In today’s world, children are constantly bombarded with an influx of information streaming straight into the palms of their hands. Our younger generations are quickly surpassing adults with their downloadable knowledge, but what happens when they don’t know the power of their palms?
Yoga translates roughly to “union” of the mind, body, and soul. It is a lifestyle that promotes self-discovery, connection, and liberation.
Before you let your child go wild on the tablet, you may want to consider helping them connect to their bodies first, so they can fully reign in on their ultimate power, and you can get the peace you’ve been longing for.
Regardless of your expertise, try the following yoga poses for kids to deepen your practice and get in touch with your inner-child, all the while connecting with your little Yogini.
4 Benefits Of Yoga Poses For Kids
The health benefits of yoga have long been studied, but it wasn’t until recent years that it has been embraced by public schools as a tool to activate the prefrontal cortex.
Many studies have proven that yoga reduces stress by lowering one’s heart rate and blood pressure, but isn’t that something the rest of us learned to manage on our own?
To put it simply, no.
1. Yoga teaches tolerance and self-awareness
Yoga classes provide a safe space for children to explore themselves physically and mentally. In a dog-eat-dog world, Yoga inadvertently instills non-competitiveness. It demonstrates that our bodies are all created differently; it teaches us to accept our individual strengths and encourages us to work towards personal goals.
While the gymnast to your left may look like a pretzel folding itself into Garudasana or “Eagle Pose”, another student can hold Parsva Bakasana or “Side Crow” with ease (both of which aid in focus, concentration, balance, and cross-body twists which activate the left/right brain hemispheres).
This increased self-awareness fosters higher self-esteem.
2. Yoga embraces inclusion
While diversity is embraced, whether practicing with your newborn or your grandmother, Yoga is for everyone.
For kids who struggle to pay attention (all of them, am I right?), Yoga helps to redirect thoughts from manic to focused. It places an emphasis on community, universal consciousness, and positive affirmations so no child is ever left behind.
Integrating yoga poses for kids with special educational needs can enhance the development of motor skills, improve communication, and support self-regulation where other methods have failed.
The Yogic culture breaks down social barriers; teaching us that “We All Are One”.
3. Yoga boosts emotional intelligence and creativity
Yoga enhances the child’s emotional intelligence, teaching concepts such as forgiveness, empathy, and anger management at a young age.
Similar to the processing power in our phones, the less energy spent decoding our emotions frees up space for creative simulation.
4. Yoga instills mindfulness
At the heart of Yoga, is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of being present: to our bodies, our actions, our words. It requires us to focus our attention, and it is an essential criterion for meditation.
If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation
— Dalai Lama
5 Yoga Poses For Kids To Practice With Your Little Yoginis
There is no need to get too technical; find different ways to create shapes and animals with your bodies. Try moving through these yoga poses for kids slowly, pausing often to notice your breath.
Please be advised, it is your responsibility to facilitate a safe environment to execute the following postures. If you experience pain at any point, back off the pose or avoid it entirely until you are able to receive proper instructions for modifications.
Start with the five asanas listed below, and pretty soon your little one will be inventing their own series of yoga poses for kids.
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Stand up tall. Take a little extra time to connect to the earth today. Move your attention to the points where your feet meet the ground, do you notice your mountain getting heavier? Practice deep belly breaths in this posture, can you feel the air moving into your extremities?
2. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
What kind of tree are you today?
Make sure your roots are grounded deep into the earth before you begin your balancing act. Place the sole of your foot against the inside of the opposite leg, avoiding the knee. Perhaps your tree starts swaying with the wind, giving you the chance to stretch your sides.
Remember: In Yoga, whatever we do on one side, we have to do on the other.
3. Lion Pose (Simhasana)
This is perhaps one of the most fun yoga poses for kids.
Come down to your knees, resting your tush in between the heels of your feet. Make sure your lion sits up tall as you prepare to roar. Inhale through the nose, stick out your tongue, and audibly exhale through the mouth. Repeat three times, and then rest.
4. Boat Pose (Navasana)
Start by laying on the floor. When you are ready to exhale completely, do so while lifting your chest and feet simultaneously towards the sky, creating a V-shape with your body. Without holding your breath, try to lengthen your body to make the largest boat imaginable.
Can you rock with the waves, or will they sink your ship?
5. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Lie down so that your entire backside is touching the ground, palms facing up. Close your eyes, and notice your resting breath. As gravity pulls each part of your body towards the center of the Earth, find comfort in the position, and remind yourself this is exactly where you’re meant to be.
6 Ways To Promote Mindfulness Off The Mat
Yoga is more than a physical exercise, and if you want to reap the benefits you have to work from the inside out.
Here are a few tips to hone-in on the Zen in your home; your sponge-like child will be quick to catch on:
1. Instill healthy habits
When you repeat routines on a daily basis, it transforms the cyclic pathways within your mind. Yoga reestablishes a state of balance by regulating sleep, appetite, and exercise patterns to be in tune with the Circadian Rhythm.
2. Practice laughter yoga
Laughing is contagious, and even if you don’t need any extra endorphins, the person next to you might.
Studies show that laughter yoga reduces stress, strengthens your immune system, burns calories, and makes for a healthier cardiovascular system. Take a look in the city nearest you, as laughter yoga is becoming increasingly popular.
3. Co-create mindful art projects
Don’t forget… Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Get on the kid’s level, and encourage collaboration. Not only will you stimulate your prefrontal cortex, the child will be developing their fine motor skills while you are decreasing your risk for Alzheimer’s.
Perhaps make it a point to practice mindfulness while cleaning up your supplies, or integrate Karma Yoga by brightening someone’s day with a thoughtful note.
4. Keep track of what your kids are watching
Establishing boundaries early on in the home may aid in one’s performance of individual and social responsibility throughout their life. Here’s a quick link if you aren’t sure how to start monitoring; it could help both you and your child sleep better at night.
5. Play mind-stimulating music
Not only does music have the ability to change your mood, it stimulates your mind.
A friend of mine gave me a piece of advice that has stuck with me forever, which is “play music that makes you feel the way you want after the song has finished.”
(Cue: Alexa, play “music for Yogis”)
6. EFT and Tapping
Do you or your children know the power of your palms?
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an alternative treatment which focuses on your body’s meridian points, similar to acupuncture. Following the finger sequence, paired with mantras, is an effective way to release negative emotions, and can fulfill part of the days need for physical touch.
What are some other tools that help you hone-in on the Zen in your home? Do you have some favorite yoga poses for kids to share? Inspire us in a comment below.