As more schools include children's yoga in their classrooms, we wanted to talk about some of the benefits of kids' yoga, from physical health to wellbeing.
Yoga has been long used by adults who've found a range of positive results, from improved posture to reduced anxiety. Through teaching children yoga, we've found that many of these effects are actually experienced by kids too. If you've been thinking about introducing your child to the world of kids' yoga, here are just some of the benefits...
As children regularly practice yoga, mastering new poses and creating a flow between their body and mind helps builds confidence. Even a simple step like a child being able to touch their toes after practicing each week, creates the feeling of achievement. Yoga allows every child to move at their own pace which helps mastering a pose to feel important and special. Thanks to the fact that each child can achieve at their own pace, the comparison to others that they may experience elsewhere is completely removed.
2. Kids' Yoga Promotes a Healthy Body
Regular yoga practice helps promote a healthier body through poses that stretch, strengthen and build coordination too. Kids’ yoga improves flexibility and increases blood flow, which in turn can help reduce the risk of injury during other physical activity. In our recent survey of teachers around the world using Cosmic Kids Yoga in their classes, 97 percent of saw improvements in their children's body strength, hooray!
3. Kids' Yoga Improves Concentration
Part of the positive changes teachers have found from using yoga in classes is the improvement they see in concentration. After a kids' yoga session teachers have seen improvements in attention and even behaviour too. Using yoga as a short brain break between classes or subjects can help allow kids to better focus, which in turn means more learning! A teacher from our survey commented that ‘my children’s ability to focus and sustain attention to a task significantly increases after doing yoga’.
4. Kids' Yoga Helps Kids Manage Stress Through Breathing
Controlled breathing can work wonders for stress and anxiety, helping to give us a sense of calm and reassurance. When these breathing techniques are taught properly, this is no different for children. Yoga helps kids understand how to use their breathing to reduce stress and feel in control when they feel anxious. Once they master this whilst practicing yoga they can take this technique away with them to use whenever they need reassurance. Frontiers in Psychiatry talk about yoga as a powerful tool to minimise anxiety and encourage self-regulation in children. Whilst research is still growing in this area, they have a brilliant article pulling together theories on the benefits of children’s yoga for mental health further.
5. Kids' Yoga Promotes Inclusivity
We all want our children to be healthy and activities like football, athletics or gymnastics are very popular for school age children to keep active. Not all children enjoy the competitive nature of sports though, and performing to win just doesn't suit all characters. Part of the reason yoga is so successful in schools is its inclusive nature. Yoga practice does not focus on levels of ability, winning or even being better than the person next to you. It instead encourages you to be the best you can be, putting the focus on the self. By promoting inclusive practice as a group, no matter what your level, kids' yoga is great for children who don’t flourish in competitive environments.
6. Kids' Yoga Introduces Kids to Mindfulness
Yoga helps to align the body and mind, meaning it can be a great introduction to mindfulness too. Children’s yoga often uses stories to engage kids, usually with a mindful message to take away; whether it's about building confidence, finding inspiration or simply following your dreams! By using the whole body and thinking about our breath in each pose, children finish yoga feeling aligned, calm and happy. A school in Baltimore recently replaced detention with meditation, providing a room set up for mindfulness, yoga and breathing exercises to calm children. Since this big change they have seen changes in behaviour, better self-regulation and amazingly, zero suspensions.
7. Kids' Yoga Teaches Through Stories and Song
Yoga for kids usually includes songs, story-telling and wordplay for fun. This gives the opportunity for younger children to learn new words and help develop language alongside their pre-school learning. The benefit of adding songs means that the physical movements can combine with the cognitive process of discovering new words - a kinaesthetic process, which aids learning.
8. Kids' Yoga Improves Coordination & Balance
For grown-ups and children alike, yoga is a brilliant way to develop coordination. As yoga poses work to use a range of muscles, kids find their body working in symmetry, improving body coordination and encouraging motor development. Of the teachers we talked to who regularly practice yoga in classes, an amazing 97 percent saw positive changes in their children’s balance.
As yoga becomes more readily available for children, parents asking ‘is kid's yoga right for my child?’ can know that there are a whole host of benefits for children. Whether it be through physical health or wellbeing, the positive mindset children’s yoga encourages leaves kids feeling aligned, focused and happy. As specialist children's yoga like Cosmic Kids also meets official guidelines for physical activity in schools through aerobic activity, muscle development and bone growth, it's perfect for class, home and beyond!
If you'd like to see what we're talking about, try this kids' yoga playlist for beginners. With slightly slower yoga adventures, it introduces children to key poses and most importantly, the fun of kids' yoga! We're always on hand to talk more about all things yoga. If you're interested to hear more, comment below or join us for a chat on Facebook or Twitter.
I focus on the production of Cosmic Kids content, and make our systems and partnerships work well so Cosmic Kids can make as much useful and fun stuff as possible. When it comes down to it, it’s my job to make sure that as many kids as possible get to experience the magic of Jaime!
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