The physical, as well as mental, health benefits of yoga are undeniable but mostly focused on adults. Does this mean that yoga isn’t well-suited to kids? Should your kids practice yoga? There are many parents who want to know the answer to this question, and I’d love to share with you why I strongly believe that your kids should practice yoga on a regular basis.
As a parent, it’s tough deciding what activities are best for your children. First of all, you have to put the best interests of your children first, and then there’s the thought of how your decisions will look to your peers (other parents). If you are considering yoga for your kids, put your mind at ease that you are making an excellent decision for your child’s health and wellbeing.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, yoga for young kids is absolutely thriving in the United States. In 2018, a whopping about 5 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 practiced yoga in the US. Those are some pretty convincing statistics that provide testament to the goodness of yoga, don’t you think?
Let’s take a closer look at the many reasons why your kids should join the millions of kids in the US practicing yoga.
These are 15 reasons why your kids should practice Yoga.
1. Doing yoga with your kids provides bonding opportunities.
When you introduce your young kids to yoga, you get the opportunity to bond with them on another level. It’s a time to meditate and do something good for both of you. If your kids haven’t been to yoga classes before, choose a class that allows kids and adults to work together. It will be a great way for you to bond in class as well as at home when you practice your new skills together.
2. Regular yoga practice develops physical strength.
Kids need to be involved in physical exercises and sports, in order to develop physically (such as muscle strength and build bone mass).
However, most kids are only offered the stock standard selection of sports, like football, soccer, baseball, basketball, swimming, among others, to participate in. Not all kids enjoy the same sports, and some avoid certain sports for fear of being picked last, or not being able to perform. Even if this is the case, kids still need physical exercise for health development, and that is where yoga comes in.
Yoga is a great way for all kids of all types and interests to participate in a sport/exercise that develops muscle strength and bone density too.
3. Yoga improves coordination.
Coordination is a tricky thing to understand. It’s also something that kids have to work at to develop. Coordination, simply put, is the ability to carry out complex movements by moving the right muscles and limbs in synch. Kids usually learn coordination through various play exercises, such as dribbling a ball, jumping rope, ball tossing, or kicking a ball.
For instance, the Tree and Cane poses are some of the yoga poses that help improve core strength, balance, and coordination.
4. Consistent yoga practice enhances balance and stability.
Balance is something that can be rectified by developing muscle strength and core strength. The stronger a person’s core is, the more stable and balanced they will be. Yoga targets full-body muscle development and strength building, which can go a long way towards developing better balance in children.
5. Yoga reduces anxiety.
Many people don’t realize that young children can and do suffer anxiety. Anxiety can result from study stress, new environments, peer pressure, fear of not fitting in, and a lack of self-confidence. Young kids experience all of these things, sometimes at the same time. As it’s difficult for children to express anxiety, it can become distressing.
Yoga provides an outlet for the anxious feelings and also provides kids with a temporary escape from things that may be upsetting them or making them anxious.
6. Practicing yoga builds confidence.
Children that lack self-confidence need something that they can focus on and excel at. When kids learn yoga from a young age, they develop the required flexibility and skills early on. Yoga is not a team sport and allows each individual to shine in their own way. Because yoga is a great workout and releases endorphins, it also allows kids to feel good about themselves, and that’s definitely a great confidence boost.
7. Yoga enhances concentration skills.
Young children can learn to concentrate on new tasks and learn new things by being presented with something fun and exciting to learn. Kid’s yoga classes are typically developed around games, music, and fun exercises. In order to get the poses right and keep up with the rest of the class, kids are incentivized to concentrate and put in the effort. With all the new knowledge learned and the fact that the lessons will become harder and change, as kids grow and develop their skills, concentration skills are constantly being improved on.
8. Regular yoga burns off excess energy.
Kids are notorious for having far more energy than their parents. Sometimes this can be exhausting. Most after-school sports are designed to be high-energy to aid in burning off excess energy and of course, keep kids fit and healthy. What do you do if your kid has no real interest in the sports on offer? Or what do you do if the after school sports aren’t enough to satisfy the energy levels of your child? Yoga is what you do! Yoga is a great way to burn off excess energy.
9. Learning yoga poses boosts memory.
Kids need to develop memory skills as they grow older to aid in learning and progressing in life. Yoga teaches new and complex poses on a consistent basis, which means that kids learning it, continuously have to remember something new. This is an excellent workout for the brain and memory.
10. Yoga helps children connect with the natural world around them.
The beginning of the digital age has seen an increasing disconnection between children and the natural world. Kids, nowadays, just don’t spend enough time outdoors interacting with nature. Children don’t think of the swaying of the trees, read books in the garden, or play make-believe games anymore. Unfortunately, this puts modern children at a disadvantage.
Instead of seeing themselves as part of the universe, they see the world as something at their disposal. Yoga teaches that for everything in nature, there is a physical movement and spiritual/emotional connection. This is a great way to get young kids thinking about the natural world on a deeper level.
11. Yoga teaches kids how to relax and quiet a busy/frustrated mind.
A kids’ world is every bit as chaotic and stressful for him/her as yours is for you. Unlike you, kids don’t know how (or are not prepared) to get the stresses and nuances out of their heads. Yoga provides a good way to teach children how to deal with stress and frustration. The meditative approach teaches kids that there is a way to quiet the mind and release the frustrations without having an adverse reaction.
12. Yoga promotes body awareness.
It’s important for kids to be body aware. This means that they are aware that health and fitness are vital to their overall wellbeing and that they actually need to look after their bodies and minds. Yoga is a great way to get kids to start thinking about living a healthy lifestyle and how important it is.
13. Yoga is an everyone-can-participate exercise.
Kids in school, sometimes, can be cruel to one another. Often this leaves kids left out or bullied. Yoga is a practice that encourages a loving and compassionate lifestyle. It is also a form of exercise that allows everyone to participate without feeling left out, less-than, or any other form of negative emotion. It’s an inclusive practice, and when kids are encouraged to participate, they learn a gentler, inclusive, and kinder way of interacting with one another.
14. Practicing yoga gets kids away from screens and the online world.
Modern parents are always worried about whether or not their kids are getting too much screen time. It’s hard to get kids to do anything healthy or high-energy when they are constantly glued to a TV screen, computer screen, tablet screen, or smartphone screen. Yoga is fun for kids and is, therefore, enticing enough to distract them from their screens. The more fun they have doing yoga, the less screen time they want.
15. Yoga breathing techniques and poses
teach kids a healthy way to deal with life situations and stresses.
As kids grow in the yoga environment and community, you can teach them how to use the breathing techniques and slow concentrated poses to work through stressful situations and negative emotions.
A yogi kid who feels angered doesn’t need to lash out or shout. Instead, he/she can use yoga breathing techniques to calm down and practice a few of the long-hold poses to get to a calmer and clearer mindset. Soon kids can learn to substitute negative reactions for yoga meditation.
Should your kids do yoga? In my opinion, owing to the above benefits of yoga for kids, I certainly think so.