Childhood is the developmental stage between birth and adolescence when vital changes occur. As a parent, you can support your child through this period of growth with yoga. Using simple yoga breathing, poses, and relaxation techniques as a part of your parenting can help plant the seeds for a lifetime of health and wellness.

Yoga can support your child’s development in five ways: physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and academically.

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1. Physically

Children explore body movements and build spatial awareness through yoga. Yoga develops motor skills by giving students ample opportunities to practice movement, balance, and hand-eye coordination.

2. Mentally

A highly desirable skill, creativity is a marker of success in the modern workforce. Creativity is a natural part of learning that is directly related to innovation. Bring your yoga poses to life by creating stories that can engage your child’s imagination while challenging students to creatively participate in the story.  We love to take our children on a Yoga Jungle Safari by having them warm up with their lion breath before they turn into magical yoga snakes and giant amazon yoga trees.

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Lion Breath

Instructions:

  1. Begin seated in your chair. Make sure both feet are touching the floor and you are sitting up tall in your body. Imagine you are a lion waiting to pounce. Inhale through your nose.
  2. Exhale with a roar, opening your mouth wide and stick your tongue out, bringing your hands to your face.

3. Emotionally

Yoga teaches self-awareness, self-regulation, and stress reduction. Students learn how to respond reflectively rather than reactively to life’s challenges. Yoga also nurtures emotional intelligence as students learn to consult their intuition when faced with complex life situations.

4. Socially

Yoga teaches children to successfully navigate their emotional selves in order to build and maintain relationships with others. When you feel happy and well with yourself, you have well behaved children. When you feel down and out you have poorly behaved children. The same goes for your children, when they are better able to understand and regulate their own emotions they become happy little humans which allows them to connect and relate better to you, their siblings and friends.

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5. Academically

Yoga increases your child’s readiness to learn. Learning readiness involves attention, motivation, curiosity, and decreased stress and anxiety. Yoga primes students for learning in many ways. Breathing exercises and yoga postures direct students’ awareness, attention, and motivation, while dynamic sequences engage multiple networks throughout the brain (Ratey, 2008). Relaxation provides students with tools to let go of stress and anxiety. As a physical activity, yoga also increases oxygen-rich blood in the brain, which improves brain function. What’s even better about yoga as a tool for parenting  is that it can be done on a mat or in a chair depending on your own personal experience with yoga. Check out Balloon Breathing, a simple breathing exercise that can be done right in your chair at home.

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Balloon Breath

Instructions:

  1. Begin seated in your chair. Make sure both feet are touching the floor and you are sitting up tall in your body.
  2. Place one or both hands on your belly and breathe deeply. Inhale, feeling your belly rise.
  3. Exhale, feeling your belly lower and contract.

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Citations

*Ratey, J., & Hagerman, E. (2008). Spark: The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain. New York: Little, Brown.