Arch your back like a cat! Stretch like a dog! Breathe like a lion!
Children are natural yogis and love the aspect of pretending as they move their bodies like animals. Yoga capitalizes on play, children’s best road to learning.
I love that moment in every kids’ class when we breathe together and a sense of peace and calm settles over all of us. This often happens in the beginning of Little Kids classes when 22 little ones are babbling and talking, I use the breathing ball to lead a group breath and quiet fills the room. Children often share how they use breathing and mindfulness in their daily lives off the mat.
“I took a big breath in and out when my mom said ‘hurry up, it’s time for school’ and then I found my mittens.”
“I felt worried about too much homework. I closed my eyes and put my hand on my belly to breathe. I felt better and got my homework done.”
“I was so mad at my little sister, I used lion’s breath instead of yelling. Then we both laughed.”
In our busy world of school days, music classes, sports teams, and play dates, children need tools to help them find and keep calm. It is amazing the power that can come from teaching children to breathe – empowering them to face and overcome challenges and/or stress.
Combining mindfulness with physical activity can help foster social-emotional growth and help children deal with stress in healthy ways. Yoga empowers children to feel confident as they navigate both their family and school lives. Yoga helps children develop prosocial behaviors as they learn to create a pose with a partner, take turns leading the breathing, or help to add on to the yoga story.
Pretending, laughing, and creating should be at the center of childhood. At Blooma, kid’s yoga is both playful and calm. Children are encouraged to create new and inventive yoga poses while laughing and connecting in a supportive community. Children also appreciate having a quiet part of each class too, often reporting to me that their favorite part of yoga is savasana or “yoga rest” (and, of course, the foot or hand rubs they receive). Taking this time in each class teaches the importance of calming both our bodies and our minds.
Yoga is an important aspect of building healthy bodies. The benefits of yoga for children include:
- Encourages motor development
- Develops strength
- Improves digestion
- Strengthens the immune system
- Relaxes the body, improving sleep
- Relieves stress
- Reduces anxiety
- Balances low and high energy levels
- Expands Imagination and creativity
I hope you and your child can come and play yoga with us at Blooma!
Written by Ann Griffin, RYT200, Yoga Calm for Kids & Global Family Yoga Trained, First Grade Teacher at St. Paul Public Schools.