Do you think that yoga is only for adults? Maybe because it has been around for 5,000 years and is usually associated with rather serious-looking grown-ups in unusual poses. Well, think again, because yoga is also great for kids! The overall benefits are that they can learn to calm down and become more aware of their bodies through proper breathing and self-control. In addition, it helps kids become aware of the importance of harmony between mind, body and spirit. Here are eight reasons why you should get you kids started on yoga so that they can really benefit.
1. Yoga helps with flexibility
Once kids start to learn the basics of stretching and correct breathing, they will soon start to gain in flexibility. This is great for preventing injuries and sprains when they do other sports.
2. Yoga can help kids to sleep better
The National Sleep Foundation has found that as many as 69% of kids under the age of 10 are not getting enough sleep. Doing a few bedtime poses such as Greeting the Moon or getting the child to hug her knees into her chest are great ways of winding down. These movements favor more restful and longer sleep. The book Sleepy Little Yoga: A Toddler’s Sleepy Book of Yoga has lots of great ideas to make the bedtime routine more enjoyable.
3. Yoga is non-competitive
Sports can become over-competitive. and it is important to teach a child how to win and lose graciously. But yoga focuses on more than just the child’s athletic prowess: There is no emphasis on whether a child is obese, too thin or simply not fast enough—yoga can work for every body. It is also teaching kids to gain self-esteem—qualities which tend to be forgotten on the sports field.
4. Yoga helps kids to remain calm
How many times have we had to tell kids to count to ten when they are about to lose it or throw a tantrum? When they learn yoga, they already know how correct breathing can calm them down. When these techniques are combined with yoga games and songs, kids can easily manage stress and regain inner peace when the going gets tough.
5. Yoga may help kids with ADHD
A study carried out at the University of Sydney found that boys with ADHD benefited from doing yoga. There was an improvement in behavior, hyperactivity and attention span. Other studies have revealed similar benefits, although more extensive research needs to be done.
6. Yoga can be fun for kids
Children’s yoga can be child’s play. They can imitate the animal sounds of the poses they are doing, such as the Downward-facing Dog or the Cat pose. Colorful mats can be chosen so that they have some fun when doing the various exercises. Watch the video below for more fun activities with yoga.
7. Yoga can help kids recover more quickly from illness
Yoga has been used with success in helping children get over serious illness. It is especially useful in helping to tone muscles that have been inactive for long spells. A therapist at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York has found that it also helps older kids deal better with anxiety. Yoga can never replace essential treatment, but when used as a complementary type of therapy, it has proved to be quite beneficial for both kids and adults.
8. Yoga can help kids to focus
Many of the yoga poses are connected with balance and coordination. In order to do these successfully, kids need to focus and concentrate. Improved attention span will also help them in their academic studies.
As we have seen, yoga for kids (and adults!) will help them to be calmer and more relaxed while at the same time help them build their self-esteem and confidence. They will also be much more aware of the need for inner peace and harmony. Now tell me what other extra curricular activity offers all that in one package?
Have your kids tried yoga? What were the benefits? Let us know in the comments.
Featured photo credit: Little Creations Yoga Class/Alex Burhmann via flickr.com