Is Yoga for Kids a necessity or not in modern times is a big question for every parent.
In today’s time, the word ‘childhood’ has a very different image of what it was in the ’80s and ’90s. For all those born in the ’90s or before that, playing outdoors meant exercise for the whole day. Playing different kinds of sports meant working out or burning calories that you ate for your tiffin.
Do you remember when you played cricket in the streets?
Hide and seek in the park?
Running around inventing your own little games?
Those were some sweet days that you will never forget.
You eagerly waited for the evenings to meet your friends and play until the sun did not set. Even so, your mothers had to come out calling out for you to get you back into homes.
Now, with the development of technology, times have changed or rather I would say ‘childhood’ has changed.
Kids of Modern Times
We are living in a fast-paced life that not just the adults but even the kids are forced to live. With the onset of stress at its peak, kids have a competitive life to live.
Kids face pressure at school, among friends and even from their parents. Most of them are now glued to the screen of all sizes. As a result, they have forgotten what it is like to play outdoors. This has an adverse effect on their health.
You as adults and parents have a tough time keeping the kids away from screens.
This is where yoga comes in to play.
I know you must be wondering what has yoga got to do with kids?
Isn’t it only for adults to practice who have all kinds of ailments?
Isn’t it for the correction of body posture?
Well, to your surprise, yoga does not have an age-limit like driving a car or drinking alcohol.
Yoga is for all ages. Yoga for kids can do wonders for their body and mind. Are you thinking that is yoga for kids necessary or is it a requirement?
Well, creating healthy habits, in the beginning, will take them to a brighter and even healthier future.
Did you know – this interesting fact about Yoga and Kids?
In the U.S, National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an annual study interviews thousands of kids about their health-related experiences. These survey results were as follows: –
- The percentage of kids aged between 4-17 years, who practised yoga for a year, increased from 1% in 2012 to 8.4% in 2017.
- In the same manner, the percentage of kids practising Meditation increased impressively from 6% in 2012 to 5.4% in 2017.
According to Economic Times, in Bengaluru, India, new- age parents are enrolling their kindergarten and pre-teen kids for yoga classes to avoid tech addictions.
This is so because they want the kids to be able to cope with the stress of academics and urban lifestyle in the future. Have a balance between focus, concentration, and flexibility.
Why is Yoga for kids important?
Is it really that necessary?
Few facts on mental disorder in Children living in the US:
- 7.1% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety.
- 3.2% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 1.9 million) have diagnosed depression.
- Nearly 8 in 10 children (78.1%) aged 3-17 years with depression received treatment.
- 6 in 10 children (59.3%) aged 3-17 years with anxiety received treatment.
Yoga can counter help kids to deal with the pressure and stress of all kinds. There are so many reports of kids falling into the pit of anxiety, depression, aloofness, dejection, discouragement, anger and unhappiness.
Reading these statistics and how high in number they are, really breaks my heart.
Kids through yoga will be able to learn techniques of relaxation, self-healing, inner fulfilment, happiness, and courage. This will enable them to handle challenges that life throws at them.
Yoga practised at an early age will imbibe self-esteem and body awareness among the kids. There is no better gift you, as adults or parents, can give to your kids.
Did you know?
Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of kids suffering from anxiety and depression. Most of them are left untreated and neglected.
Some of these kids do not even know what they are suffering from or are too embarrassed to talk about it.
There has been an increase in emotional disorders (including anxiety and depression), for kids between the age of 5-15 years from 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017.
This is very disturbing and upsetting.
Therefore, yoga for kids at an early age is not only necessary but should be made mandatory.
Practising yoga for kids is more of exercising, playing and connecting with their inner self. Yoga brings a glow and light to the kids that will resonate happiness and confidence.
There are many benefits to yoga for kids that will bring about flexibility in their bodies, peace to their mind and uplift their souls.
Benefits of Yoga for kids
Yoga enables kids to focus
Kids are full of curiosity and therefore are prone to distractions. Most of the kids are always fidgeting and cannot sit in one place. They lose concentration and are not able to focus on one particular thing.
