With the new school year underway, many kids are experiencing new teachers, new classes, and new friends. This is also a great time to start your child on a healthy new habit—yoga. Children today often face the same obstacle to health and happiness that all of us face: stress. Yoga not only helps relieve stress, it provides so many other benefits for children:
- Strengthen, stretch and tone muscles
- Improve balance and coordination
- Increase bodily awareness
- Learn to listen and follow directions
- Laugh and have fun.
This month we’d like to offer some helpful tips for starting your child off on the energizing, calming, and fun path of yoga.
The Younger, the BetterChildren are just like little sponges, soaking up everything around them. The earlier you’re able to influence them to engage in healthy activities, the more likely they are to enjoy and stick with them over a lifetime. Even children as young as one year can learn simple poses like Stretching Dog. Kids naturally stretch, twist, and bend. If you see your tot doing something that resembles yoga, you can tell them, “Yoga!” It becomes a fun thing that’s easy and natural for them to do. The Wai Lana Little Yogis videos and DVDs were made just for the purpose of getting kids into yoga; the bright colors, fun songs, and yoga cartoons act like a magnet for your child’s attention. In the beginning, children may enjoy just watching the video. As they become more familiar with the poses, they’ll gradually begin to attempt them on their own.
Set an ExampleIf you practice yoga, even if only occasionally, your child will be that much more likely to practice yoga too. As your child comes to love yoga, it will also make it easier for you to do your own yoga practice; you may quickly find that your child is doing yoga right alongside you. You may also find that your desire to set a nice example increases your motivation to practice yoga regularly.
Make Yoga a Social Activity
Children, especially those age 5 and up, love being with their friends. You can encourage your child to invite friends over to do yoga together. They’ll laugh and giggle as they watch each other learn new fun poses. The Wai Lana Little Yogis coloring books, Fun Songs CD, stickers, and other fun stuff provide more enjoyable ways for children to have fun together while promoting a lifelong love of yoga.
Give a Little Personalized Guidance
Every child learns differently. Especially if your child is very young, he or she may benefit from occasional guidance to help them master the Little Yogis yoga poses. Even attempting the yoga poses offers tremendous benefit for your child, so there’s no need to worry about whether he or she gets them just right or not. However, all children love encouragement and their parents’ attention.
A Healthy Yoga Diet Makes It Easier to Do Yoga
Most of us have such hectic and busy schedules that it’s hard to eat as healthy a diet as we would like. However, especially for children, a balanced yoga diet, with emphasis on fruits and vegetables, dairy products, legumes and whole grains, will make it easier for your child to have the energy and enthusiasm for regular yoga practice. Practicing yoga will naturally make your child more attracted to eating healthy foods, and the opposite is also true—eating a healthy diet will naturally help increase your child’s attraction for yoga.Our mission at Wai Lana Yoga is to help you and your little ones enjoy the wonderful lifelong benefits of yoga.