Updated: Mar 24, 2020
We could state the obvious and discuss how yoga is good for developing children’s flexibility, strength, body awareness and coordination. We could also talk about how it helps them to relax and improve their connection with their inner self. All the benefits adults gain from their yoga practice.
Of course, these are very important reasons for children to practice yoga and are more than enough reasons why, however there are so many more benefits that cannot be ignored.
The Natural World
When yoga was first developed, yogis lived very close to the natural world and were inspired by nature to create their poses. Children have not lost touch with nature and respond to movement and imagination, particularly in relation to the natural world. If they can imagine what they are supposed to be doing, rather than following instructions, they are more likely to get their heads around what is expected of them. Children are excited when they get to pretend to be an animal, the rain, a tree, even a rock and this instils a love of movement and activity. An early love of movement is very likely to lead to a lifelong love of movement. Furthermore, acting out is fun, and a child having fun is an engaged child, and an engaged child is learning and developing.
Kindness Something I did not realise would happen when I started practicing yoga was how kind I would become to myself and about myself. I believe I was a kind person, to others, but not so much to myself, I had a real shift in how I valued myself, my body and my mind. Yoga and the yoga community is a kind and nurturing community, a great environment for a young child to be immersed in.
Parents cannot have total control over their child’s life so it is important to equip them with tools to deal with all that the world throws at them. Yoga will teach them to become (or remain) kind, caring and loving humans, while being strong and knowing their own value. They will learn to honour themselves and their place in the wider world while physically being strong, healthy and confident individuals.
I developed Mini Yo! through my love of yoga, imagination and stories. I have worked with children in the early years for many years and one of my favourite activities have been watching children light up when they show me how they can stand on one foot as a tree, roar with their tongues out as a lion or be the smallest rock in the room. They are happy to focus and try to get a post right and then put a few poses together to act out an active yoga story.
If you love yoga, or have never tried it in your life, encouraging your child or the children you work with to give it a go with you is such a beautiful way for you to grow strong physically, mentally and emotionally together. Namaste
Tania Swift is an Early Years Physical Development and Wellbeing expert, and founder of B Inspired who provides physical development training, support tools and resources to help early years and key stage 1 teachers and early years practitioners deliver quality Physical Activities, Physical Development and PE Lessons for young children’s development and attainment.
For more information on Be Inspired's One-to-One Parenting and Family Sessions, Resources, Activity Sessions, Courses and Free Advice and Top Tips check out their profile over in the WELLBook.