Some people might argue that children live in the present moment naturally. And if they are provided with a favorable environment, their ability to focus can increase, they can better enjoy a stress-free kid life (how it should be!), and have fun exercising while going to the playground.
Children have a world ahead of them to discover, and a large number of sport activities to connect with. So what about introducing yoga to them?
As a kids yoga teacher, I can sign my name to the eight key benefits listed by Do You Yoga as why it is beneficial for toddlers to start yoga at a young age. Because, as Do You Yoga says, Yoga is non-competitive and it teaches self-acceptance.
‘Namaste’ – the light in me sees the light in you – encourages healthy habits and focus. Besides, it is also great for calming techniques, self-awareness and most importantly it supports positive mental health in children.
From experience, I can also confidently add some more points to this list. Yoga is a useful practice for: good flexibility, an overall healthy body, improved coordination and for balance. These are the key benefits and reasons why the yoga philosophy (dating several thousand years back) is not only working for adults, but also for little yogis even at a very early age.
Clearly, teaching yoga to kids is a completely different experience from regular yoga classes. As a teacher I had to get super creative to keep the little yogis focused throughout the class, especially with my most active student who are often full of restless energy!
And to keep your little ones entertained with some yoga fun at home, here are a few simple poses I am sure your kids will love to do with you.
Yes, those poses are meant to be done both by parents and kids! Double the fun, isn’t it?
4 simple yoga exercises to try at home
For kids aged 2-4 years old
While the current situation in Bangkok is uncertain, we have been feeling that one of the best thing to do is to spend some quality time, at home and as a family. If you are looking for a new way of entertaining your child at home, the following yoga pose are for you.
These have proven to be popular during playdates too, among small groups of little yogis. The more the merrier! However, maybe wait with this until the coronavirus has simmered down…
The following asanas are easy to learn, to try and they always make the kids in my classes laugh out loud. An added advantage of yoga for kids – having fun while doing something beneficial for the body.
To start things of, ask your yogis (dressed in comfy clothes and preferably no socks) to sit in a simple criss cross apple sauce 😉 legged position and ask them to connect their hands at their hearts for Namaste. To start of the class, ask them to notice how they inhale and exhale through their nose and how they feel in the pose.
Pose 1 – Dog who needs to pee
Start with downward facing dog. Press your hands and feet to the floor and lift your bottom to the ceiling. This helps to stretch your hamstrings, shoulders, back and spine, and it strengthens your legs and arms. Going down to a cat pose – hands and knees are in a “tabletop” position. Make sure your little yogis knees are set directly below their hips and their wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line. To make this a real dog pose start by belting out a “woof woof”, while shaking your bottom as waging our dog’s tail. Then, walk around on your hands and knees as a dog going for a walk. All of a sudden stop to pee! Show your yogis how a dog goes to take a pee, while lifting one knee to the side, make sure to place it parallel with your back…
As you can imagine a peeing dog always sparks lot of laughter! Do not forget to keep walking and lift the other leg as well.
Pose 2 – Jumping monkey (or frog!)
This exercise strengthens legs, stretches arms and increases the heart rate. So let’s get started! Squat with having your feet and palms on the floor as a monkey ready to jump up. Hold it for a few seconds, breathe, and jump up, but not without making a loud ‘oooo ooo ahh ahh’ sound, just like a real life monkey! Repeat few times and enjoy the smiles on all the kids faces!
Pose 3 – Falling little elephant
This story of a little elephant with ears that are too big, is always exciting. We can make it even more so, when the baby elephant accidentally steps on its big ears and falls back on its back! The perfect exercise to stretch hamstrings, massages back and spine by falling backward. Sounds fun, check out how to do it here:
Start with a deep bend forward, stand on the ground with feet hip-width apart. Inhale, and when exhaling bend forward, bringing the arms down and placing the palms on the floor beside each foot – when possible. Slowly start to walk while putting your palms below your feet and stepping on them. Squat down – while keeping your hands on your feet – and gently fall backwards. Watch out for little neighboring elephants around!
Pose 4 – Monkey feet
A game is always welcomed among kids, right?! This exercise is perfect for that. And even better, it is excellent for coordination, stability, focus, and engagement of foot muscles.
Throw a small soft ball in the middle of the group and ask the yogis to show you how they can capture it with their feet just like a monkey! Let the kids hold hands together in a circle for more stability and make sure they switch both feet.
More of kids yoga to explore
Inspired to try more yoga with your little one? Bambi organizes a monthly yoga class for kids 3 years and older, check out their website for more information. Once a month not enough? Why not try a regular kids yoga class with Cosmic Kids Yoga on either YouTube or their newly developed app. Another great source of inspiration is Yoga for kids with Adriene, this however is for kids aged 12 years and older.
If you’re like me and love yoga, why not become a kid’s yoga teacher?There are several opportunities here in Thailand; however, usually prior to the kids yoga training, you have to be a certified yoga instructor first. Apart from those, there are also many options in online courses.
To be honest tho, any mum or dad can try yoga with their child. Enjoy the time spent together in an activity that is not only fun, but also a great bonding activity and beneficial for your childs mental and physical health!
Article written by Petra SEDINOVA
Petra is a mom of two active little boys, a wife and a certified yoga teacher since 2012. Living in Bangkok since 2017, when she followed her husband for work. Petra now teaches yoga here, after previously teaching in Ababa, Prague. While continuously on a learning and sharing journey with yoga, appreciating different approaches of Bangkok based yoga, Petra is now taking on a new challenge to teach yoga to kids and also yoga for mums with toddlers.
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