Yoga is usually thought of as an adult's method of exercise, but it can benefit children as well. Besides being an effective way to fulfill daily physical activity requirements, it can help kids become more coordinated and improve concentration as your child practices the various poses. By retooling certain poses and presenting them in a youthful way, you can create yoga lesson plans for kids that keep them engaged. Yoga may be a lifelong love for your child if you create the right foundation.
Just like any other type of physical exercise, proper preparation is the key to a safe and comfortable workout. Ensure that your child or the children you're teaching are ready for class by asking them to use the bathroom. Ask for children to wear comfortable clothes that they can move around in and avoid hanging jewelry. Each child should have a water bottle and mat, along with any other aids you may want to use during class.
Lead the children in a variety of stretches that help to ready their bodies for yoga. Start by having the children sit on the mat with the bottoms of their feet together. Stretch each of the major muscle groups, including the legs, abdominals, arms, and neck and back. Light running can also ready a child's body for yoga, so try playing a quick game of tag around the room, if possible. Then have children complete a few breathing exercises to calm down and begin the workout.
Certain poses are especially appropriate for children because they are easy to understand and achieve. Choose poses for your lesson that can be easily visualized, like those based upon animals or familiar objects. For instance, Tree pose is easy for kids to replicate. While demonstrating poses, talk about the object or animal to get the best posture from the children as possible. When doing the Cat pose, talk about cats, the sounds they make and the way they move. While in Lion's pose, ask the kids to roar like a lion.
Children's yoga doesn't always need to be about the poses. By adding games into your lesson, you'll engage the children while proving that yoga can be a fun way to stay fit. For instance, you could create a yoga obstacle course made from yoga training aids at difference stations. When a child comes to a certain obstacle, he must do the proper pose before moving on. Or play "Yogi Says," a version of Simon Says, suggests The Kids Yoga Resources website.
- Yoga Journal: Yoga for Kids
- Yoga Games for Children: Fun and Fitness With Postures, Movements and Breath": Danielle Bersma, Marjoke Visscher
- The Kids Yoga Resource: Halloween Yoga Adventure -- a Themed Kid's Yoga Class