By Dr. Paul Jerard E-RYT 500
Here are some guidelines and realistic expectations for parents, who are considering Yoga for their children. For your child, Yoga is much more than a kid’s fitness class. Just like adults – kids need time to learn to deal with life’s daily pressures, too.
1. Make sure your child starts with easy postures, and be patient with your child’s progress. Some beginner children can often be more flexible than advanced adult practitioners, but they don’t know their own limitations.
2. Discover your child’s real passions. When your child wants to go to Yoga class, it is much better than what you want for your child. This is not to say that you should avoid guidance. However, it is not advisable to push a child into a class, if your child does not enjoy it – no matter how popular Yoga may be. All children are different, and what is good for one of your children, may not agree with another.
3. Encourage your child to see the deeper benefits of Yoga: Learning to live within the moment, and appreciating the present situation, instead of focusing on desires, these are built-in mental assets of Yoga practice. Enhanced concentration skills are another benefit that will result in improved academic performance.
4. Look for a qualified Yoga instructor, who has experience in teaching children. Make sure the child’s instructor has adequate experience.
5. Watch your child practice, with his or her, Yoga teacher, and make sure you are comfortable with the environment, policies, and safety guidelines. Rules and discipline policies are usually in place so that each child can learn and get the most out of his or her experience.
6. For your child’s safety at home: Parents who are not familiar with Yoga training, should not let their “beginner children” practice anything beyond beginner techniques, without a competent instructor’s approval. Once your child’s instructor gives approval of home practice, you are fine. This one safety factor should encourage parents to learn Yoga, practice with their children, and live a healthy life.
7. A smaller kid’s class is actually better than a larger one. This insures that your child’s instructor can pay close attention to each student during practice session.
8. Price should not be the top factor in choosing your child’s Yoga instructor. Would you choose the cheapest dentist, clothes, or bike, for your child? Very often, “you get what you pay for.”
9. Lastly, with steady practice, you should expect to see your child gradually gain self-esteem, stress management tools, self discipline, enhanced academic performance, and improved athletic skills.