Many people think yoga is only for adults but the benefits of yoga can be shared with children as well, enabling them to enjoy life to the fullest by promoting a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age. At Educational Playcare, we believe that physical fitness is a vital component to a quality early childhood program. To promote this, we provide yoga instruction for all age groups.
Some people are surprised to find out that yoga can be beneficial even to infants. Babies to children up to two years old can experience better sleep, a stronger immune system and even find relief from gas pain and colic when introduced to yoga. Other benefits they may experience are better food digestion, a better understanding of how to relax and neuromuscular stimulation. Our infant and toddler programs use Itsy Bitsy Yoga by Helen Garabedian to help promote these benefits.
For children over the age of two, you can begin to introduce simple poses that will help promote flexibility and coordination and incorporate healthy activity into their daily routines. Our yoga program for two year olds and preschool-aged children is based on The ABCs of Yoga for Kids written by Teresa Anne Power. This book is a gentle introduction to simple yoga poses for children. Poses that encourage balancing, strengthening, twisting and inverting have the ability to teach children about the capabilities of their bodies. Yoga also maintains flexibility and strengthens growing bodies. Strength and flexibility allow for fewer and less-severe injuries, especially when kids are engaged in playground activities and sports.
In addition, children will also experience other benefits including:
- Yoga sparks creativity. When children are allowed the opportunity make up their own yoga poses, it inspires them to be free, creative, and self-expressive.
- Yoga cultivates a peaceful and relaxed state of body and mind. Yoga classes conclude with a quiet time, called the “Do Nothing Pose.” Even if just for a minute or two, children can learn to understand the value of this quiet, peaceful stillness.
- Yoga increases self-esteem. When a child displays great strength, focus, and flexibility in yoga, it does wonders for their confidence.
- Yoga teaches discipline and responsibility. When children learn the benefit of a committed practice, it ripples out into their everyday life activities, relationships, and responsibilities.
- Yoga encourages positive social interactions. It inspires children to be kind, patient and accepting of themselves and of their peers.
- Yoga provides tools for stress management. Practicing yoga provides kids an immediate outlet to reduce stress in a safe and nurturing environment. Breathing exercises slow down the heart rate and relaxation techniques are powerful sources for calming the mind and the body.
- Yoga teaches present moment awareness. When our mind is thinking about the past or future, we are missing the now. When children are engaged and focused while following a yoga lesson, they are in the present moment.
- Yoga enhances concentration. It allows children to learn self-control and increases their focus and awareness. These skills are essential in most learning environments.
Yoga is not a destination; rather it is a journey, ideally a fun and exciting one. We think you’ll agree that our Yoga programs are a fun and exciting way to get children moving and having fun!