How to get children excited about yoga

The biggest takeaway from my school experience was that it’s not really about what teachers taught us; it was more about how they taught it to us. The only lessons I remember so well are the ones where teachers were passionate about the subject and always excited to share knowledge with us. The classes that made us curious, investigative, and playful are the ones that continue to stay with us. 

Even though we already understand the benefits of yoga well it can be challenging because we often consider it to be a more traditional form of exercise. But yoga for children and yoga for adults are two different experiences. Yoga for children can be playful and unconventional. For example Rhythmic Yoga, Yoga that explores the ecosystem or encourages cultural awareness are some types of specialised yoga classes geared towards children. It could also be worthwhile to explore them all until your child finds the one that works best for them. 

Try Yoga that involves movement

Stay open to what a yoga practice can play out to be. There is a common image of yoga being only about meditating and remaining still for long periods of time. This isn’t the case for kids, yoga can be a useful tool in channeling all of their energies into various asanas. 

The goal of a yoga class should be to get children excited and curious about their bodies and minds. This happens when the approach is playful and suited to their age group. What works for adults– like hot yoga or power yoga– may not work for children. 

Bring in an element of storytelling to the practise

Whether that’s asking your child about how their bodies feel after and discussing the science of breathing and stretching their bodies or it’s about cultural histories associated with yoga- make it fun. Give it more depth and context so that the child is engaged on many levels. Stories about the jungle, being underwater, associating them with magical creatures or even by playing brain games during yoga can add a level of excitement to yoga for them. Instead of letting it become just another activity on their schedule, this will get them excited to explore yoga and encourage them to learn more on their own. 

Stay body positive 

Through breathing exercises and various asanas, children learn a lot about how their body works. Yoga teaches children a lot about their physical strengths and weaknesses. Allow for it to be about exploring, de-stressing, and learning new things instead of getting in shape or looking a certain way. Even the smallest of remarks on body image can negatively impact a child’s self-esteem and discourage them from practicing yoga. When exercise and yoga become about achieving an ideal body type, it can create pressure that can make yoga off-putting. Instead yoga can be about improving their creativity and imaginative thinking. Keeping that as the focus of conversations around yoga can reduce some of the pressure on children struggling with body-image issues. 

Last but not least: Get involved! 

Practice yoga around them or with them. It’s always a lot more encouraging to try new things with people and support. When children see their parents diligently practice something, they tend to want to mimic them. Alternatively, you could also invite your child’s friend to try out yoga classes. It could be a fun activity for them to share and bond over. Suggest it to their parents so your child can have a yoga buddy! 

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