Kids and yoga. There’s a combination most parents never think of. And who can blame them?
Yoga is supposed to bring a sense of calm into our lives. Those moments of clarity are precious to any grownup. But for the little ones, let’s just say mindfulness isn’t at the top of their list of exciting activities.
They would much rather run around, climb a swing, play hide and seek, or do anything with just a hint of excitement. So it’s normal to think that yoga isn’t suited for kids. But science says otherwise.
Several recent studies have shown that yoga is great for both the mental and physical wellbeing of children. In fact, kids who practice yoga at least once a week enjoy a multitude of benefits.
So let’s look at seven scientifically proven benefits of yoga for kids.
1. Better Gross Motor Skills
The great thing about yoga is that it allows us to build our strength and endurance while relaxing our minds.
By trying out all the different yoga positions, your child can significantly improve his strength, balance, flexibility, coordination, and muscle tone. All of these contribute to a dramatic improvement in gross motor skills.
As a result, not only will your little one feel calm and relaxed, but he’ll also crawl, walk, and run better than ever.
2. Better Fine Motor Skills
For speeding up the development of fine motor skills, we recommend trying yoga poses that require your child to balance his body weight on his hands.
Such poses not only strengthen the muscles of our arms, hands, and forearms, but also help build our “intrinsic muscles”— the tiny muscles we need for tasks that require precise hand control. Think of things like tying knots, lacing shoes, or even writing.
3. Better Behavior
As kids work on perfecting their yoga poses and clearing their minds, they learn to control both their thoughts and actions. This routine practice can help them develop a much better control over their emotions and impulses.
Now, we’re not saying that your child will turn into a peaceful monk who never loses his cool. But you’ll notice that as your kid gets better and better at yoga, he’ll naturally present his best self more often.
4. Less Anxiety
You’ve probably heard this a million times. The deep breaths and light stretches of yoga can relax and relieve your body of stress.
The good news is that yoga can do the same for your little one too. As your child learns to focus on his breath and the position of his body, he’ll pick up practical tricks to release stress and anxiety as needed.
5. More Self Esteem
Perhaps the biggest benefit of yoga for kids is that it can do wonders for their self-esteem.
When a child perfects a pose or notices an improvement in his balance, flexibility, or strength, he gains confidence and gets a sense of personal empowerment.
6. Improved Emotional Regulation
The importance of emotional regulation can’t be overstated. That’s because mastering these skills can boost performance, enrich relationships, uplift health, and lead to a better quality of life.
The good news is that emotional regulation skills can be greatly improved from an early age. In fact, it’s better to start practicing at a young age than later.
Since yoga teaches kids how to focus on the present and let go of everything else, it helps them get better at regulating their emotions with each session.
So if your child lets emotions get the best of him, give yoga a shot. It could make a lasting difference in his life.
7. Improved Memory and Concentration
Last but not least are the improvements in memory and concentration.
Between mastering the rhythm of breathing in and out, perfecting all the different poses, and then keeping an eye on form at all times, yoga is nothing if not a workout for the mind, especially the little ones.
So it’s only a matter of time before all that practice pays off in the form of sharper concentration and better memory for your child.
A millennium-old workout for both body and mind, yoga can help your child lead a life full of health and happiness. So get your child started with yoga today and help unleash the little yogi within him.