How does sitting still help energetic kids?
Children are naturally more flexible than adults so yoga may not seem the obvious form of exercise especially when as parents we recognise that our kids sleep better when they have had some physical activity.
“Yoga teaches you how to listen to your body.” Mariel Hemingway
However, learning about their bodies is an important part of yoga. As a non-competitive activity it helps even the shyest child recognise their own body's strengths as well as see the rewards of a regular practice.
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Children don't hold the poses as long as an adult might - in fact they are often out of the pose before the teacher has finished saying its name! However, children are naturally mindful and exist happily in the present moment albeit not for very long! This helps them to focus on what they are doing right now, which in itself develops concentration. Practising on their "own" mat helps develop spatial awareness and how the sense of how their body feels. Coming into child's pose when their tired is a way of recognising they need to"get their head down"!
The benefits of yoga for children are well-documented for enhancing strength, balance, endurance and even aerobic capacity. Regardless of their physical ability most children enjoy the challenge of balancing which not only helps with co-ordination but also concentration.
Breathing exercises are a really practical way of supporting a child's anxiety and can also help children self-regulate difficult emotions.
Mindfulness and relaxation practices teach children that its really ok to be still and quiet and that our thoughts don't have to scare us. Children can hold onto a lot of tension and frustration and learning how to process that without screaming or charging about with a nerf gun can be beneficial to the whole family!