Many people are surprised when I tell them that I teach kids yoga. I get responses like, “Kids do yoga?!” and “How do you get them to be still?” Bottom line: kids yoga is very different than “adult” yoga!
Kids yoga includes many of the same poses that adults learn, but with a more active, fun way of learning the poses and connecting them together. Kids love striking a tree pose while their friends hold up a parachute over them or playing a game of red light - green light with different poses at each stop. I even have a Jenga set with a different yoga pose written on each block. The list goes on. . .
Children like to have fun and most of them are in a constant state of motion naturally. When they are at school, they are asked to sit still and work quietly. Yoga encourages them to move their bodies, expend energy and also teaches them how to calm themselves and be comfortable in stillness. It also helps them learn self-awareness, something most of us don’t get until well into our teen years!
Yoga has helped me through some stressful situations and painful injuries in my life. Yoga has helped me to breathe more efficiently and stay more flexible and fit as I get older. The most wonderful part of my yoga practice though, is sharing with the younger generation. My daughter loves yoga because it comes naturally for her and she enjoys bending herself into new and different shapes.
But what about those who are not at as flexible? How do these breathing exercises and poses work for them you might ask? Even if the poses are not easy, most children will try them and feel a huge sense of accomplishment after they do. The games that we play in yoga are non-competitive. In other words, everyone wins. Yoga can help build self-esteem and flexibility (physical and emotional) and help them work through difficult situations they may face in their lives.