Therefore, imbibing the practice of yoga at an early age can improve focus and concentration in every child.
This will help them to multi-task with ease and focus on the task/activity that they are performing.
Practising and correcting body alignments or postures that make them stand in a static position can help them to maintain focus.
I must say, that will be quite the task for a few parents if their kid is a mischievous one!
Don’t give up!
The kids will learn to concentrate on their breathing and this will bring alertness to their minds.
Learning different yoga poses will help them to understand the importance of their body and how it functions.
2. Yoga helps kids maintain the right posture
Kids spend all day slouching on their couches in front of the screens. They have become lazier and more inactive.
Kids spend all their time with their necks dropped down looking at the screen.
So, how on earth will their spines ever be erect?
Kids will grow up with a hunched back and that is not a good sign of good health.
Thus, creating healthier habits at an early age like practising yoga is beneficial for their future and spine.
We as adults practice yoga to either lose weight or cure other health concerns. Our kids do not suffer from weight issues but upright posture and a fit body will keep all health issues at bay.
Yoga teaches kids self-love and awareness
In the world of technology, the world has become an open book, but with a competitive index of contents. Kids are constantly under pressure to be good at everything. They face a superiority or inferiority complex every day.
For a four or five-year-old child, words like self-awareness, self-analysis or self-acceptance may seem too big a word. Yet, we need to make them aware of their bodies and how self-love is important.
They need to love themselves, in their own skin and not be afraid of it.
(I say, more power to self-love! Love yourself first!)
Yoga is very diverse in nature and this will help them to understand that perfection is not important but learning is.
Yoga teaches them to keep them calm and not compare themselves to others. They release any pressure felt by them.
4. Yoga keeps kids active
When I was a kid, my mum would give me one-hour for television to watch my cartoons and a few hours to play outdoors with my friends.
Somehow, that doesn’t happen anymore. Kids have Netflix, cartoon network, play stations, addictive games like PUB-G to play and watch. Too spoilt for choices.
All these activities are making them lazy and are not stepping outdoors to play. Resultant, their health is increasingly at risk.
Moreover, Feeding your kids, the best of healthy food will not nourish them completely till their body has experience as a whole.
Yoga comes to the rescue as a healthy alternative. Make your kids do yoga the way they are comfortable in. Do not push them to do it perfectly.
As long as they are getting the right amount of exercise and are away from screen time, there is nothing to worry about.
Let them try out yoga the way they understand it. Either by twirling their legs around or by rocking on their backs. Let them be free!
You will notice your kids’ have improved mind-body coordination, increased concentration and focus.
Problems like obesity, sinusitis, insomnia will be out of the picture for your kids.
Yoga makes kids better learners and independent
Yoga for kids will go a long way in shaping their future, personality, and character. They will become better learners by experiencing different techniques to do yoga.
This way kids will become fit and confident and will develop survival skills to face the reality of the world.
I know it does sound scary and you may worry.
Therefore you, as parents need to guide and train them in yoga. Be their Iron Man or Hulk and push them to face whatever storm or hurricane comes their way.
Yoga should help kids to feel free and burdened. There is no use for them to practice yoga if it doesn’t bring peace clarity to their minds.
Yoga Poses For Kids
Remember that yoga has a vast variety of asanas that are taught and practised by adults only. Yet, all asanas are not suitable for kids. Yoga for kids is limited to a number of asanas.
The following yoga poses are the best to teach your child.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
1. Virasana (Hero Pose)
Virasana known as the Hero Pose helps you fight your inner mayhem and chaos. Therefore, it belongs in the beginner’s level of Hatha yoga asana.
Make your kids practice this pose in the morning for the best results. Please note, it is not necessary for the kids to be on an empty stomach.
Make sure they hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Improves digestion and blood circulation in the body.
- Therapeutic for kids suffering from asthma.
- Improves body posture.
- Eliminates tiredness in the legs and provides relief.
2. Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
Gomukhasana known as the Cow Face Pose got its name because it resembles the cow’s face. The word ‘Go’ means cow, and ‘Mukha’ means face. It is part of the beginner’s level of Vinyasa yoga asana.
