June 21 is International Yoga Day. It’s a great time to discover the many benefits of yoga for kids!
Although International Yoga Day has been around since 2015, humans have been practicing yoga for many centuries. Yoga originated more than 5,000 years ago in India as a way to connect the mind, body, and spirit. Now, yoga is practiced and celebrated all over the world by adults, adolescents, and even young children!
Before we get into the benefits, let’s discuss:
Is Yoga Appropriate for Children?
Kids can start doing yoga as soon as they are able to understand basic instructions. This can be as early as two years of age, though many children will be ready around age four. A Harvard Health study confirms that “Yoga and mindfulness have been shown to improve both physical and mental health in school-age children (ages 6 to 12).”
Improved balance, strength, endurance, and flexibility are all skills that kids can gain from a routine practice of yoga. Aside from physical health benefits, yoga can also have a huge impact on mindfulness and mental health.
How Many Minutes of Yoga Should Kids Do?
Depending on your child’s age, they might be able to handle between 10 – 15 minutes of a class. However, any more than 20 minutes and they will lose focus, plus, it’s important to keep in mind that too much exercise at one time can lead to injuries.
Sometimes, it can be helpful to do a few poses instead of an actual class. This could look like doing Child’s Pose for a few deep breaths or Downward Dog for a count of five seconds.
So, how can yoga actually benefit children in the long run? Check out the top ten reasons why rolling out a mat and practicing Triangle Pose can make a huge difference in your kid’s overall wellbeing:
Top Benefits of Yoga for Kids
Click on the titles for a Lingokids yoga video that supports each specific benefit! Don’t miss all our yoga videos in the Lingokids App or on our Yoga for Kids playlist on YouTube.
Self-control is an important part of a child’s development. Kids who can practice self-control are better at maintaining friendships, making decisions, and responding to stressful situations.
Studies show that kids who routinely practice yoga are also less impulsive and have more patience while waiting for positive rewards.
Kids need stress relief tools, too! In fact, reports show that children’s anxiety levels may have doubled since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yoga is a great tool for kids to use to work through their complex feelings.
Yoga helps children practice breathing techniques to calm those anxious nerves. These techniques help kids soothe their minds, which in turn soothes their bodies.
Concentration is a tough skill for many young kids to master! While kids need lots of room to let their curiosities run wild, it’s also important for them to practice maintaining their focus and attention span so that they can learn new things and interact with others.
Yoga encourages children to focus on one manageable task (or pose) at a time. After a while of practicing yoga, children develop the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time. This is a skill that will greatly benefit children when they enter school.
We all know that childhood can be a bit wobbly! Similar to dance, gymnastics, and other sports, yoga helps children train their balance, hand-eye coordination, and other key movements with small muscles.
That’s right! Routinely practicing yoga strengthens children’s growing muscles. A Chaturanga a day could help keep the doctor away! Along with the benefits of being healthy, strength and flexibility keep kids safe during physical activity and exercise.
Yoga was created to find a balance between the mind and the body. Kids go through a lot of different emotions in the span of a single day, they may feel: excited, angry, worried, jealous, happy, sad, and more! There is a yoga class for all types of emotions, whether your child needs to learn to calm down or generate more energy.
It’s a great resource to have as a tool for when your child identifies a particular emotion and needs a strategy for managing it.
7. Benefits Health 🏥
In addition to building strength and supporting mental health, there are many internal benefits that kids gain from doing weekly yoga. Yoga helps regulate bowel movements, reduces asthma symptoms, and boosts immunity.
It’s no secret that your children want to spend time with you! They will look forward to doing their weekly yoga practice with you because it is a creative and meaningful way to spend time together.
Another incredible benefit of yoga is that regular practice helps children learn to believe in themselves and their own capabilities. They will feel proud of themselves when they master a new move and can demonstrate all the different poses that they know.
Plus, yoga also helps children develop a healthy relationship with their body, which will be key for when they eventually go through the changes of puberty.
10. Better Sleep 💤
Nighttime transitions are tough on both children and parents. Doing yoga as part of your regular nightly routine can help children relax and have a deeper sleep. You don’t have to do a full yoga class before bed, sometimes just a few breathing exercises or stretches can help set the mood for sleepy time!
Setting Up a Family Yoga Routine
Studies show that it takes about one to two months to form a new habit. To set up a family yoga routine that is sustainable, try out the following suggestions and encourage everyone in your family to help keep up the motivation:
- Start off with a yoga challenge: Create a schedule that is reasonable for your family, such as doing yoga once or twice a week. This will make the practice more sustainable and more likely for your child to complete the challenge.
- Create a point system: Everyone loves a positive reward! Create a yoga calendar and have your little one put up a sticker for each time they practice. This will also help to generate some excitement and motivation around exercise!
- Be consistent: Do your yoga routine on the same day and time each week. This will help your child predict that Tuesdays are they days they get to do calming yoga with the people who they love the most!
- Make it fun: Yoga doesn’t have to be all silence and inward thinking! Don’t be afraid to get silly and have fun with your kids. You can turn each pose into different animals, make funny sounds, and even laugh at the Wind-relieving poses! Children will love yoga even more when it is a way to connect and have fun with you.