mind obstructs sound sleep. The same holds true for our kids as well.
We might think that kids lead a stress-free life. But it no longer holds true for modern kids. They are as much stressed and tense as we are in our worlds. The most common stress points are schoolwork and their performance, peer relationship, etc.
Yoga helps relieve the stress and anxiety in kids and leaves them a peaceful mind. It helps them drain away negative emotions and thus, they can sleep better.
7. Increases determination and perseverance
Yoga is practiced in a non-competitive environment. Moreover, trying out new yoga poses and breathing techniques is a fun activity for kids. Like adults, even kids cannot master yoga poses at one go.
But with a never quitting attitude and under the guidance of expert yoga trainers like those flaunted by us; kids persevere and try till they succeed. The ultimate win gives them an unparalleled sense of achievement and confidence.
Moving from poses to poses, the children gradually develop strong determination and perseverance skills that make them a winner and go-getter in all aspects of life.
8. Yoga makes them disciplined and improves self-regulation
Yoga helps develop a healthy mind and a healthy body in children. Reaching the perfect pose requires perseverance and discipline which makes him develop discipline as a habit.
Another skill developed is self-regulation. It refers to any person’s ability to understand the situation at that time and adapt his behavior, thoughts, and emotion to it. Development of this skill helps the child to embrace and adjust to the challenges and rise above them to achieve their life goals, both short and long term.
The ability to better and manage their emotions, and understanding what needs to be done in any particular situation, help them emerge as a more calm, poised, and purposeful person. It is one of the most important benefits of yoga for teenagers and early adults as they get exposed to all kinds of stress similar to adults.
9. Yoga helps improve social relationships
Even though yoga is deemed as an individual activity; it has a social component as well. Yoga is often done in a group where people interact with each other without any feeling of competition and utmost positivity.
Regarding, yoga for preschoolers, toddlers, and young kids; it is more social than an individual. The yoga sessions have plenty of songs and fun activities to keep the kids engaged and captivated. Kids have fun and gradually learn to respect and trust each other especially if they are practicing partner poses.
All this leads to a positive and engaging environment in which the child is developing self-confidence, self-esteem, and empathy. He learns to accept differences between him and other kids and even respect it. It leads to better social behavior and manner in any kid.
10. Yoga helps kids enhance independence and coping skills
As evident, yoga for kids emerges as both a social and individual activity. Hence, a child effortlessly learns what is the meaning of ‘individual’ and ‘social.’
As parents, we rarely let our kids do anything, Hence, they get used to getting their things done. But we must teach them how to be independent and do things on their own. Yoga serves as the perfect tool for this.
By practicing yoga, kids learn to be independent as they keep striving and achieve a pose of perfection with their own will and skills. This perseverance also sharpens their coping skills. They cover the myriad of the journey from failure to victory by themselves.
This skill proves especially useful as the child progresses to adolescence to teenage years and finally to a young adult. He can tackle all stress and difficulties better.
The above benefits have made it evident that yoga helps in the all-round development of any child and helps build strong character and personality in him.
What Are the Disadvantages of Yoga?
Like any other exercise form, yoga also has its disadvantages. Few of them include:
- Unlike most other exercise forms that you can practice independently, yoga is not an exercise to be done at home. It should always be practiced under the guidance of a trained professional like those provided by us. It must also be reiterated that yoga for preschoolers would vary from yoga to teenagers. The level of challenge of attaining the yoga pose would vary. Hence, you cannot do yoga at home initially.
- No matter how careful you are; you cannot eliminate the risk of injury while children are performing yoga. The tender body of a child is particularly vulnerable to muscle injury, back pain, and other injuries. Moreover, few yoga poses can trigger complications like glaucoma or blood pressure fluctuation. Hence, you need to be very cautious while choosing the poses of yoga for preschoolers or teenagers.
However, all disadvantages can be averted if you get your kid to practice yoga under expert guidance like ours where they are not pushed beyond their boundaries.
Few Commonly Asked Questions Addressed
If you are as doting a parent like me; I am sure you must be eagerly looking forward to enrolling your child for learning and practicing yoga. But certain doubts and queries might be plaguing you. Here, we address a few of those concerns.
What age should you start yoga?
Technically, there is no fixed age for yoga. The ideal age is considered as that age when the child can understand and follow instructions. This is usually from five to eight years.
Toddlers and yoga have an instinctive connection. You can see them performing much yoga poses naturally like taking the thumb of the leg in their mouth, somersaults, etc. However, not all yoga poses can be practiced by all kids. Few poses like Padmasana must never be practiced before the child enters the teenage years. These precautions can only be taken under the supervision of experts.
How do I get my child interested in yoga?
Yoga must never be forced on your child. Children are naturally curious. A major error that you must avoid is explaining yoga to a child. They understand and assimilate it better by their sense of vision and experience. Hence, to get them interested, try the following tips:
- The best way to get your child interested is by practicing a few yoga poses in front of your child. Foremost, it would fuel the curiosity of your child. Moreover, as any child loves to imitate their parents, you would soon find them lying next to you and trying to get into the pose like you.
- It is best to make these sessions fun and interesting. You must always choose poses like the dog pose, happy baby pose, etc. that the kid can relate to and would be naturally inclined to try.
- The sessions should always be made fun and interactive. Giving an animal name to a specific pose and adding the animal’s sound to it would make the entire exercise a game in which your kid would get eager to participate.
- With kids, you must always give preference to their desires and likes. Allow them to choose a pose and get wild by making animal noises, mimicking each other, and creating ultimate excitement for kids.
When turned into a fun activity, children would naturally take to including yoga in their daily life.
What is the easiest yoga for beginners?
Children have a naturally flexible body. Despite it, for maximum benefits of yoga for kids, they must always start with a few easy poses.
Some of the easiest yoga poses for beginners are dog pose, boat pose, bow pose, cat pose, chair pose, child’s pose, cobra pose, cow pose, Ganesha pose, etc.
They are not only relatively easy to do but are also fun and exciting. You must not force any pose on the child if he/she is not interested or is finding it difficult to do.
Can toddlers do yoga?
A toddler is not able to follow instructions well or practice yoga asanas as a grown-up child but that does not hold back the toddlers from doing yoga. The focus with them is on the imaginative and story-telling aspect of yoga.
They would do more of imitation of your poses. With gentle encouragement and instructions, they gradually learn to close their eyes and count from 5 to 1. It is best to lay the foundation of yoga in toddlers for which they are ready.
How do you explain yoga to a child?
If you are explaining yoga to a child; it must be done in their language. For children perception and easy assimilation with a high fun quotient are essential.
To achieve it, you might demonstrate the yoga pose and build a story behind it. The pose itself can be executed very slowly with the child understanding its sequence. The child can be encouraged to try but with proper care and vigilance. Foremost, they must always do it in the presence of a yoga expert who knows the art of making children practice yoga across ages.
The benefits of yoga for kids is so eloquent that it cannot be overstated. It enables a child to lay the foundation of a confident, hardworking, and persevering adult for whom tackling the life challenges and emerging a winner will be a cakewalk.
But it must always be done under the expert guidance of a seasoned yoga instructor for kids. We are proud to boast of flawless yoga instructors for your child who have a proven track record of leading children to the light of glory via yoga. No mom can skip over this wonderful avenue for the betterment of their kids!