More and more people are discovering the positive effects of yoga for children.
Unfortunately, the stressful times of these days do not go unnoticed by children. Children are busy, suffer from stress and constantly feel pressure to perform.
All of this can make children feel not only less happy but also less valued. This can have serious consequences, and therefore it is very important to change this.
Yoga can help!
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You can start yoga at a very early age. For young children, there is parent-child yoga. In these classes, the focus is on the relationship between parent and child, and a lot of time is given for individual attention to the child.
For slightly older children, there are special children’s yoga classes.
In this blog we would like to talk about the benefits of children’s yoga and parent-child yoga. Among other things, we discuss:
- What kids yoga is and the difference between “regular” yoga and yoga for kids?
- Which kids yoga is for children with special needs
- What effect kids yoga has on children
- How yoga is used for children
- The origins of children’s yoga
- Yoga exercises for children
- What is parent-child yoga and what are its benefits?
And much more! Are you reading?
Questions and answers
1. how is children’s yoga different from other yoga?
Kids yoga is yoga that is specifically designed for the experiences of children. In addition, it is a very physical form of yoga that focuses on a lot of movement.
2. What are the benefits of children’s yoga?
There are numerous examples of yoga for children. Children’s yoga calms them down because they can release their energy, learn to relax and think further. For example, through the playful approach to spirituality.
3. Can you do Kidsyoga with your child yourself?
Yes, you can. You can adapt normal yoga classes so that your child can participate. But keep in mind that this often makes it almost impossible for you to find peace and depth in your practice.
What is Kidsyoga?
The exercises and postures of Kidsyoga are based on the exercises of Hatha Yoga.
A Kidsyoga class is taught from the child’s point of view. This is often done in the form of stories, fairy tales or through music.
Many themes from the animal kingdom or nature are used. Even in the past, yogis depicted and compared the asanas with various natural objects. Think of animals, but also of trees.
Therefore, in a children’s yoga class, you will regularly hear phrases like, “Make yourself small like a hedgehog,” “Stand like a tree,” or “Make your back as round as a cat.”
A walk in the woods, a stroll through the park or a day at the beach is also conceivable. In addition, topics such as cooperation are often integrated into the lessons.
Of course, the age group and the corresponding range of experience are taken into account.
Visualizations ensure that a child is drawn into the story. It appeals to all children and provide an easy distraction, especially for busy children.
Visualizations are good for creativity and can also help children relax. Imagine a story where the child is taken to the most beautiful places.
A body scan, naming the different parts of the body and relaxing them one by one, is also a nice visualization for many children.
Meditations are often accompanied by visualizations or a focus on breathing. Meditations are especially important for children to relax, and they help them practice their concentration.
You can read more about this in the blog ‘Meditation for kids’.
Breathing is also covered in yoga exercises for children.
The most important thing we do in our life is breathe. Everyone can do it (fortunately ;)), only we often do not do it optimally. Unfortunately, schools still pay little attention to this topic.
In children’s yoga, children playfully learn the difference between abdominal and chest breathing. With breathing exercises they learn how they themselves can influence their feelings.
So this is a very important aspect of yoga exercises for children.
The benefits of yoga for children
Compared to hatha yoga for adults, there is little difference in the positive effects that yoga has on children and adults. Even for children, yoga aims to connect the body and the mind.
More and more children feel the need for rest, relaxation and appreciation. You can create this by becoming aware of your own body.
Children have fun, learn to relax, become more supple, gain strength, stamina, energy and balance, and learn to respect and appreciate themselves and others.
In a children’s yoga class, children are allowed to be themselves, are not pigeonholed, and can fully express themselves without expectations. Nothing is weird in a kids yoga class!
Children’s yoga stimulates children’s creativity and imagination, which, according to research, has a positive effect on problem-solving skills.
Meditation and breathing exercises help children to concentrate and focus – something that many children find very difficult these days. It also contributes to better stress management.
Children learn through yoga to feel better from the inside out (sometimes imperceptibly), so they can better resist negative influences from the outside. Happiness starts with oneself!
All of these things will bear fruit outside of the children’s yoga class as well.
Not to mention that yoga helps kids move every day through play. Especially in this day and age when kids are spending more time than ever behind computers and tablets, this is more important than ever!
Read More: 5 Ways Yoga Promotes a Positive Self-Image
Who is kids yoga for?
Kids yoga is for everyone, you can start yoga as soon as your child is born!
Parent-child yoga is for children ages 0 to 4. In this age group, it is not only very good to work on the mutual relationship between parent and child, but it is also good to give individual attention to the child.
Parent-baby yoga is mainly about getting in touch with your child. Another focus is often baby massage. In this blog you will find 10 exercises that you can do with your baby.
When your child is a little older, the exercises become more playful. Parent-child yoga is a great way to discover your child’s needs. You can then respond to them.
Parent-child yoga has many benefits. Cooperation is the key. The child learns to cooperate at a young age and learns that you can’t always solve everything on your own.
You also learn to discover each other’s talents and use them when working together. Where are your own talents and what talents does the other person have?
