Sun Salutation and Co. are an excellent way to relax and take a little time out. And what works so reliably for adults works just as well for the little ones! Children’s yoga is now offered in many cities, but can also be practised at home. In this article, you can read how children can switch off with yoga exercises, why yoga has only advantages at a young age, and what else there is to know about yoga for kids.
Yoga for Kids: What is it?
The goal is the same for both adult and children’s yoga: the exercises are designed to help you relax and improve your body awareness. However, in practice, some things are extraordinary about yoga for kids.
The instructions: Children have little to do with spiritual concepts and abstract concepts. In yoga, it is, therefore, all the more important that the child recognizes the meaning behind the exercise. He should know what he can achieve with individual poses.
The concrete situation: Children experience many moods in one day. Accordingly, yoga should be flexible. If the child has excess energy, fast movements are lovely. But if the child is sad or exhausted, a few gentle exercises help to calm him down.
The encouragement: Adults know that sometimes individual poses don’t work so well. Children, however, get frustrated easily, which makes it all the more important to praise. All in all, there is always a need to communicate: It is not a competition.
What the little ones can learn in yoga
Yoga also has a long-term effect on kids that should not be underestimated. If they are introduced to the practice at a young age, it has some advantages for their development.
- Stress is reduced. A child’s everyday life can be stressful. Kids first have to learn how to deal with it, and yoga exercises provide the right balance. With playful asanas, smaller children discover what the body can do. In the exercises, slightly older children learn, for example, which posture makes sitting for long periods at school more comfortable.
- The ability to think profits. Suppose yoga exercises are performed regularly, concentration increases. The child notices that it can do more and goes through everyday life with more confidence. As a positive side effect, motor skills, strength and endurance as well as body balance are promoted.
- Social competence increases. Especially when doing yoga in a group with other kids, every single little yogi learns that it is not about competition. One has a shared positive experience but does not have to measure oneself against others continuously. Thus, mindfulness is encouraged at a young age, and a healthy self-image is strengthened.
- Coping strategies are learned. The calm breathing alone, which is the focus of many (children’s) yoga exercises, can help the child to deal with fear and other oppressive feelings.
This is How Yoga Works with Kids.
Children’s yoga is usually based on classical hatha yoga. This teaching includes, for example, the sun salutation as an introduction, followed by static postures, the asanas, and a relaxation phase.
Since children tend to be impatient, it makes little sense to prolong the individual phases. An appropriate yoga session with kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years could therefore be structured as follows:
- Initial short relaxation and simple breathing exercises, during which the children can relax and adjust to the practice
- The sun salutation in several repetitions to ensure that the children are warmed up
- Various child-friendly asanas, in which the children learn to assess their body
- A short concluding deep relaxation phase, which is accompanied, for example, in the form of a fantasy journey – finally, particularly smaller children see usually little sense in lying still for minutes.
Of course, a meditation phase can also follow at the end, but sitting still is difficult for many children. Meditation is, therefore, more appropriate when the child is interested in it, for example, because they have already observed how their parents meditate at home.
Exercises for Children’s Ynoga
Children can do everything that adults can do because they are more flexible and enjoy finding out their limits. Priority is always given to the question of whether the child feels comfortable.
The tree: The child stands straight and with both feet on the mat. Now he puts one foot on the other. Both knees are slightly bent. As soon as the child is standing securely, the child lifts its arms above its head and puts the palms of its hands together. After a few calm breaths, the side is changed.
The cobra: The child lies on his stomach; the palms of his hands are under his shoulders on the mat. Now the child lifts the chest and stretches the arms as far as it is comfortable and remains in this position for a few seconds. Especially eager little cobras can, of course, hiss to their heart’s content!
The range of yoga for kids is just as comprehensive as for the adult version. Children also benefit psychologically if they can test their bodies playfully and train early on to find balance. As long as there is no compulsion and the child enjoys the yoga sessions, children’s yoga is terrific for balanced development.