3 Tips for Parents to Introduce Yoga to Their Kids

3 Tips for Parents to Introduce Yoga to Their Kids

The popularity of yoga among children is increasing in the United States, with more than 8 percent of youngsters (4.9 million) practicing yoga in 2018, up from about 3 percent in 2012.

Parents, caretakers, teachers, and grandparents can capitalize on this trending yoga boom to enhance children’s health and well-being. Children of all ages and sizes and varying degrees of athletic abilities can practice yoga, a noncompetitive form of exercise.

One way to keep children engaged in a home yoga practice is to make it fun for them. If kids enjoy their yoga practice, they will stay engaged with it and reap its benefits of fitness, concentration, and relaxation.

A fun global event that can help parents introduce their children to this form of exercise is International Kids’ Yoga Day (www.kidsyogaday.com), which happens annually in the spring. This year, your little warrior can practice yoga along with tens of thousands of children all around the world on Friday, April 9. No prior yoga experience is necessary to participate in this free event.

Another strategy to maintain children’s interest in yoga is to encourage them to express their creativity and imagination while practicing the poses. For example, to enliven table pose, you can use plastic plates and food to “set” the child’s “table.” Other ways to spark the imagination of children is by having them say “Moo” in cow pose or leap like frogs and say “Ribbit” in frog pose.

While yoga is often perceived as a passive activity, it is an engaging form of exercise. As peaceful and centering as yoga can be, children also benefit from its physical strengthening as maintaining the poses requires effort from young muscles. Following these three basic guidelines will ensure that your children get off to a solid
start with their yoga practice:

  • Pick a quiet place to do yoga. Practicing on a yoga mat or towel helps ground children and creates a personal space in which to do the poses. Encourage kids to hold the poses from 8 to 15 seconds to start. As children get more proficient, they can slowly increase the time spent holding the postures.
  • Remind children to breathe in and out through the nose while in the poses. Nasal breathing increases lung capacity and helps prevent the fight-or-flight response that occurs from mouth breathing.
  • Encourage children to practice yoga poses at their own pace and rest at any time. It is best not to adjust children in the poses; rather, let them feel the postures in a way that makes sense for their own bodies. There is no magic number of poses to practice to get the most out of yoga. Just sitting cross-legged and breathing can be enough yoga for one day.

By introducing yoga to children, parents are paving the way for a lifelong tradition of health and fitness in their little warriors. Practicing simple yoga postures is the ideal way for kids to naturally unwind and get physical activity at the same time.

Teresa Power

Teresa Anne Power is an internationally recognized yoga expert and author of two award-winning series, Little Mouse Adventures and the ABCs of Yoga for Kids. Her mission is to share strategies and tips to help children, parents, and educators enrich their lives and manage stress. Teresa has been featured on Good Morning America, in Parenting and Reader’s Digest, on Fox11 LA, Telemundo, CBS LA, and other media outlets. She is also the founder of International Kids’ Yoga Day, a free celebration of yoga that takes place annually in the spring.