You also pay attention to the others. During this stressful time, you may find that less time is scheduled for each other. Work, childcare and other activities quickly fill the day. At parent-child yoga, you have a moment together.
In parent-child yoga, both the child and the parent become pure children again. You learn to enjoy the little things that make you happy. Since the child is still so pure at a young age, you can learn a lot as a parent.
In addition, the general development is promoted. Think of various motor skills, balance, concentration, creativity and relaxation.
And, not unimportant ;), you have fun together and share a fun and positive experience! This creates a positive relationship between the two.
Yoga for young children
At a young age, children’s yoga is mainly applied playfully and includes various postures as well as breathing exercises.
Yoga for school-age children
As the children grow older, various strength exercises are added and the children’s yoga class takes more and more the form of a hatha yoga class for adults.
The abilities and experiences of the different age groups are taken into account.
As a parent, it is perfectly possible to playfully explain normal yoga classes to your child so that they can join in. We definitely recommend this, but it is important to know that it is more difficult to find deep relaxation yourself if you want to teach your child at the same time.
When your child is older, this is often no longer a problem. Older children can often easily participate in regular yoga classes, making it easier for you to transition from the role of teacher to that of the student.
Children with special needs
Yoga can also be a solution for children with special needs. Talking about the child’s special needs and using an appropriate approach will positively stimulate the child’s processes.
However, it is important here to go to a professional yoga instructor who will take an appropriate approach.
Yoga exercises for busy children
Do you have a busy child at home and sometimes you don’t know what to do with him? Rest assured that you are not alone!
The fact that a child is regularly busy is not at all unusual. It’s part of being a child. Every child is busy sometimes, so your child is not the only one.
The reason for being busy can vary from child to child. Restless behavior is a signal from your child. Maybe your child is overstimulated (or understimulated), not feeling well, or just wants attention.
Yoga for kids, no matter the reason a child is busy, helps them calm down, release tension and ground themselves.
But how can you really help a busy child do this?
First, have your child walk barefoot! This way, you can literally feel the ground and thus ground them better. Pure nature. Wonderful.
If you have a busy child, you can do the following yoga exercises together. Barefoot, of course! This mini yoga class for kids is suitable for children 4 years and older.
1. shake it!
First, throw off the excess energy. Put on some nice, rhythmic swinging music (such as African drum music) and stand with both feet firmly on the floor.
Start by shaking your hands loose, taking your arms with you. Raise your arms and shake your whole body (torso, buttocks and legs) with them. While doing this, try to let go of your head as well.
Then shake alternately to the side, forward and upward. You can shake to the beat of the music or at your own pace.
After shaking, slowly unroll and lie on your back on the floor. Close your eyes. Feel your body’s back touching the floor and your hands and arms tingling from the shaking.
Then place your hands on your belly. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
As you do this, feel your belly rise with each inhale and lower with each exhale. The longer you lie, the calmer your breathing will become. Stay like this until your breathing calms down again.
3. Stand firm like a tree
Then grab your feet and roll over your back a few times until you get into a sitting position. Then slowly roll back up, head last.
Imagine you are a tree and thick roots are growing from your feet deep into the ground. Make your right leg heavy and look at a fixed point in front of you on the ground.
Stand with your weight on your right leg and look at the point on the ground. Place your left foot on your right ankle and rotate your left knee outward. Bring your palms together in front of your chest.
If this is easy for you, you can slowly raise your left foot (under your right knee or over your right knee) and stretch your arms above your head.
Imagine that there is no way you can fall over. (And if you do, there’s nothing wrong with that either).
To perform the tree, your child needs concentration and balance. If your child is grounded, it will be easier for him or her. So it’s always a good idea to do a grounding exercise before this one.
4. Massage your child
Most children like to be massaged. But always ask your child first if he really likes it when you massage him.
Massage can be done over clothing. Have your child sit on the floor in front of you. Sit behind your child yourself and rub your hands warmly first. Place your hands on your child’s shoulders and make contact.
Then make various movements on your child’s back. For example, you can rub the back with your hands or fingers, stroke, circle, roll, knead, tug, and squeeze.
Check which movements your child likes and how hard you do them.
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5. The spaghetti test
To see if your child is really relaxed now, you can next do the spaghetti test.
Have your child lie on his or her back on the floor. As a parent, get down on your knees next to your child. Imagine that your child is uncooked spaghetti.
To illustrate, you can ask your child to tense his whole body while holding his breath. Then he releases his breath and his whole body at the same time. In this way, your child can already release some tension.
Then take your child’s hand and tell him that you are going to cook the spaghetti. Shake the hand so that the arm starts to move.
The exercise for your child is to surrender to you completely and let go of the arm. When your child is able to relax, you will see it on the arm: It flies in all directions when relaxed (while you hold his hand).
Is yoga difficult for children? Don’t worry.
Children doing these exercises for the first time may find them difficult. And if they don’t succeed right away, that’s not a problem either.
They will be more successful the next time. After all, even with yoga for kids, practice makes perfect.
Want to get started with kids’ yoga but don’t have much inspiration? Helen Purperhart offers themed books and cards that will get you started right away.