What is Yoga and why is it great for kids?

by Suzan Kiddie (Graduate Modules 1&2 and Early Childhood Educator)

Yoga is the celebration of the unity between the body and the mind. Yoga teaches acceptance and strength. Therefore in teaching Yoga to children we must be aware of each child’s unique abilities and skills and accept them as they are. We must encourage children and acknowledge them and this will lead to a positive sense of self and strength of character. They will then feel more confident in themselves and this will allow them to grow and develop further.

Yoga has many benefits for children, it helps with motor development; spatial awareness, balance, strength, and coordination and it allows the children to develop these skills in a fun and playful and non competitive manner. It also helps to relax children through breathing and meditation techniques thus reducing stress and increasing concentration. 

Yoga is a practice that allows children to celebrate their innate ability to remain in tune with their bodies, physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Children have a natural sense of what they need from birth; they know when they need food, warmth, sleep, affection, and stimulation. Children are born knowing that their body and mind are one. Yoga is therefore an extension of what they already know. Yoga teachers must follow the lead of the child and help to facilitate the child when he or she has difficulty. We can help to guide children on their journey and allow them to listen and to trust their own bodies and minds.

It is important in teaching Yoga to children to also be true to ourselves for if we follow the lead of the child into a direction in which we are not at ease we may not be able to help the child on their path. We must therefore accept our own abilities, know our limits, and create boundaries and together move forward with the children.

In exploring Yoga with children it is important to remain open minded and to let the children’s  imaginations run wild, bringing children on wild adventures and exploring other worlds, using various postures, breathing and meditation techniques, games and activities. Children are truly amazing and can teach us many things. They will force us to test our own limits and they will force us to grow.

When working with children we must remain active participants and we must apply our full effort in all we do, children will then do the same. If we are truly involved and having fun the children will have fun too.


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