Read these 15 Kids' Yoga Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Yoga tips and hundreds of other topics.
Don't neglect final relaxation when doing yoga with children, even if they have only done a 15-minute session. Relaxation is an important part of any yoga practice, and it benefits children as well as adults.
Dim the lights if possible, and encourage children to lie on their backs, but don't be too particular about their positioning as long as they are relaxed. Use calming music or remind them about belly breathing as a way to bring the session to a close.
You can encourage a deeper relaxation by guiding children through a visualization exercise by taking them through an imaginary walk in the woods, or asking them to visualize a favorite place or activity.
Even the most attentive children have short attention spans, and holding a pose for a count of five can seem like an eternity to them. When doing yoga poses for kids, keep them moving and flow through a range of different poses. Keep the classes short, too. Limit a session of yoga to about 15 to 20 minutes of flowing movements, starting with a few minutes of connecting with the breath and ending with a few minutes of relaxation.
Resist the urge to correct children's poses. Let them find the poses in their own ways.
To practice yoga with kids, begin by asking them sit or lie down with their hands on their stomachs so they can feel their bellies move. This exercise helps children (and adults) connect with the breath. Encourage the children to pull the belly in on each inhale and push it out on each exhale, and then reverse the movements and push the belly out on the inhale and pull it in on the exhale.
Don't get bogged down in the spiritual or enlightenment aspects of yoga when doing yoga with children. The goal for children should be to have fun with yoga, so they associate physical activity with fun and feeling good about themselves. Resist any urge to tell children how they should feel in a given pose; just let them move.
Take advantage of the fact that many yoga poses have animal names, such as Cobra, Downward-facing Dog, Fish, and Crow. Encourage children to make animal noises as they explore these poses and other poses, and invite them to pretend that they are dogs, cobras, or other animals, and ask them to think about how these animals move.
If there is one thing kids know how to do, it's play. And if you're teaching yoga to a child, you'll see how quickly s/he will take to the poses. In a practice like Kundalini yoga, for example, the concept of energy as a coiled snake within our spine is quite readily accepted by children. Their imaginations are so pure that as they practice the asanas and pranayamas, they will be more able to envision the symbols that enhance each stage of the practice.
If you are familiar with yoga, you will know that the poses involve strength and in many cases balance. So how could an infant practice yoga? Specific baby yoga positions involve the assistance of the parent or caretaker. Gentle flexing of limbs and digits helps to develop strength in those areas. Also, babies receive the benefit of touch, which studies have shown aid in the cognitive development and a sense of well-being as the baby grows older.
Baby yoga may seem like an odd concept to those who have never heard if it. In fact, it has many levels of benefits for both the baby and his/her parents. For new moms who want to get back into shape after childbirth, doing yoga with your baby is an ideal practice. Special asanas have been developed that allow parents to move with the baby, which enforces loving bonds. There are also poses that parents can help babies perform, which aids in their healthy growth.
As yoga becomes more popular for adults, sharing positive living habits with our children is an obvious next step. In addition to videos and DVDs that help teach yoga for kids, there are also many instructional classes available. Some day care centers even include yoga as part of the kids' physical activities during the day. Yoga classes are also a great way for kids to become socially active, meeting other kids and parents with similar interests.
Everyone knows that children have loads of energy. They are also readily able to adapt to and learn new things. If you're looking for a good way to engage the minds and bodies of your kids, yoga is a perfect solution. The physical challenges are stimulating for children. Getting them to focus on holding their bodies in the asanas is a wonderful way to teach them self-discipline as well as create flexibility in their growing bodies.
If you study yoga, why not get your kids involved in yoga as well? And there's no need to drag them along to an adult class where they may not be stimulated enough to continue the practice. The popularity of yoga for kid videos and DVDs are on the rise. These tools are geared for children with energetic music and careful -- yet playful -- instruction that will help your kids get into a very healthy habit for life!
One group, The American Yoga Association, believes that “Yoga exercises are not recommended for children under 16 because their bodies' nervous and glandular systems are still growing, and the effect of Yoga exercises on these systems may interfere with natural growth.”
Parents should be aware of this opinion and consider it when deciding whether or not to allow their children to practice Yoga.--Yogaguru