As Krishnamacharya said, "If you can breathe, you can do Yoga"
It is also my belief that everyone, regardless of their ages, can practice Yoga.
Due to the ever competitive lifestyle in modern society, it has been increasingly popular for kids to start practicing Yoga at a younger age and some schools have also introduced Yoga to help students manage stress and energy levels.
Here are some of the many reasons why kids should do Yoga :
Your mat is a safe space where you can practice at your own pace and at your own means. In contrast to many other curriculums at schools, there are no grading or tests for your Yoga practice. There are no audience to watch you perform nor spectators to watch you compete. Therefore, there is no #1 position for kids to fight for, and every one is a winner! It is an activity for kids to learn more about their themselves, to move, relax and not stress about having to win at everything.
2. Increases ability to focus and relax.
Balancing Yoga asanas (poses) can be very fun and exciting for kids. It trains them to ignore distractions and direct all their attention towards the pose they are working on. This can help to improve concentration levels in school too!
Many kids have told me they are constantly tired and stressed out. When we are nervous or frustrated, our breaths tend to be shallow and quick. Introducing breath awareness can help them to calm themselves in tensed situations and learn how to manage their emotions better.
3. Promotes a better posture, body structure, motor skills
Bones, tissues, muscles of kids are still soft and growing. The long hours of sitting through classes and carrying heavy school bags place immense pressure on a kid’s body. Yoga asanas help to build strength and flexibility which are important for a healthy physical development. Asymmetrical poses also help with the body’s left, right coordination.
4. Educational and inspires creativity
A wide range of knowledge (e.g. maths, science, language skills etc.) can be passed on to kids throughout the session so they are learning and having fun at the same time. Kids Yoga classes are designed to be enjoyable and interesting to encourage active participation. Unlike a typical adult class, creative elements such as animal noises, music, props, crafts are incorporated into the sessions to stimulate the kid’s imagination.
5. Body awareness, mindfulness and self acceptance
During the class, kids start to learn more about their own anatomy, feel certain muscle engagement or stretch in various poses and how to control their breathing to find focus. Very often, I would also ask the kids how they are feeling before and after class. I would thank them for sharing without passing judgement. This encourages them to share their feelings, opinions and thoughts freely. This eventually led to a heightened sense of self-awareness. Having a mindful practice often continues off mats, which encourages kids to love themselves, take care of their own bodies and health.
There are countless of benefits for kids to do Yoga. And as their practice deepen, they grow to be stronger, both physically and mentally; they tend to be more loving, confident and have more compassion for others.
On the other hand, teaching kids yoga has been a very rewarding experience for me.
Their willingness to learn, their curiosity of the asanas and their creativity never fails to inspire me.
About the author
Joy is a teacher at Yoga Inc and she is a Jiak Buay Dua Kid herself.
P.S. Check out our School Holiday Kids Yoga @ Yoga Inc Punggol!