by Shakta Khalsa
Knowing how much good yoga does for you, you can imagine what wonderful gifts it has in store for your children! When I teach people how to share children’s yoga, it might not always look exactly like adult yoga, but the benefits are the same.
Here are just a few of the great benefits of using yoga with children:
1. Emotional Heath:
Your child becomes more aware of how they feel. Through the yoga, breath, and relaxation, they discover how they can work through feelings into a more positive space.
2. Physical health and wellbeing:
Your child gets up off the couch, away from the desk and moves his or her body instead of moving fingers over a keyboard or phone!
3. Brain Tune-up:
Kundalini yoga has so many brain-balancing exercises that activate meridian points to wake up the brain for a more whole brain effect. This translates into clarity, ability to learn and understand academics, good physical and mental coordination.
And the biggest benefit of all…joyful life—something we are all wanting to experience. Children come into life as joyful beings–let’s keep them that way. And if events in their lives have dulled their natural radiance, yoga can help them reclaim it.
A few tips for sharing yoga with children of different ages:
1. Babies and crawlers:
Bicycle legs, cross arms with SA TA NA MA. Lots of eye contact and smiling. Bundle roll baby in a blanket from shoulders downward, and roll back and forth.
2. Toddlers up to 7:
Cat and Cow with moo and meow, downdog and bear walk for releasing frustration. Keep directions simple, repeat same routine each time and add some surprise. Story-time yoga and music that engages works well with this age. I highly recommend my book, Fly Like A Butterfly, and the music from Happy and Cozy CDs.
Make the yoga relevant by helping them understand how each pose will help them; “These shoulder rolls will help release tension from carrying your backpack every day. You can do it in school when your shoulders need it.”
Begin to do Breath of Fire and Sat Kriya to transform energy from negative to positive, from tired to energized. The yoga looks more adult-like as they become true teenagers. A couple great sets for this age: “To Relieve Inner Anger” and “Strengthening the Aura” from my book, Kundalini Yoga. Make sure to do warm-ups first–teens generally have tight hamstrings, lower back, and hips.
Shakta Khalsa has been a leader in children’s yoga for over 40 years. In collaboration with Kundalini Yoga U, she created this workshop to share the tools you need to create a yoga practice for children that will help them release energy, bring mental focus and body awareness, and most of all, to have FUN while doing it!