By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
What can children and parents gain from practicing Yoga together? When should I start teaching Yoga to my son or daughter? What about Mommy and Me classes? Let’s cover a bit of ground, and establish some realistic expectation for parents and children.
What can children and parents gain from practicing Yoga together? “The sky is the limit,” as they say. Children and parents need more bonding time. We need to eat together and find activities that solidify our relationships. Mommy and Me Yoga classes offer a chance for families to bond, while children are impressionable.
Like any activity, Yoga can be practiced at an early age. As long as Yoga practice is supervised, and the teacher is knowledgeable, parent and child will benefit in many ways. Parents who have no knowledge of Yoga should consider toddler classes or the Mommy and Me Yoga classes.
Classes should be divided according to age. For example – Children who are one to two years of age could be separated from the two to four years of age group. Below twelve months of age, most children are in the watching stage.
Some babies will copy what they see, and you should never expect too much from any child. Children will learn Yoga much better in a patient environment. There should not be a deadline for the time it takes a child to learn aspects of Yoga. Children have a lifetime to learn the many benefits of Yoga. Surprisingly, most children of all ages will demonstrate Yoga techniques they learn at home.
When should I start teaching Yoga to my son or daughter Yoga? Any time is fine, as long as you make it fun. For parents, this is the beginning of learning how to guide without discouraging. Yoga will teach children life skills, such as stress reduction, anger management, goal setting, and enhance athletic ability.
What about Mommy and Me classes? If you have a Mommy and Me Yoga class in your area, it is worth signing up. Parents should let the Yoga instructor lead the class. This seems obvious, but you would be surprised how often parents can be counter productive to children’s activities.
Mommy and Me Yoga classes will contain many of the following aspects: Yoga music, kids music, singing, basic Pranayama, coloring books, theme Yoga classes, Asanas, mixing dance movement with Yoga, drawing with crayons, story telling, Yoga games, focusing drills, relaxation techniques, meditation, and lots of fun.
There are many Yoga books, DVD’s, card decks, coloring books, and Yoga music CD’s for children. With so much to choose from, a child’s attention can be harnessed for constructive purposes. The greatest benefit of all for children is the ability to control their own attention span.
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