Yoga For Kids
Gymnastics, swimming, dance, martial arts, basketball, soccer…there are many choices available to parents for physical, and movement-based extracurricular classes for their children.
What makes yoga different?
Because children encounter emotional, social, and physical challenges or conflicts, a dedicated and intentional yoga practice that includes breathing techniques, behavioural guidelines, and physical postures can be incredibly valuable. Yoga is something children can practise anywhere and the breathing, the concentration, the poses, and the way kids learn to act or react to situations, will lead to constant self-discovery and inquisitiveness. Plus, yoga is portable, and no mat, special clothing, or special pillow is absolutely necessary.
A simple yoga practice has an enormous effect on children. Yoga at an early age, sculpts young minds and bodies, giving tools that will enhance and support children to be balanced, creative, and calm individuals with a strong sense of who they are in relation to the world. It encourages self-esteem, concentration and body awareness and the ability to steer your way smoothly through life’s challenges. Physically, yoga enhances coordination, it has a powerful effect on brain development, and brings heightened focus.
There are five key benefits of yoga that improve kids’ overall well-being.
1. Yoga enhances physical flexibility.
Yoga promotes physical strength because kids learn to use all of their muscles in new ways. Whether a pose is done standing, sitting, or lying down, each one can challenge various muscle groups while helping a child become aware of his body and how it efficiently functions.
2. Yoga refines balance and coordination.
Balancing poses were created to promote mental and physical poise, as mental clarity and stability emerge from the effort of trying the poses. Even if a child has difficulty standing on one foot, she learns mental and physical balance if she can stay calm when she falls and when she gets up to try again. As children learn to improve their physical balance, they will be filled with a sense of accomplishment. Coordination is also closely tied to balance and promotes overall dexterity. Some yoga teachers and occupational therapists use finger yoga and other specialized techniques to help children with gross and fine motor coordination.
3. Yoga develops focus and concentration.
The act of practicing poses encourages children to clear their mind and focus on the effort. As a result of this single focus to achieve a particular pose or stay balanced, yoga helps children to focus and concentrate in school and get better grades, several studies note.
4. Yoga boosts self-esteem and confidence.
Yoga helps to instil confidence and to bring learning to children on an experiential level. It helps to provide building blocks for the future. It is our responsibility to develop our children’s sense of wonder and to give them a strong sense of self so they know where they belong in this world and can contribute to making their community a better place. Yoga teaches them to persevere, be patient, and work toward their goals. A yoga teacher can only offer guidance; it is the child who has to work to succeed. Therefore, when a child masters a pose, it gives him confidence and self-esteem. Yoga also provides tools for practicing compassion, mindfulness, generosity, focus, strength, and flexibility.
5. Yoga strengthens the mind-body connection.
Yoga helps kids achieve a sound mind in a sound body by exercising the physical body and calming the mental spirit. As parents we want our children to act and behave with mindfulness and with compassion, to be brave, to know love and happiness, and to find inner peace. Since the modern world moves very, very fast for children, it’s not long before they feel all kinds of pressure (personal, parental, social) to keep up with everyone around them. Yoga functions as a release valve that alleviates pressure and as a foundation to nurture and develop a resilient and resourceful body, mind, and spirit.
Parents may notice how yoga benefits their kids, but the best judges are the kids themselves. Children and Adolescents who have practised yoga tell teachers and parents that they are able to concentrate better during the day, focus better on their activities, and pay attention to their tasks — all the finest endorsements.
“I offer playful yoga and mindfulness classes for children and teens to develop flexibility, strength, body awareness, coordination, balance and motor skills in a fun, non-competitive and encouraging environment.” — Kas Craw, Certified Yoga Teacher
Classes include structured activities and the opportunity for spontaneous play, which allows for imaginative expression. Each class is an adventure using props, music, dance, yoga games and relaxation time. These classes facilitate self-discovery and interaction with other children. They encourage kids to unwind and have fun while they develop body awareness, focus, breath awareness and a sense of well-being.
I currently offer youth classes here at the Nest for children aged 11-17.
I incorporate yoga for kids in our Nature Kids Holiday programme.
I am working with local schools to include yoga in our schools.
“We are so grateful to have Kas coming into kindy every Monday to do yoga with our tamariki! Kas took us through a spring routine where the tamariki started off tightly curled up like a seed then grew up into a strong tree! She taught us some poses with partners which were quite tricky! Our children really enjoyed this experience and all participated with enthusiasm! How lucky are our kids to be growing up in this community” — Beach Kids Kindergarten