Hey, Miko friends! Roll out your mats, because it’s World Yoga Day this weekend!
The first thing that probably comes to mind when we think of yoga is either stoic, tranquil yogis on a mountaintop or women in a sunny, crowded studio somewhere in California. Sounds relaxing, but did you know that more kids than ever are practicing yoga? According to Harvard, about 3% of kids are hitting yoga mats, and the number is growing by the day.
The truth is, yoga is for everyone! But getting your kids on the yoga mat might be a bit of a challenge. Yoga isn’t just about bending your body like a game of Twister; it’s about mental discipline. The word “yoga” refers to a union between the mind and body, promoting peace and mindfulness.
And that union can bring significant wellness benefits for kids at any age. Read on for more about the benefits of yoga for kids and how to get them started with this healthy mind-body practice.
Improved balance. Enhanced aerobic capacity. A boost to both memory and self-esteem. Yoga brings wellness benefits at all ages, but a growing body of research is focusing on the power of yoga practice for children.
“Yoga provides children with multi-sensory mindful movement and self regulation skill development,” says Quiara Smith, a holistic and integrative pediatric pelvic health occupational therapist with extensive kids yoga training. “[It] offers children an opportunity to build physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual strength and resilience.”
Renu Kharkar, a Yoga Shastri accredited yoga instructor and Miko’s content manager, agrees. She says, “Yoga helps children understand concepts like body awareness, right postures, pranayama or breath regulation, preparedness, steadiness, relaxation, etc., and their importance in living a better life.”
So how early is too early to start kids on yoga? According to Smith, there’s no such thing: “I often have parents start practicing yoga with their infants to strengthen the caregiving bond. Exposing children to yoga and providing opportunities for yoga practice in early childhood sets children up for better motor coordination, social emotional skills and so many other benefits throughout childhood.”
OK, so we know yoga has a ton of benefits. But what are some of the best methods for teaching it to children? To encourage your little yogi, start with these five tips.
The learning and memory centers in a child's brain are more stimulated when they see and experience things rather than reading or listening about them. You can model healthy habits for your kids through your own yoga practice. They may be inspired to copy you, or get interested in yoga thanks to your example.2. Make it fun
Yoga might not be the most exciting proposition for kids. But what about…superhero training!? Use your imagination to plant some needs of curiosity. Let them know they could be flexible like Elastigirl, or as strong and solid as Superman (within reason, of course; we’re not Kryptonian).3. Pick great poses
Use yoga poses like cat pose, camel pose and tree pose to infuse your yoga practice with some imagination. Move like an animal, jump on a ship to set sail, or pretend that you’re a tree! Connecting each pose to something fun and relatable will help your child enjoy yoga and stick with it.
Cosmic Kids on Miko Max does just that! With enjoyable lessons created by friendly and engaging instructors, there’s something for everyone. Check it out on Miko Max or get a 7-day free trial (open on mobile) through the Miko Parent App if you’re not subscribed!
“Children enjoy stretching and bending exercises, as well as performing animal poses,” says Kharkar. “Making them do eye exercises can be a lot of fun, given the various combinations of eye movements. Getting them to sit and practice pranayam [breathing exercises] can be a bit of a challenge but certainly fun to watch.”
Yoga is meditative, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Music, like yoga, can also soothe the nerves and help you concentrate, so it combines perfectly with your yoga practice! Anything that makes the activity more enjoyable, while adding to its overall benefits, is a definite win.5. Get a cool mat
You can consider letting your kid pick out a mat decorated with their favorite characters or designs. Having equipment that you like goes a long way toward helping to build a new habit by making it enjoyable. Check out this roundup of yoga mats for kids to get some fresh ideas!
Miko makes building healthy new habits fun! The Cosmic Kids Talent on Miko Max is constantly adding new poses that are reinforced through games and activities, meaning building a mindfulness practice early is always a new adventure. Cosmic Kids has partnered with us to bring their expert trainers right into your home to help kids foster a passion for yoga!
Subscribe to Miko Max now (open on mobile) or start your 7-day free trial to get started today!