With all of the stress we experience, yoga can be a great way to unwind and decompress. And while we might not think of kids as balls of anxiety, they can experience some of the same pressures as adults from time to time—making yoga a great practice for them, too.
The next time your child feels particularly stressed, or even if you’re just looking for them to settle their energy, try some of these tips and techniques!
Keep it lighthearted
Kids are more likely to get bored if they are forced to stick to the same few poses, but make yoga feel like a game and they’ll want to keep practicing. Come up with a theme, let kids pretend to be their favorite animal throughout the session, etc. Get creative to help keep them interested! Have a plan, but don’t be afraid to stray from it, and try to keep lessons to about a half an hour.
Seize the opportunity
Each yoga session is a great opportunity for education. Allow kids to imagine that they’re great explorers trekking through the jungle, astronauts on their way to space, or anything else you can think of—and then take them on an educational journey through each pose. This will help them build strong minds, as well as bodies.
Encourage strong mental health
During the session, encourage kids to take a moment for self-awareness. Encourage them to look inside themselves and think about all of the things that make them special. They don’t need to say these things out loud, but thinking about them can help make them more confident and open-minded.
Take a moment for focus
There’s no question it can be difficult for kids to focus on a single task for too long, but teaching them to hone in on their breathing is a great way to relieve tension and settle their wandering minds. This practice can also help establish healthy calming techniques for them to use throughout their lives.
Best poses for kids
Not every yoga pose is kid-friendly, but there are plenty which are fully adaptable to little bodies, like these:
Cat Pose: Come to your hands and knees, with your palms under your shoulders and your knees hip-width apart (tabletop position). Bring your spine up as you breathe out.
Easy Pose: Sit with your legs crisscrossed and hands placed on each knee (feet should be rested comfortably against the calves). Take deep, relaxing breaths.
Simhasana (Lion Pose): Kneel, and sit back on your legs. Hands should be placed on each knee with fingers spread. Breathe in through the nose, and open your mouth, letting out a “roar” on the exhale.