Photos: Ashley Avis and her kids @ashleyavisco
When did you start practicing yoga?
For most of us, yoga practice begins in adulthood. However, starting yoga as a child has a multitude of benefits.
The earlier we engage with yoga and meditation, the sooner we can reap the rewards of the practice. For young children, establishing a regular yoga practice can set up the framework for a healthy and balanced life.
Yoga and meditation give young people greater insight into their emotions and understanding of their thoughts. This in turn allows them to self-regulate; to manage their emotions, thoughts and feelings in a healthy and constructive way.
Then, when faced with challenges, children have the tools to cope and handle adversity with resilience.
Reduce anxiety and stress
Children face a variety of stressors; exam pressure, relationships, family dynamics and social media can all contribute to heightened anxiety and stress levels.
Yoga is well recognised for its ability to alleviate stress and anxiety, moderating the body’s stress response system. Understanding this as a child is hugely powerful. By appreciating the interconnection between the body, breath and mind, young people can gain invaluable insight into how to manage their anxiety.
For children, the holds and balances in yoga work to build muscle strength and provide extra protection against injuries. Regular asana movement aids balance, endurance and aerobic activity in young people, contributing to a much healthier lifestyle.
Research suggests regular exercise raises self-esteem and can contribute to a positive outlook, thereby adding to mental wellbeing.
Practising yoga can help us to cultivate compassion, both with ourselves and with others. By promoting greater self-awareness, yoga helps children to better relate with their peers and family members.
Concentration & focus
The slow and mindful movement can help to improve the attention span of young children. The focus required to hold a pose or balance for several breaths can be applied elsewhere in life, giving young people the tools to concentrate on the task at hand.
Sharing yoga with children is the greatest gift you can give.
How to get started with your kids?
Join yoga teacher and Manduka ambassador Desi Bartlett and her 6 year old son Rocket for a series of mummy and me classes. Choose from meditation, yoga flow and restorative yoga designed for kids that you can easily follow with your children at home.
Yoga for Kids > 20 minute tutorial
Moving, stretching, and playing can help little ones express themselves, especially during challenging times.
Meditation for Kids > 4 minute tutorial
Meditating with children can be a lifelong gift that they can enjoy. Take a few minutes each day to close your eyes, slow your breath down, and connect to the heart of your child, and teach them to do the same.
Restorative Yoga for Kids > 12 minute tutorial
If your little one's sleep has been disrupted as a result of quarantine, try this quick and easy practice to help balance the nervous system and relax before bed.
Looking for more?
Yoga for children with additional needs: visit here
Yoga for children with autism: visit here
Words by Melissa Albarran, YAP and Manduka.