Today is the first day of school for Chicago Public Schools and although we had a very fun and busy summer, we are all craving structure. During the summer I tried to incorporate yoga into my kid's days, hoping to instill some habits they can use in school. There are many benefits of yoga for all and I hope my second and fourth grader will utilize them during their time in the classroom, on the playground and at home.
Deep breaths help the body to reset.
I imagine it can be stressful to be in a crowded and hot room with 30 other children for seven hours. I encourage my little ones to take a few deep breaths when they are angry, worried or overwhelmed.
A good way to teach kids to inhale and exhale is by explaining, "Pretend you are smelling a flower as you breathe in, blow out an imaginary birthday candle as you exhale." With time, they can try to make each breath as long as they possible. It is incredible how big of a difference in mood a few breaths can make.
Body confidence is important to learn at a young age.
It breaks my heart to hear my rapidly growing nine-year-old say he is fat. Yoga poses teach kids (and adults) to feel strong, capable and love their bodies.
Yoga is healing.
Many ailments including anxiety, growing pains, allergies and pain can be alleviated through yoga. The euphoric feeling of contentment post yoga, teaches us all how beneficial it is to both the body and mind.
A few poses to try with kids.
Simple forward folds warm up the muscles a get the blood flowing.
Tree pose is a fun pose to work on balance and grounding.
Bow (or basket pose as my daughter calls it) opens the heart and improves posture.
I often reflect on how yoga has drastically changed my life and how I wish I had these tools when I was younger. I remember feeling insecure and know that yoga could have provided me confidence during my challenging pre-teen years.
Yoga doesn't have to be in a formal setting and can be done anywhere with or without a mat. Sometimes simply stopping to slow down and reconnect can be helpful.
What age did you begin practicing yoga? Do you do yoga with your kids? Can you see the benefits?
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