What is Yoga for Preschoolers?
Kids yoga in childcare benefits preschoolers in much the same way it does adults. It doesn’t matter much what age we are, we all suffer from forms of tension and stress.. Using yoga techniques to help children manage these stressors can promote calmness as well as learning discipline, self control and gaining some form of relaxation.
The main benefits of yoga for kids
1. The Cognitive Benefits
The benefits of yoga for children in a cognitive sense are many. These include
- An improvement in concentration, as yoga requires the participant to focus on the yoga instructor, so that they keep instep with everyone else in the group. This requirement helps the child to learn how to concentrate.
- Better memory retention which in turn leads to greater learning capacity. Yoga gets the blood pumping, increasing the circulation of oxygen around the body, leading to better oxygen supply to the brain. The bran requires at least 20% of the body’s entire oxygen supply in order to function at optimum levels.
- Reduced levels of anxiety and stress as yoga teaches the child to be in the present and to experience things objectively rather than subjectively. This concept is known as mindfulness and practicing this concept can help with regulating emotions.
- Improved sleep patterns as yoga helps to promote lengthening of breath as well as relaxation techniques.
- One of the spin offs of regular yoga practice is that the resultant improvement in both physical and emotional health results in improved confidence. Yoga presents children with a range of new challenges and skills to master. One of the great things about yoga is that there are levels of progression through each yoga movement and progress can always be made for every participant according to their ability. Simple achievements like being able to touch toes or assume a new pose are empowering and liberating.
2. The physical benefits
The physical benefits of yoga for kids are many and varied. The most important of these are -:
- Helps to improve strength as yoga requires participants to support their body while they assume various positions. While yoga is not promoted as a strength building discipline, it does help strengthen muscles and posture.
- Yoga promotes balance throughout the body and this helps to support joints and may help to reduce the likelihood of sports type injuries.
- Growing bones tend to cause a certain lack of flexibility in children. This causes them to resent traditional stretching exercises that can often be quite painful. Yoga with kids allows a gentler approach which helps them to ease into the stretch rather than forcing it. This helps children to become more flexible and comfortable with their bodies.
- Many of the traditional yoga poses are quite challenging and require limited contact with the ground. This helps to develop a sense of balance. Yoga is also performed in bare feet which helps with the use of many foot and ankle muscles that usually are supported by footwear.
- Helps to develop the senses as yoga practice helps people to focus on their own body and what is happening within it.
- The focus on being helps children to understand their own body and helps with body positivity.
How to teach yoga to preschoolers
Yoga for preschoolers can be taught if you introduce it gradually.
You can introduce yoga to preschoolers by incorporating some of the simplest yoga asanas (poses) into group time. Other good times to consider would include transition times and just prior to rest time.
Kids yoga benefits can be best taught by following these basic principles
- Simple yoga asanas should be introduced for short time periods of one minute or less initially.
- Children should be encouraged to do the postures in the right way.
- It helps to demonstrate the posture, so that children can see what they should like.
- Get the whole group involved by telling a yoga story that incorporates the actions of yoga asanas – it’s a great way to encourage involvement and enjoyment. .
- Use games – like musical yoga and yoga cards to make yoga accessible. .
- Encourage enjoyment
Yoga can help to teach children how mind and body are interconnected as well as how to develop self awareness. Yoga practice can engage children and keep them focussed while all the while having fun are engaged, focused, having fun. This focus and engagement helps the to be truly in the present. It helps them to become more self aware of mind and body and encourages a degree of caution in every situation
Kids yoga also benefits children in teaching them that despite physical, cultural or religious differences that we all are the same on the inside. We all live, breathe, love and get emotional in bodies that function the same way. Besides the obvious physical and cognitive benefits that yoga offers it also encourages kindness, patience, acceptance and empathetic behaviour between children and their peers.