If you are a big fan of yoga, if it’s a big part of your life, and you always reap the benefits of it, there is often a strong desire to share that portion of your life with your children. The problem is young kids don’t really want to sit still in certain positions when the alternative is running around or playing games. There are amazing benefits of yoga for children though – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Here are a few ways to get your kids interested in hitting the mat beside you.
There’s a kind of guilty pleasure when you get to drop off your kids knowing you get some alone time from them. If you’re working on getting your kid interested in yoga though try joining them until their love for it grows. Kids love to be involved in adult activities and being alongside you in a yoga class will be far more interested to them than doing it alone, Plus, it’s great bonding time with your child.
Yoga studios are great, full of amenities like bathrooms and air-conditioning. But children love to be outside and feel free. Try doing an outside or beach yoga class with them. Wriggling their toes in the sand or watching the clouds overhead will keep them just distracted enough not to get bored when holding a pose. The fresh air and sunlight are also great for kids. It’s a chance for them to unplug from the technological world and get in tune with you, themselves, and nature.
A good way to initially peak kids interested in yoga is to let them witness you doing it. Instead of slipping away after work to get in a quick session put your mat out in the open living room. It might not be as relaxing but if you practice in full view of your kids they are more likely to express interested, ask questions, or even join in. Watching you will also give your children a chance to see yoga as a positive experience.
It’s important to keep yoga light for kids. Trying to push complicated or hard poses on kids will only lead to frustration. Choose or encourage poses that your child will easy be able to do without much effort. Downward dog and tree poses are great for building confidence and understanding the basic principles of yoga. As they start to master each pose you can add more and more complex ones. Try to not get caught up in making sure they do it completely correctly. Give them room to interpret the pose and only correct them if they’re in danger of hurting themselves.
No child, even the most patient one, will sit still through a serious yoga session. Kids like to move and have fun so let them do that. Create silly names for the poses if the original ones are complex. Have them bark as they go into downward dog. Do exaggerated breathing to keep that aspect fun. As long as the kids aren’t in danger of hurting themselves let them experience yoga in their own way. Kid yoga classes are great because your kids get to experience it with other children. If you’re more into at home yoga try inviting over a few friends and their kids to join you.
There are tons of yoga storybooks and DVDs out there now. This not only gives your kids a visual of what the pose should look like but it also makes it fun and playful. You can even turn standard books into yoga stories. Books featuring animals are great to incorporate. As each animal appears, have your kid move into a pose similar to it. This encouraged your children to be creative and have fun with yoga. All of this will keep them interested and come back for more.