Yoga and Mindfulness for Kids

Kids Yoga Feet
© Eclectically K & L 2018

A couple weeks ago, I posted some yoga inspiration here on the blog.  Yoga has become very important to me and as my practice evolved that meant squeezing yoga in during the day while my daughter watched a show.  At first, she just loved that she got to watch a show, but as time went on, she was excited to try out some of the yoga poses.  It wasn’t long until she got her own mat and we were able to find yoga that was tailored to kids.  

Teaching yoga and mindfulness to kids can be so important to help them navigate life sometimes.  Just as it aids us with our emotional well being and overall health, the same can be said for kids.  Let’s face it, we aren’t the only ones that feel the pressures or distractions of this fast-paced world.  For kids, there is so many exciting things happening all around them and they are really just learning to navigate the world.  That, in combination with busy schedules, school pressures, toys, and screens, it can be a lot for kids to handle.

little girl yoga
©Eclectically K & L 2018

Here are a few ways kids can benefit from yoga and mindfulness exercises.

Slow down

By following along with a yoga or mindfulness book or sequence, kids are able to relax and unwind.  I find that for my daughter, who is 5, it helps draw her focus and attention in and gives her a quieter, but fun way to wind down.

Strength, flexibility, and confidence 

Yoga allows kids to be physically active.  They can challenge themselves at their own pace, without the pressures of competition creeping in.  As they focus on their poses, they gradually develop more flexibility, strength, and overall balance.  That in turn can aid in other sports and activities that they enjoy.

When my daughter was first able to hold tree pose, there was so much light and excitement in her eyes.  She randomly shows people that pose, whenever she can!  It has been fun to see how much progress she has made.

Positivity

If there is one thing I love about yoga and mindfulness practice, it is the encouragement and powerful messages behind even the most simple acts.  Whether it is mountain pose standing tall and strong or hearing the words written on a book, there is so much light and positivity that I can only hope my daughter truly believes and trusts in it.  One of her books says

“I can stand up for me, I can stand up for others, I can stand up for peace.” -Susan Verde, from I Am Yoga

I think this is a great reminder for all of us as we move along through our busy lives.

Manage Emotions

Life can be hard to navigate at times.  It doesn’t matter if you are 1 or 100, the highs and lows we all face can vary greatly.  For kids, they require so much help navigating those emotions and learning how to control them.  The tantrums and meltdowns you hear in public by littles are all about those little ones learning to express themselves and process the world around them.  It can be easy to say they shouldn’t be upset about something small, but to them it is a big deal.  My daughter feels very strongly about so many things.  Her highs and lows are very dramatic and that has been difficult for me to know how to handle.  I, like everyone, get upset and sad, but I think I am a pretty calm person.  For the most part, I do let my daughter feel what she is feeling, sometimes as she is sent to her room for a time out, but we always talk about it when she calms down.  She can really work herself up quickly so I thought we would focus a little more on mindfulness.  Taking deep breathes, relaxing our body, and trying to sort our feelings.  I never want her to feel like she shouldn’t be upset, but want to give her the tools to navigate those emotions.

If you are interested in incorporating more yoga and mindfulness exercises in your kids lives, the good news is that there are so many wonderful resources available.

Library:  Your local library may offer some yoga class or a yoga story time for kids.

Yoga Studio:  Check out your local yoga studio for special kid’s classes.  Some studios even offer a parent and me class for the younger kids.

YouTube:  Cosmic Kids – This is my daughter’s favorite that Lisa introduced us too.  Jaime guides kids through yoga poses as she tells some of their favorite stories.  She is so engaging and makes her videos so fun to watch and participate with.  There are so many themes including Frozen, Star Wars, and the Hungry Caterpillar.

Books:

kids meditation books
© Eclectically K & L 2018

Good Morning Yoga and Good Night Yoga by Mariam Gates:  These books share a sweet pose-by-pose story to get kids ready for the day and then unwind for bedtime.

I Am Yoga and I Am Peace by Susan Verde:  Two beautifully illustrated books to help settle the mind and connect with the world around.

Play Yoga by Lorena Pajalunga: A great book that outlines 20 poses and relates them to animals.  This books has wonderful descriptions of how to get into the pose and harness that animals energy.

A World of Pausabilities by Frank Sileo:  This book is a pretty cute reminder to take time throughout the day to really pause and take it all in.  Great reminders for adults too!

Meditation Is An Open Sky by Whitney Stewart: Simple meditations for different emotions and to find focus:  feel safe when scared, calm your anger, and focus for concentration are just a few.

Meditate With Me by Mariam Gates

Mindful Me by Whitney Stewart: This looks like a great book for older kids, especially during those pre-teen years when life becomes more complicated.

I hope you find this helpful.  Please share with us below any resources or ways you help incorporate mindfulness or yoga in your kiddos lives!

 

 

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