Yoga for Young Ones: Could Your Kids Feel the Benefit?
As complementary wellness practices go, yoga has really stood the test of time. This ancient practice has gained mainstream popularity with serenity seekers and exercise enthusiasts alike, but what about your kids? Can a child’s well-being benefit from yoga?
Lisa Flynn, founder of the ChildLight Yoga Studio in Dover, New Hampshire, and author of Yoga For Children, runs a yoga class for children in which downward dog is called “puppy friends,” and, in a variation on the Warrior III pose, the yoga mat becomes a surfboard. Not only does this give your children all the benefits of an adult yoga class – including stress reduction, mood elevation, fitness, weight loss, higher self-esteem and increased concentration – yoga for children allows your kids to play and use their imaginations.
According to Flynn, it’s amazing when children start yoga early in life, as this facilitates learning through play, and healthy wellness practices that can last a lifetime. ‘We’re helping [kids] get in touch with their bodies, so we’re really improving their mind-body awareness,’ she commented. ‘We’re giving them self-regulation skills and … tools to live a life of health and wellness long-term.’ So what yoga poses can give your children the tools they need to develop lifelong wellness?
Happy Baby – ‘Happy Baby pose is probably one of the favourites,’ says Flynn. ‘It’s one of the most fun… You can’t help but laugh.’ However, this pose is more that just fun; the resting posture stretches your child’s hamstrings and massages the back and internal organs – all of which are very beneficial.
Road Runner – Boys, in particular, love this pose and can greatly benefit from it. The Road Runner is a variation of High Lunge, and works by stretching the the hamstrings and hips where boys tend to be more tight. There is also a “Ready, set, go!” variation that Flynn uses to get children increasing their heart rate for more of an aerobic exercise.
Surf’s Up – This pose is a variation of the Warrior III and Flynn notes, ‘You’re really using your core muscles and your lower back muscles.’
Candle Breath – ‘The thing I like about candle breath is that it’s so simple,’ Flynn explains. ‘Everyone knows how to blow out the candle. And an extended exhale is going to engage the parasympathetic nervous system and really help to calm us down.’