Alyssa has a passion for fitness and sharing her favorite tips and tricks with the world. Alyssa is a wife, mom, and coffee enthusiast.
I discovered the joy of yoga about twenty years ago. It was the summer of my sophomore year of high school. I would get up at 6:50 am every morning to follow along with Steve Ross and his students on Inhale. It was an hour of stretching and grooving to awesome hits. I loved it! Once school started, I wasn't able to join in, and I stopped doing yoga. Once I was on my own, I flirted with a yoga practice, doing a class here or there occasionally. Five years ago, I started doing yoga regularly, and I have reaped the benefits. Not only did it help with my chronic back pain, but I found myself more flexible on and off the mat.
Introducing My Son to Yoga
Being passionate about health and fitness, I wanted to share the benefits and joy of yoga with my son. When he was younger, he loved joining me in the stretches. Now that he's almost a teenager, I have to pique his interest with fun props and cool poses. Regardless of how he gets there, once he hops on the mat for a yoga session, he ends up enjoying himself. Once the practice is complete, he steps off the mat with his muscles stretched and feeling amazing.
We practice twice a week together. It's our time to bond and have fun. He gets to use all of my yoga props and try out those awesome-looking poses, and I'm happy that he's moving his body and staying healthy. Win-win! Below I've outlined four powerful benefits of yoga for kids. It's my hope that these reasons will inspire you to create your own yoga practice with your children.
4 Reasons to Practice Yoga With Your Kids
- Yoga builds confidence.
- It calms the mind and improves focus.
- It helps alleviate stress.
- Yoga is a great form of exercise.
1. Yoga Builds Confidence
Every time you step on the mat for a yoga practice, your body is different. One day, your muscles might be super tight, another day they may feel loose and flexible. Every day presents something new. Yoga teaches you to accept your body as it is in that moment, to listen, and honor what it needs. This self-acceptance translates off the mat into your everyday life. With regular practice, you begin to appreciate your body and everything it does for you. This builds confidence.
The same lessons are learned by kids when they practice yoga. Younger kids love being able to play in poses and be silly, learning the importance of just being themselves while having fun. Positive body image and healthy self-esteem are built and reinforced in older kids.
As they practice yoga regularly, kids come to appreciate their bodies. They can move at their own pace, learning patience and grace as they attempt new and more challenging poses. With every failure, or misstep, comes an opportunity to laugh, learn, and try again. Finally being able to balance in tree pose or fly in a crow pose brings a sense of accomplishment, giving kids a boost of confidence that stays with them off their mats.
2. It Calms the Mind and Improves Focus
If you ever tried to balance on one foot or attempted to balance on your hands, you know you need to not only remember to breathe, but you also need to focus on the present moment. If your mind is elsewhere, it just isn't going to happen. When you hop on your mat, the first order of business is usually to focus on your breath and bring your awareness to the present moment. Yoga offers an invitation to let go of what has already happened during the day and to set aside future tasks in order to pay attention to the here and now. Staying present during your practice and moving your body in tune with your breath helps calm the mind and improves your focus off the mat.
This is incredibly beneficial for kids. Yoga allows them to channel their energy through a productive outlet, getting out the wiggles and releasing tension. They learn valuable breathing techniques, a healthy way to deal with emotions, and develop a sense of mindfulness. The requirement to focus and breathe during their yoga session is carried into the rest of the day, helping them tackle school work and everyday life.
3. It Helps Alleviate Stress
The same focus and breath work is the very reason yoga is so good at helping alleviate stress. Being able to take a break and just move your body, not worrying about anything other than breathing and feeling your muscles work, gives you clarity and perspective.
As parents, we're stressed about a multitude of issues, but we often forget that our kids are also stressed, and they feed off our emotions. If we're stressed and having a bad day, they know it and it affects them.
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Having a yoga break together when you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or just stressed out is a great way to reset. Channeling that negative energy into movement offers your brains a break. It gives you both a chance to calm down, realign your focus, and gain clarity. After the break, you'll be able to return to your tasks feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the challenge.
4. Yoga Is a Great Form of Exercise
Regular exercise is important to maintain a healthy body and mind. Yoga is gentle on the body and offers a host of physical benefits for adults and kids!
- Strengthens muscles
- Improves flexibility
- Improves coordination and balance
- Keeps joints healthy
- Improves posture
It's Easy to Do at Home
With many schools switching to virtual learning, yoga is the perfect physical education activity—especially on a rainy day! Yoga requires little to no equipment, which makes it an ideal choice. You may choose to have yoga mats, but you could easily use carpet or a towel instead. In addition, many things in your house can be used as yoga props: a book in place of a yoga block; a scarf, towel, or tie in place of a yoga strap; and rolled-up towels, folded blankets, or pillows as yoga bolsters. This is a great opportunity to let your kids get creative.
Try Adding Yoga to Your Child's Routine
This has been an unprecedented year, and many kids are experiencing a completely new way of learning as they stay home to attend class virtually. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, and stressful for both kids and parents. Incorporating yoga into your routine could be just the thing to help!
We are not strangers to online school. I took advantage of the convenience of online courses in college, and my son has attended Connections Academy since kindergarten. In addition to having a daily routine and set expectations, having a regular yoga practice has helped my son succeed in school.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on September 03, 2020:
Thank you Pamela!
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on September 03, 2020:
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 03, 2020:
I think doing yoga with you child or chidren is an excellent idea. You have listed several great reasons to do yoga with your child. I love the picture of the pose with a mother and son. I hope anyone with chidren read this excellent article.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 03, 2020:
All great reasons to get your child involved in yoga. The voice of experience (you) gives a compelling argument for this wonderful fitness tool. Very nice article. I hope it goes viral for ya!