Yoga Bears: 6 ways to have fun with yoga for kids
It’s common knowledge that yoga has fantastic health benefits for all ages from newborn to old age, helping increase flexibility and improve energy and vitality. It’s something everyone can do regardless of ability or level, plus you can do it from the comfort of your own home. I have recently decided to get back on my yoga mat at home, and my son has shown a real natural interest whenever I do it. I’ve found that children can pick up the basic techniques as quickly as adults, so now he’ll often choose to join in too! So if you’re thinking about making yoga part of your family routine, here are 6 easy ways to make kids fall in love with yoga:
1. Make it fun. Yoga really doesn't have to be taken too seriously especially when kids are involved. Keep practises fun and light and research poses that are easy and doable for all ages. Have an open door policy so if your children are tired or bored let them have a break because without a doubt if you tell them to do something they will switch off straight away. Luckily most poses have very fun names such as butterfly pose, cobra pose or happy baby pose, bring these names into what you are doing and you could even make the noises of the animals the poses are named after to keep things interesting.
2. Take it outdoors - the great thing about yoga is that you can do it pretty much anywhere which means if you’re starting to feel like your home is providing too many distractions for your little ones or just becoming a little bit repetitive, why not head to the park with a picnic and yoga mat and do it outside in the fresh air and sunshine?
3. YouTube is a great tool. Now I wouldn't normally encourage screens when you’re trying to do something mindful or relaxing, but Cosmic Kids Yoga is a fantastic channel which is free and especially for children. Their videos are easy to follow and are a hit with even very small children. YouTube in general can be a treasure trove for yoga videos, offering full 30-day yoga plans for free which really helps make yoga accessible for families. If you have a busy routine and cannot make it to a yoga studio, this tool will help keep things fun and fresh.
4. Practise in front of them - as they say, we are our children's first teachers and what we do they follow, so if you’re keen to improve your own yoga skills then make sure to practice while your kids are around. It will usually help to spark their interest in what you are doing. As I mentioned before have an open door policy on how much they want to do, keep a spare mat next to you so if they want to get involved show them how to unroll it and let them know they can join in as and when they want.
5. Invite friends to get involved and let your child take the lead. Once you have perfected a few basic poses why not let your child throw their own yoga party with their friends and make it a fun and unique play-date. As they say the more the merrier.
6. Get the school involved - I feel very lucky that my son’s school allocates time each week for group yoga and mindfulness and they are finding both of these very effective. Both have fantastic benefits with children becoming more focused and alert and it is certainly something that could be put forward to your local school.
If you really want yoga to become a family activity then why not make it something that becomes part of your weekly routine? Perhaps all trying Sun Salutations on a Sunday morning together before tackling the day. The great thing about yoga is that it’s accessible for all levels of fitness and abilities and besides needing a yoga style mat and some comfortable loose clothing, you need very little to get started.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out our list of 100 great indoor activities!