Incorporating yoga movement into everyday life for kids
There are both physical and mental benefits for practising yoga.
As children are pretty flexible, yoga will help in promoting and improving general posture, all this whilst children learn to use their muscles in new, unique ways.
Sitting, standing or lying down, each pose helps to challenge muscles within the body while also stimulating the mind.
The build up of self-esteem develops a child’s confidence. When a child masters a pose, it gives a sense of gratitude which is all attached to personal self-development.
Practising yoga poses daily or even weekly helps encourage children to clear their mind and focus. This helps in other areas of learning too.
One 2017 study showed that in children with ADHD, their attention and reaction time improved after 8 weeks of practising yoga twice per week.
The findings suggest this activity can be an effective complementary therapy in addition to medication and psychological treatments, such as therapy.
The great thing about yoga is that we can all benefit in some way.
Below, Sammy has recommended some beginner yoga poses that your child can incorporate to assist in their overall wellbeing.
1) Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanansana)
**Please only ever do what you feel comfortable doing without causing physical pain, people with weakened ankles, shoulders, and wrists should avoid the downward dog pose.**
• Relieves stress and energises the body
• Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, ankles and wrists
• Can stimulate blood flow
• Improves posture
- Get down on all fours. Start on the floor with your hands shoulder-width apart, with your shoulders above your wrists...
Lift your knees. Next, tuck your toes against the mat or ground, using that leverage to extend your legs and lift both knees into the air...
2) Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)
**Do not do this if any hip, knee, or shoulder injury, or if you are experiencing diarrhoea or high blood pressure.**
• Opens your chest and lungs
• Improves balance and stability
• Improves blood circulation
- Stand in a wide position with your feet parallel and approximately three feet apart. Extend your arms straight out from your sides...
- Turn your left foot out 90 degrees, then bend your knee into a lunge. Be sure to keep your knee above your ankle and pointing over your toes.
3) Child Pose (Balasana)
**Avoid this if any injury or recent surgery done at the ankles, shoulder, knee joints or hip joints**
• Gently stretches hips, thighs, ankle
• Relieves back and neck pain
• Calms the brain and relieves stress
- Kneel on the floor with your toes together and your knees hip-width apart. Rest your palms on top of your thighs...
- On an exhale, lower your torso between your knees. Extend your arms alongside your torso with your palms facing down. Relax your shoulders toward the ground.
Only perform exercises if you are injury-free.