Children and Yoga
When we are younger the thought is “I can’t wait until I’m an adult!” There at a younger age we think that being able to make all of our own decisions is going to be the best thing to ever happen because no one is dictating what, when, and how we are going to do something. We hit adulthood and life allows us to do just what we always wanted to do, make all the decisions. The decisions start rolling in: Which field of study to do in college? How are we going to pay for college? Which job do I accept? Which person do I date? Where will I Iive? The list continues and thankfully we tend to find the answers from prior experiences, advice from other, and/or taking chances. Soon some would say this “adulting thing” is starting to be a bit challenging. This is true for some children also.
Children currently have multiple activities they participate in. This will require them to practice for many hours so that he or she can be successful in those activities. Some children relocate multiple times because of the line of work the parents do or because they are in a military family. Even being liked in school. All of these stressors can somewhat be lightened with yoga and mindfulness.
This can start in the home as part of a family routine. Parents who already have a yoga practice can teach their children what they know about yoga. If the parent’s style of yoga is vinyasa, the way the poses are connected to the breath, can be demonstrated to the children. This can be done in a fun manner if the children are young. Examples of this would be having the children crawl underneath quickly while in downward facing dog before you transition to the next pose. With legs together in the air with flat feet, allow your child to rest on your feet and pretend to be an airplane. Children can rest on your back while in child’s pose to serve as a way to deepen the stretch. For older children, allow them to do the practice with you. This could also serve as a bonding opportunity that has health benefits that can be carried into your child’s adult life.
Mindfulness could be done with your children also. Setting aside time each day for you and your children to have quiet time even if it is for five minutes which will allow the chatter and your children to calm down. This can be done on your child’s favorite blanket, pillow, or yoga pillow. If your child is really young you can have them sit in your lap quietly as you cuddle them for as long as they sit quietly. This can be done also through guided meditation so that the children have something to focus on and hep acquire active listening skills. Through guided meditations children can began to view themselves in a positive light if they have low self-esteem, limiting beliefs, or needing affirmations about themselves.
These different ideas aren’t the cure all for children who have low self esteem or who are stressed. These are different additional strategies to help children navigate as they continue to grow into productive citizens. Hopefully having additional strategies will help the children cope as adults when it’s time to make decisions and make this “adulting things” less stressful.