I have been practising Yoga for years and I have found that Yoga helps me a lots with gaining a peaceful state of mind, improving flexibility and balance, strengthening my core and muscles. Since my first year of teaching, I have been introducing Yoga to children with different age groups, and trust me, they are loving it.
How does Yoga benefits children?
Yoga is a magic trick to clam a roomful of children down especially in the rainy days when they are not able to run outside. It provides a physical outlet for children to express themselves in a way that is mindful and calm. By going through different Yoga poses in a slow pace that combined with simple breathing exercises, children learn to be in the present moment, stay concentrated, gain a sense of calmness and relaxation. These skills ultimately improve children’s emotional regulation and anxiety management once they master the techniques of relaxing the body and reducing stress.
Yoga also has positive impact on children’s physical development. It helps children learn about their bodies and increase their body awareness. It builds physical strength by encouraging children to use muscles in new ways. It improves coordination, balance and flexibility and this will help to build self-esteem and confidence in and control of their bodies.
The answer is YES. An effective way is to print out different yoga pose cards and empower the children to observe the body movement and choose the poses they like to do. Encouraging children to use their imagination such as standing tall like a big tree, stretching like a dog, balancing like a flamingo and breathing like a bunny.
Another fun and simple way is to use a Yoga dice so that the children can take turns to pick a yoga pose. It only costs four dollars to get it from Kmart and it is fun! I love to stand back as a facilitator rather than a teacher while watching a group of children playing with the dice. One child will take a leading role and the other are learning to cooperate. It is a great opportunity to practise leadership skills, cooperation and social skills.