Make sure your kids practice this asana on an empty stomach early in the morning. Let them hold this pose for at least 30 to 60 seconds.
- Uproots depression and induces relaxation.
- Stimulates the kidneys.
- Reduces backache and stretches the shoulders.
- Eliminates hypertension issues.
3.Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)
Ananda Balasana is known as the Happy Baby Pose. Usually, this asana is seen in babies while lying on the bed.
It is part of the beginner’s level of Vinyasa yoga asana.
This will be an easy and more relaxing pose for the kids. Moreover, they should practice this pose in the morning or evening on an empty stomach.
Make sure they hold this pose for at least 30 seconds.
- Calms the brain and helps relieve fatigue.
- Opens up the shoulders and the chest.
- Increases strength in the arms.
- Releases tension trapped in the back.
4. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Bhujangasana is a very vitalizing backbend. It is known as the Cobra Pose because it resembles the raised hood of a cobra.
It is categorized under the beginner’s level of Ashtanga yoga asana.
The best way to teach the kids this pose is by telling them a story on snakes. As a result, the kids will be interested and even learn a little about the reptile.
Most importantly, they should practice it in the morning on an empty stomach. Make sure they hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Strengthens the shoulders.
- It improves the circulation of oxygen in the body.
- Increases the flexibility of the body.
- It uplifts the mood and invigorates the heart.
5. Marjariasana (Cat Pose)
Marjariasana known as the Cat Pose is a good stretch for the back. It is a beginner’s level under Ashtanga yoga asana.
Kids will love this pose as it is super easy to do and they can enact out a cat by meowing in that pose.
Firstly, kids should practice it in the morning or evening on an empty stomach and have clean bowels.
Secondly, Make sure they hold this pose for 10 seconds at a stretch.
- Strengthens the wrists and hands.
- Improves blood circulation.
- Massages the digestive organs.
- Relaxes and calms the hyper mind.
6. Sethu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
Sethu Bandhasana known as the Bridge Pose resembles the structure of a bridge. It is a beginner’s level of Vinyasa yoga asana.
Kids will love to practice this pose especially those who love to try new stunts.
They should practice it in the morning on an empty stomach. Hold this pose for at least 30 to 60 seconds.
However, if your child suffers from backache, then try to avoid performing this asana.
- Calms the brain and the central nervous system.
- It stimulates the lungs and the thyroid glands.
- Reduces headaches and insomnia.
- Stretches the chest, neck, and spine.
- It helps to alleviate stress and mild depression.
- Improves digestion.
- Therapeutic for kids suffering from asthma.
7. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Adho Mukha Svanasana or the Downward Facing Dog Pose looks like a dog bending forward. It is a beginner level Ashtanga yoga asana.
Kids will happily perform this pose and scoot around like a playful dog. Thereafter, tell them a story by enacting out the pose and woof of a dog.
Kids should practice this pose in the morning or evening on an empty stomach. Most important, is to make sure they hold the pose for at least 1 to 3 minutes.
- Energizes and rejuvenates the mind and body.
- Strengthens the arms, legs, feet, and shoulders.
- It relieves fatigue and tiredness.
- Therapeutic for those suffering from high blood pressure.
Yoga for kids can be made fun by using a variety of poses by incorporating fun stories that interest the child. However, the bigger challenge here is to hold their attention for very long.
Yoga will instil flexibility, balance, focus, concentration, peace, health and well-being in them for life long. As a result, their future will be young, free and healthy.
Kids love to talk and jump around a lot and guess what? Yoga allows just that. Like mentioned above in the different yoga poses, kids can bark like dogs, meow like cats or hiss in the cobra pose.
How cool is that!
I can imagine how fun this kind of yoga class would be.
Kids should explore yoga in their way whether be it stretch like a cat, balance like a flamingo, lie down like a baby, breath like a bunny or stand tall like a tree.
Let us give our little ones a happier and stress-free childhood filled with happiness, peace, and love.