If you’ve visited this blog in the last few months you might have seen me mention yoga a few times.
Rhys and I went along to a family yoga session in the summer holidays, that we both really enjoyed. And we’ve been reviewing a fantastic book called ‘Kids yoga’, which is a great introduction to yoga for children.
I’m realising more and more that our family would benefit from working some yoga into our daily routine.
If you’re wondering if it might be a good idea for you and your family too, here are 10 benefits of yoga for children, to maybe convince you to give it a try.
1. It can help their focus and concentration
Yoga has been shown to improve our memories, attention span, and our concentration. So fitting a bit of yoga in each morning can be a great way to set our children up for a day at school.
2. It’s calming
Children are always learning and experiencing new things, and this can quite get a bit much at times, leaving them feeling anxious or stressed. Yoga can really help as it creates a real sense of calm, which then leads to them feeling less anxious and stressed.
3. It maintains their flexibility
Young children are naturally flexible, and doing yoga helps them to maintain this as they grow.
4. It can help them to sleep better
Sleep is so important for children, and yoga can be brilliant for helping them get more and better quality sleep each night.
A study of a group of students found that after doing yoga for 45 minutes before bed for 2 months, they feel asleep around 15 minutes faster and had more REM sleep than a group who didn’t do any yoga.
5. It improves balance
Practising poses like tree pose can be great for improving children’s balance. This can be great for boosting their confidence in other physical activities, like getting to the top of the climbing frame at the park, or learning how to ride a bike.
6. It lays the foundations for a healthier life
If your children do any kind of physical activity when they’re young, they’ll be highly likely to carry on being physically active as they get older. Yoga is especially good for laying these foundations as children get so much out of it, both physically and mentally.
7. It teaches them persistence
No one doing yoga for the first time will be able to do every pose. But with time and regular practice we get stronger, and more flexible, and our balance improves, and suddenly we can do the poses that were so hard for us when we first started.
This is a great lesson for children to learn. That no one is amazing at everything, we all learn at our own pace, and that some things take a lot of persistence to master.
8. It promotes kindness
A lot of physical activity seems to be about competition, about knocking down the people you’re playing against. Yoga on the other hand is the complete opposite. There are no winners in yoga, so there’s no competition.
Instead of knocking other people down, it teaches our children to build them up. It teaches them to be patient, to be kind and to be accepting and empathetic with both themselves and with other people.
9. It teaches mindfulness
The world we live in today can be so fast paced and chaotic, no wonder mindfulness is becoming a bit of a buzz word.
Taking time every day to just stop, and focus on the moment we’re in can really bring us back to a sense of calm. Yoga is brilliant for this, as it asks us to focus on the way our bodies feel, and on the breaths that we’re taking.
10. It supports their mental health
Yoga is great for children’s physical health, but it is also great for their mental health.
It releases those wonderful stress-reducing hormones. It teaches them to love and accept themselves, and other people, as they are. It gives them tools to relax and to find calm in a chaotic world.
On top of these ten benefits that children get from yoga, there is also the simple fact that they have fun doing it.
Nerys was trying out different poses from our kids yoga book yesterday, and having such a great time doing it.
When there are so many benefits, and children can have so much fun with it, I’m not sure there are really any good reasons for not getting our children doing yoga.