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Using simple yoga and mindfulness techniques can benefit children massively. It helps them in their daily lives to develop healthy techniques to manage their emotional wellbeing. Yoga is a way of connecting both the mind and body to nurture a sense of calm, creativity, resilience. It encourages a positive sense of self. Stress and anxiety are words we would usually reserve for adults. However, in these uncertain times, children are also feeling the strain. There are many ways that we can help to support children emotionally and to equip them for life’s challenges.
I have always loved yoga and how accessible it is for everyone. Yoga is not about perfection. It is a safe space for everyone to take time out and to learn techniques to find peace and relaxation. Children’s lives can be very busy, and they can be under a lot of pressure to achieve goals. Therefore, it is important to allow them some downtime. Allowing them to check in with themselves, to understand how they are feeling, to breathe, and to regulate their emotions.
Breathing and Relaxation
Taking time out to practice some simple breathing exercises allows the mind to feel calmer. Allowing children to become more present. We can often take breathing for granted. Encouraging children to be aware of their breath will help them to become more in control of their emotions. Helping them to manage their stress levels is an important foundation of their overall wellbeing.
A lovely way to introduce your children to some relaxation time is to incorporate it into their bedtime routine. Listening to a guided meditation or simply focusing on the sound of their breath is an effective pre-bedtime calming routine.
Here are some ideas for you to try at home with your kids:
Bees happily hum their day away visiting flowers and making honey.
Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out keep your face relaxed and hum like a bee. While you breathe think about something that makes you feel happy.
Try closing your eyes and place one finger on your lips to see if you can feel the vibrations. You can repeat this breath 3 times.
Find a nice comfortable place to lie down with a pillow and a blanket. Gently close your eyes and place your hands on your tummy. As you breathe in through your mouth feel your tummy grow and expand. Then as you breathe out through your mouth feel your tummy get smaller. Relax your arms down and feel your body melt into the floor as you become relaxed and sleepy. Tune in to all of the sounds around you, inside and outside. Notice what sounds you can hear?
Yoga also has many physical benefits helping children to gain strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. It encourages children to be mindful of their body. They learn to understand how their bodies move and discover which poses they like. They can also gain a real sense of achievement by mastering tricky poses that require practice. Using playful stories and fun activities is a wonderful way to introduce yoga poses to young children.
We often associate yoga with poses, breath work and meditations. However, yoga is also about finding helpful ways to become more present and mindful in our daily lives. Children’s minds just like adults can become easily filled with busy thoughts. Practicing mindfulness can help children to gently put their thoughts to one side. While they focus on what is happening right now. This can be as simple as encouraging your children to focus on one thing at a time. For example, taking a walk together and tuning into your senses. Noticing what you can see around you, what you can hear and smell.
If we can integrate some really simple yoga practices into children’s lives at home and in school. We can help them to manage their emotional well-being, which will help prepare them for life’s challenges now and in the future.
To help parents and schools during these difficult times I have been creating some yoga videos. There are breathing exercises, meditations, yoga poses and stories aimed at children aged 2-7 years old. All free and available for everyone to access.
“So let’s keep our children’s minds and bodies healthy and calm with a little bit of yoga.”
Amy Godhard is a passionate children’s yoga teacher and early years practitioner. Amy has a degree in Early Years Education, with 10 years of experience working with children between the ages of 2 and 7. Through her experience of working in different school environments, she developed a deep interest in children’s emotional health and well-being. Amy is now running her own Yoga business called Buttercup Yoga for Children. You can contact Amy through her website for more information, ideas, or resources on how to integrate yoga into your children’s lives.
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