Keeping Kids Healthy Through Yoga and Mindfulness
I bet at some point you may have heard the expression “Yoga is for every-body.” What you are hearing doesn’t just imply that yoga is for all body types, but it implies that yoga is literally for every-body; even your rambunctious, distracted, and excitable kids. When you think of Yoga, you may be thinking ‘peace and calm’ and you probably don’t associate those terms with your children; except maybe when they are sleeping. I am here to tell you that anything is possible with Yoga!
Why should you do yoga with your kids? Yoga can help instill healthy habits at an early age. Yoga can provide a platform for your child to hone in on the physical skills, while also introducing mindfulness. Mindfulness has been known to help alleviate anxiety in just about everyone. Yoga can also show kids how to slow down and welcome stillness in a world that is full of school, soccer practices, swim practice, baseball, music, go here, go there, overstimulation from television or social media...the list goes on. Yoga can also be a way for kids to cope and quiet all the noise in life. Yoga is a way for kids to practice looking within and making connections within themselves and becoming more aware of how they are feeling. Most importantly, yoga doesn’t have to be serious and since kids learn through play, yoga can provide a way for kids to embrace their playfulness while reaping the many benefits yoga has to offer.
The good news is that you can do yoga anytime and anywhere with your kids. If you are like me and don’t have a lot of financial wiggle room, you can do yoga with your kids for next to nothing.
What you’ll need:
A yoga mat. (If you don’t have one that’s ok too. Carpet, a blanket, or the floor will do just fine!) Since I was on a tight budget, I made sure when Christmas came around I asked family to help out with getting a yoga mat for my son. I really wanted to provide my child with his own yoga mat to help encourage him to practice yoga. It worked. He has his own kids size yoga mat with a spaceship on it that was purchased from Amazon. A yoga mat is not necessary to do yoga, although it does add a bit of fun and my son absolutely loves to roll out his yoga mat next to mine when it’s time to practice.
Time. Time is essential to a yoga practice. Like anything else you may have to carve out some time and work yoga into a routine. I prefer to do yoga in the evening before bedtime.
Instructional Yoga Videos. This is definitely not a necessity, however if you are new to yoga and are not sure what to do then there are a wealth of kids’ yoga videos out there to try! For free! All you need is the ability to access YouTube with an internet connection. Some of my favorite yoga videos for kids come from ‘Cosmic Kids Yoga’ on YouTube. Cosmic Kids Yoga videos are free, fun and follow some great story lines!
The last thing you will need (and this is a necessity) is to be present. Do yourself a favor and take this precious time you carved out for your kids and fully participate with them in your daily yoga practice. You might be tired, but you won’t regret it!
What I love doing with my son is saving our yoga practice for just before bedtime. This helps to get the last little balls of energy out of his system so that he is ready to wind down and prepare for bedtime. The way yoga is usually structured is that the practice utilizes more movement in the beginning, working its way to a slower and calmer practice, and ending with some version of Shavasana (which is everyone’s favorite pose because we just get to lay on the floor.) Closing out the end of the day and the end of a yoga practice with some peace and calm not only brings closure to the day but also closure to another day of parenting. The benefits of introducing yoga to your kids are monumental. Do something good not only for your kids but for yourself as well. A practice such as yoga, when done together, will also instill shared moments together where you are improving mental, physical and emotional health and well- being.
About the Author...
I am a single mom, yogi and old soul who loves the outdoors. I enjoy finding ways to stay physically and mentally fit on a budget!
Jennifer, North Carolina