By training the body to hold different poses your child can improve their flexibility. Here are 5 asanas to start with
Stretching increases blood flow to all parts of our body and prevents aches and pains that creep up unexpectedly from holding us back. Teaching children to pay attention to their bodies and working on flexibility at a young age can go a long way and benefit them all the way into adulthood. It’s a really easy self-care practice to incorporate into their schedules.
Yoga is an easy way to get your child started. Along with improving their memory and attention, yoga is a great way to reduce muscle tension. Even if your child is already active and enjoys dance or sports can help improve their flexibility, agility and skill.
Whether your child is doing yoga as their core physical activity or supplementing it with others (like dance, fitness, martial arts, sport, etc.), here are some stretches to get them started:
Also known as the Butterfly Pose, Baddha Konasana is usually done sitting down on the ground and trying to get your knees to touch the floor. This helps improve flexibility in the inner thighs and as well as your hip flexors. It’s a great warm-up exercise to get your child going before an intensive activity session.
Popularly known as the Cobra Pose, Bhujangasana is done lying on your stomach with your hands on your side and pushing up to stretch your back. This asana is a great way to improve spinal mobility and flexibility, especially if your child has been sitting in one position all day long.
The Paschimottanasana, or Seated Forward Bend, is another floor exercise. It is done by bringing your head close to your knees and stretching out back muscles as well as hamstrings. The Paschimottanasana releases tension in the back that builds up if your child has been in one posture all day or engaged in an activity that requires exerting a lot of back strength like dancing or swimming.
The Standing Forward Bend,or Prasarita Padottanasana, is an alternative to the previous asanas but is performed standing. It helps to improve flexibility in the back and hamstrings and works on body balance by sending blood to your neck, shoulders, and head. This in turn helps your child relax their upper body and let go of any stress in their jaws, head, or neck.
The Adho Mukhswansasna, also known as the Downward Dog Pose, is a very popular one. It’s usually a part of the Surya Namaskara sequence but children can do it by itself as well. The asana requires putting all your weight on your wrists and ankles so your body can improve overall flexibility and mobility, while also engaging your core. At first, it might look like your child is wobbling and struggling to find balance. But once they gain control of their breath, use their core muscles, and focus, it gets easier to enjoy the benefits of this posture.
Sometimes these poses may seem challenging at first. But over time, your child will discover their body becoming strong and more capable of holding these asanas for longer periods. Here are the major benefits of having your child incorporate yoga in their exercise routine:
- Stretching can reduce tension between the muscles because it ensures that blood gets distributed evenly to all parts of their body
- Stretching releases tension that would otherwise make your child’s body susceptible to injuries and slow down recovery time
- Yoga teaches children to breathe and relax their muscles through various asanas