Yoga For Kids: Introducing Your Child to the Yoga Lifestyle

Editor’s Note:  I hope you enjoy Daily Cup of Yoga’s latest guest post about a topic near and dear to the heart from new contributor Maria Rainier


Most parents try to introduce their children to healthy lifestyle choices and patterns.  Parents who actively incorporate yoga practice into their daily life are in a unique position to encourage a lifestyle of physical and mental fitness.

Different age groups require specialized teaching approaches.

Infants

While infants obviously aren’t physically capable of doing yoga poses, you can encourage them to make positive associations with yoga practice.  Take a post-natal mommy and me yoga class. Incorporate them into your own yoga routine.  Children learn by patterning. If yoga is a consistent, pleasurable memory from their earliest days, they are more likely to express interest when they’re old enough to practice it on their own.

Toddlers

Teach proper breathing techniques and simple stretching exercises.  Consider buying a yoga tape or enrolling in a class specifically designed for young children.  Encourage them to join your yoga practice to whatever extent they can.  If you are a believer in the spiritual benefits of yoga, begin to teach them the basics of yoga-related spirituality.

Elementary School

At this age, children are better able to maneuver their bodies into proper yoga poses.  Once again, age appropriate yoga classes with their contemporaries and practice with you is a good way to encourage consistent practice.  Start gently correcting any major problems with their yoga poses.  As they move on to more difficult material, form and body placement takes on a higher level of importance.

Above all, make sure you’re presenting yoga in a positive, fun light. If it becomes a chore, they will quickly abandon it when they come of age.

Middle School Age and Beyond

Many lifelong yoga enthusiasts first discovered their love of yoga as a teen.

Middle school and high school age children are in the process of developing their own ideologies and life habits.  If they express an interest in yoga, facilitate this interest by teaching them yourself or obtaining instruction.  Be aware that they might prefer outside instruction and the company of similarly aged children and young adults.  Allow them to participate in yoga in ways that speak to their level of interest and developing independence.

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Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching areas of online colleges. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

9 comments

  1. Thanks for the article. I work in a used bookshop, and the other day we came across a fantastic little book of babies, toddlers, and young children in joyful yoga poses. It’s called “Born Yogis” by Susie Arnett and Doug Kim.

    It totally inspired my practice this week, as does this blog!

    Namaste’

  2. Well I think introducing very young kids into the world of yoga is a bit too much . Let kids be kids and when they are matured enough to understand yoga and its benefits they will do it on their own without any hassle.

    1. I don’t disagree with you Katherine about not taking the whole yoga for kids thing too seriously, but would say that most young children really are little yogis. They love how it feels to stretch and exercise and breathe. My five year old regularly rolls out a spare mat beside me and jabbers in my ear while I’m practicing. I really haven’t had to teach her a single thing. I did buy a yoga for kids book that she totes around on occasion, but for the most part she just watches me, imitates, and then invents her own yoga moves that I only wish I could do.

  3. Yoga is amazing for children – http://www.yogainmyschool.com is a site dedicated to bringing the benefits of yoga to kids and teens. They truly love to explore the world body and soul. Yoga helps them to do this. The practice changes and expands as they mature, always meeting them wherever they are coming from and helping them grow, learn and become their best selves.

  4. Teaching kids is so rewarding… And even more rewarding when it is suggested by your students parents to their school and then gets implemented.. thinking about how many children will benefit.

  5. In my case, I encourage my kids to exercise through engaging them in our stroller jogging exercises. Whatever type of exercise it would be, as long as it’s for their better health and as long as they are happy with it, it’s definitely fine for me. Yoga would definitely be an option next time. Thanks for a great article!

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