Jennifer Wilber works as an ESL instructor, substitute teacher, and freelance writer. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English.
How Is Yoga Beneficial for Young Children?
Yoga is well-known for its many health benefits. Regular yoga practice can improve physical, as well as mental health. Because it is such a great tool for improving wellness, many schools have started to teach yoga to children as early as preschool. There are many reasons why yoga is beneficial to people of all ages. As the rising popularity of yoga in elementary schools and early childhood education programs shows, it is never too early to begin practicing yoga!
Yoga Has Many Physical Benefits, including Flexibility, Balance, and Coordination
The most obvious benefit to physical fitness that your child can gain from yoga is improved flexibility, as yoga poses focus mainly on stretching. There are also many other physical health benefits that yoga can provide. Yoga can also help kids to strengthen muscles and maintain a healthy weight. It is important for growing children to get daily exercise, and yoga is a great exercise option.
Regular yoga practice can also help young children develop balance and coordination. Yoga is a great way to promote gross motor skill development in young children, as many of the poses require complex movements of multiple muscles groups. Yoga is a fun way for children to develop balance and physical coordination.
Yoga Helps Children to Develop Focus and Concentration
In addition to the physical benefits, yoga has many mental benefits for developing minds. By clearing the mind to focus on the poses, yoga can help fidgety children to learn concentration skills, which are valuable for all areas of their life. Several studies have shown that children who regularly practice yoga are able to concentration at school better and get better grades than those who don’t.
Children who have problems concentrating on school work, particularly those with conditions like ADHD, may particularly benefit from a regular yoga practice. While yoga can’t replace the treatment recommended by your child’s pediatrician, used in conjunction with other treatments, yoga may help to improve symptoms of ADHD.
Yoga Helps Kids to Manage Stress and Reduce Anxiety
Yoga can help children to better manage their stress and anxiety for better overall mental health. Kids lives are getting more stressful now than ever, with increased demands at school, the expectation to be involved in extracurricular activities, and just learning how to navigate social situations with their peers. It is important for children to learn how to manage stress and reduce anxiety early in life before they become too big of problems to manage.
Luckily, yoga has been proven to be extremely effective at reducing anxiety and helping people to manage stresses of daily life. Children are often stressed by the demands of school, but haven’t yet learned ways to cope with the stress. Yoga is an easy way to help kids learn to deal with their stress and anxiety. Yoga can help kids to relax and unwind after (or during) a stressful day of school. Certain poses help to calm the mind and relax, eliminating some anxiety and overwhelming feelings of stress.
Yoga routines that focus on the breath are particularly effective at helping children to manage stress, improve their focus, as well as increase lung capacity.
Yoga Boosts Self-Esteem and Confidence
Regular yoga practice can also boost kids’ self-esteem and confidence. Yoga lets each practitioner learn and master each pose at their own pace, free of competition with peers. When kids begin to master the poses they have been practicing, it can give them a sense of accomplishment, which boosts their self-esteem and raises their confidence in themselves. This increased sense of confidence can give them the courage to try other new things.
Yoga Promotes Social Interaction
Yoga has been shown to promote social interaction and pro-social behavior in children. A study by the University of Nottingham showed that some yoga poses were particularly effective at promoting togetherness, mutual caring, and a positive attitude. These factors promote socialization in children and help kids to hone their social skills.
In addition, yoga can teach kids to respect and value one another, no matter how someone may look on the outside. Yoga promotes empathy and teaches children to be more kind, patient, helpful, and caring to each other.
How to Get Kids Interested in Yoga
There are many options for introducing your children to yoga. Many yoga studios offer “mommy and me” yoga classes. This is a great option if you want to use yoga as a bonding experience with your children while also giving them the chance to socialize with other kids.
There are also many kid-friendly yoga DVD programs available to introduce your children to yoga practice in the comfort of your own living room. One of the highest rated and most fun yoga programs for kids is Yoga for Kids: Dino-Mite Adventure by Jodi Komitor. This yoga program was especially designed to hold the interest of kids ages 5 and up. It features three 15-17 minute dinosaur-themed yoga routines that kids can do on their own, plus a bonus 10 minute “Dino Duo” routine designed for kids to do together with a friend or sibling (or even a parent).
You can also find many kid-friendly yoga videos online for free. There are many YouTube channels dedicated to making yoga a fun and enriching experience for kids. These videos feature simple poses that kids can do, and often relate the poses to things that children are already interested in, such animals and popular children’s entertainment (including Disney movies and Pokémon). The Cosmic Kids yoga channel is one of the best kids' yoga channels. Cosmic Kids yoga videos feature stories based on many popular kids movies and video games to keep kids engaged in the practice. Most of their yoga adventure sequences are about 30 minutes long.
Here are a few excellent yoga videos to get your kids started with their lifelong yoga practice.
Unicorn Yoga for Kids
Tiny the T-Rex Yoga Adventure for Kids
Pokemon Yoga Adventure for Kids
Frozen Yoga Adventure for Kids
It’s Never to Early to Start Yoga
Yoga is an excellent way to promote physical fitness and improve mental health in both adults and children. Yoga may be especially beneficial for children who are still developing physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. It can help kids to learn to focus to do well in school and to help them to manage stress and anxiety related to school and social situations. Yoga practice is a great way to help your child develop into a happy and healthy person.
Sources and Further Reading
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Jennifer Wilber