Yoga With Kids
In addition to physical benefits like improved balance and coordination and mental benefits like better concentration, yoga offers an opportunity to spend quality time with your child while improving her vocabulary. Having a large vocabulary and understanding the meaning behind words leads to reading success and achievement later in school. Introducing children to a variety of words is important, so take a moment to tell your child how the poses make you feel or what animals they remind you of. This is a good time to introduce words like reach, twist, calm, relaxed, energized, strong, flexible, inhale, and exhale. How many words can you and your child think of to describe the poses, or asanas? Be sure to give your child a few extra seconds to think of answers to your questions. Young children need time to process questions and formulate a reply, especially when they are upside down or balancing on one foot!
If you are unfamiliar with yoga, grab a book from the library. A few great ones to read with kids are My Daddy is a Pretzel by Baron Baptiste, You Are a Lion!: And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo, and Little Yoga: A Toddler's First Book of Yoga by Rebecca Whitford. Many children enjoy books that encourage movement like these yoga books.
Most importantly, keep safety in mind. Yoga, like any physical activity, can lead to injury, so be sure to talk to your child about his limits. Let him know that yoga is all about listening to your body, so if a position hurts, stop.