Maintaining your 'Zen' is arguably the greatest challenge of parenthood. If the stress of everyday life has you bent out of shape, balance the chaos with yoga! This Hindu spiritual discipline harmonises the body and stills the mind, making it the perfect antidote to life's day-to-day stresses.
Yoga is often dubbed a glorified form of stretching, but there’s more to it than simply touching your toes. It’s what you learn on the way down that counts – how to ease the pressure of a bustling lifestyle. We don’t realise how our accelerated world sweeps up our kids in a whirlwind of school burdens, nonstop learning, competitive sport, piano lessons, and family obligations. It is in fact our kids who benefit the most from the soothing trance of yoga.
So why limit your child’s definition of 'fun' to eyes being glued to technicolour screens? Sharing the yogi love with your kids allows them to interact in a playful way, fuelling their imagination and lust for life. Yoga gives children the tools to balance their emotions, calm nerves and develop a sense of self. It encourages children to develop coping strategies for emotional and psychological stress, enhances concentration and increases physical activity and general wellbeing. It’s perfect for the child who shies away from sports for fear of being picked last, and will help your little champion excel in athletic activities.
When practicing yoga with kids, don’t worry about perfect poses. Instead, focus on helping them practice gentle movements in a calm environment. Change the style of yoga you’re practicing to suit the age of your child - pre-schoolers will enjoy storytelling intertwined with swift movements, whereas pre-teens love learning new things, such as more difficult poses, their chakras, and the elements behind yoga.
Here are our top five reasons why kids need yoga as much as you do.
It gets them moving
Let’s start with the obvious. There’s no downside to getting your kids blood flowing! Yoga promotes physical strength as it teaches your child to use all their muscles in new and interesting ways. Strengthen a growing body in a non-competitive, recreational way, with their increased flexibility likely to prevent injury in common falls and mishaps.
Where focus goes, energy flows
Stretching limbs, clearing the mind and uniting the spirit can get quite complicated, especially when you’re balancing on one foot. Practising poses encourages children to focus all their energy on their movements, a transferable skill to other areas of life. Kids who practice mindful exercises are more likely to have academic success, as they have increased attention spans, and are in control of their concentration.
Daily disciplines determine destiny
Keystone values of yoga include honesty, moderation, truthfulness, gratitude and self-discipline – all invaluable morals for young minds. Kids are taught the importance of discipline and self-control, as yoga is a journey that requires dedication and commitment.
Create their own calm
Children encounter physical, emotional and social conflicts every day. Yoga not only gives kids a mental break from expectations, but equips them with tools to manage their emotions. Possessing an innate ability to return to a calm mental state when faced with pressure-cooker situations is an enviable skill at any age. Yoga’s breathing practices, behavioural rules and physical postures are invaluable to de-stress when feeling upset or depressed. Not to mention, giving your kids the tools to manage emotions might make those trying teen years a little bit easier to deal with!
Mind. Body. Spirit.
Stretching your chakras muscles regularly leads to constant self-discovery and inquisitiveness, building self-respect. It allows kids to focus and play without the worry of being wrong, increasing their self-esteem and boosting self-confidence. Performing artistic, intangible poses sparks their creativity, exercising their imagination by visualising a mountain, or becoming a downward-facing dog. They learn to understand their body while working towards a goal – mastering a yoga pose!
Finally, sharing yoga with your family is an excellent way to play, connect and bond with the family. Teaching your kids to practice yoga at an early age will set them up for success in later life, encouraging resilience, mindfulness and a healthy mental state.
Keen to get bendy? Find your ‘om’ in one of our many yoga classes, including Vinyasa, Flow Hatha and Gentle Yoga. See you there!