Updated: November 21, 2022
By Ashley Halsey, contributing writer
Yoga can be lots of fun! Plenty of kids love standing up straight in mountain pose, or stretching out as an upward or downward dog.
But did you know that yoga actually has loads of benefits for kids? It’s not just a way for older people to keep bendy!
We all know movement and yoga helps kids stay healthy. Exercise improves coordination, social skills, and physical health. However, there’s a lot more to yoga than just the physical!
Yoga is a well-known way to reduce stress and increase your inner sense of balance. It also promotes a sense of calm – and this is ideal if your child is excitable or anxious. Yoga also offers children a safe space to expend energy in a focused way. Finally, yoga classes are not competitive, which helps children boost their self-confidence.
Indeed, the benefits of yoga for kids goes beyond the physical activity. Read on to learn more!
Why is yoga good for kids?
There are a number of benefits of yoga for children. But before we dig in, it’s important to answer this question: Why is yoga good for kids? Take a look:
- Yoga helps reduce stress: it encourages deep-breathing, which can help kids handle stress both inside and outside classes.
- It improves mood: yoga helps kids boosts their moods, and gives them a break from daily struggles.
- Yoga improves muscle tone & strength: yoga encourages kids to flex their muscles in new ways, which they might not necessarily do in everyday play.
- It increases memory: yoga encourages kids to focus on how their breathing and body movements coordinate. They have to pay attention to how to balance. This increases their ability to focus in other ways.
- Yoga promotes a sense of accomplishment. It also provides children with gentle challenges, giving them a sense of achievement when they succeed.
Benefits for children that can transfer to a lifetime of wellness
It’s easy to underestimate the long-term importance of yoga for kids, but this ancient practice has a lot of benefits!
For instance, yoga is known for increasing flexibility, and that’s important for kids as well as adults. On the whole, kids are quite flexible – so childhood is a great time for them to build on that and start some groundwork for ongoing flexibility.
In addition, while exercise can improve muscle tone, yoga offers a gentle, low-impact approach. It’s ideal for children who are less confident doing high-energy physical exercise. Because it usually promotes a slow approach, yoga lets children test their limits at their own pace, building their confidence in their abilities. With yoga, children face less pressure to excel.
This can boost a child’s sense of self-confidence immensely. Because they aren’t being rushed or competing with others, they can unlock their abilities when they’re ready. There are no winners or losers in yoga.
With yoga, there’s no need to exclude or disappoint children. With the communal element of yoga, each individual is also focused on their self-improvement and accomplishments. This is a healthy environment for kids to start discovering their bodies and test their limits.
And what about discipline?
Does yoga help kids with discipline? Well, yoga is great for promoting self-reflection. This will obviously depend on the child’s age and readiness to think about themselves and their needs, but it’s a crucial part of growth and development.
Yoga also encourages children to slow down and approach problems rationally.
A good yoga teacher will reinforce all of these benefits, while helping the kids develop positive long-term approaches to their physical exercise and mental well-being.
On top of all this, yoga involves taking time and paying attention to your own journey, both of which are skills lacking in our chaotic world today.
What type of yoga for kids is best?
With all the different kinds of yoga today, how do you figure out what type of yoga is best for children? Here are some of the top yoga styles you may want to consider.
Hatha yoga and why it is good for kids and beginners
Hatha yoga is the general physical form of yoga. It’s what most of us think about when we think of yoga. Hatha yoga is all about using the mind, body, and breathing in harmony. It’s also a more gentle kind of yoga, which is ideal for children.
Most classes start with breathing exercises, and this helps children settle down and focus – getting into the zone of the class. Then the kids can move onto various postures, which instructors can modify to suit each child’s ability.
Finally, Hatha yoga classes usually have a brief period of meditation at the end. This is ideal for ensuring children leave the class relaxed, calm, and happy. They have time to reflect on the yoga poses and what they accomplished.
Yin yoga: a gentle approach for younger children
Yin yoga may be more suitable for young children just starting out. Yin yoga is often used to complement other forms of yoga. It is particularly beneficial for improving flexibility.
Generally speaking, Yin is a more meditative form of yoga, which may provide younger children with more space to think about what they are doing and what it means to them. There are usually fewer poses in any one class, so this is a great starting place to get a taste for yoga.
Things to consider when selecting a yoga style for your child
When you decide to enroll your children in a yoga class, here are some things to think about first:
- Level of fitness. How fit is your child?
- Your child’s age and personality
- Whether your child will enjoy the classes
- Your familiarity with the style of yoga, and whether you think it’s right for your child
What to expect from yoga classes for kids starting out
How do you know if a class is going to be right for your child? Well, there are a few things you can do to increase the chances of choosing a suitable yoga class. Here are a few tips to get started.
Be prepared; do your research
- Attend a class as a spectator. If this isn’t possible, ask the yoga teacher if you can participate in a class.
- Get recommendations from other mothers. Moms know best!
- Find a yoga buddy for your child. If your child is hesitant to participate in a yoga class, find another child to enroll as well!
- Meet with the instructor and ask any questions.
How to prepare your child for yoga classes
In almost all cases, it’s important to get your kids ready to take classes, especially if this is a new activity. Here are some ways to prepare your child for yoga classes.
Share your excitement and explain the new activity
- Talk to your child about yoga and explain why it’s valuable.
- Introduce them to the breath, and discuss how doing yoga will help them breathe more deeply.
- Pick out a fun yoga mat together. Maybe even carve out a yoga space in your home. Having a special place to practice yoga will help get your child excited.
- Discuss what will happen in a typical class – this way they know what to expect and don’t feel overwhelmed or frightened.
- View & do fun online yoga classes together. You can also download some fun Yoga Pose printable activity cards! Doing some of the exercises with your child will ensure they view it as a game, not a chore. You’ll want to get involved too! You may even discover that you can benefit from teaching yoga for kids – even if you’re not running the class!
The Bottom line
Yoga is a wonderful gift to give to your child. As shown here, it benefits kids both mentally and physically. Not only that but yoga boosts their fitness!
One more final tip: Sharing your yoga journey with your child can translate into lifelong benefits that can not only provide a fun and healthy activity, but a wonderful bonding experience as well!