The Value of Yoga for Kids
Sharing yoga with my growing family simultaneously developed as teaching yoga became a greater part of my professional life. In 1992, I ended my full-time work as a registered art psychotherapist/family therapist, and established a home-based yoga studio. This enabled me to schedule classes around my children’s schedules and to be home with them full-time throughout their formative years. While I practiced my yoga, my babies and toddlers would play yoga with me, copying me as well as creating their own poses.
We began to regularly practice yoga together. In 1997, I developed and implemented the children’s yoga program in Toronto called YogaBuds™ for Kids. My children continue to practice yoga by themselves or with me and participate in the children’s classes and workshops. They are literally growing up with yoga as a natural and integrated part of their lives.
With today’s frightening reality of childhood obesity combined with an increase in sedentary activities such as computer and videos, as well as the increase in children’s eating disorders, introducing yoga to children at an early age is a wonderful way to help them to exercise, to develop body awareness and a positive self-image. Oftentimes at the dinner table, my children will assess each family member’s posture while ensuring that their own is correct. We all laughingly sit up just a little bit straighter! Children are naturally drawn to the fluid movements in yoga because it is fun, easily accessible, and natural to them as they are always in motion.
When doing yoga, one can’t help but improve with practice. As a result, children feel good about themselves because they derive an immediate sense of accomplishment, and their self-esteem is enhanced. As children become successful at the more advanced poses, their self-confidence increases and their motivation to learn more poses never wanes. Today’s children are faced with so many stressors, and in their fast paced world, they too need to learn how to slow down. Yoga teaches them the invaluable life skills of relaxation and centering. As much as the children are intrigued with yoga, I am intrigued that their favorite pose is the final relaxation pose called “savasana” or corpse pose.