Like adults, our children have their own little stresses. Moving house, starting at a new preschool or childcare, making new friends or when they have to prepare for changes in their little lives like welcoming a new sibling. Like adults, our little learners need healthy ways of dealing with their stress, and when taught at a young age, these practices can assist them throughout their lives.
Yoga is a fantastic tool to help with children’s mind and body wellness – offering benefits in stress management, flexibility, coordination, mindfulness and more! Yoga is part of the Genius Life Skills Program, an element of our curriculum that amplifies little ones' learning about themselves and the world around them.
At Genius, our vision is to be a leading provider of innovative, holistic and personalised childcare and early education in Australia, offering a curriculum which includes and supports the whole person. Read on to discover how mind-body exercise has many incredible advantages for your little learner.
Yoga for Little People
You may ask, what is yoga? How can little people perform it? Yoga is the practice which includes breathing practices as well as poses or 'asanas'. Also described as a moving meditation, yoga is a beautiful way to teach your little one how to slow their body down, meditate, control their breathing and practice mindfulness all in one activity. Mindful exercise for our little ones teaches physical, spiritual and mental relaxation, which benefits our little learners and supports emotional regulation and fine and gross motor skills. Teaching little people mindful movement teaches them to be calm, in control and self-disciplined.
The Benefits of Yoga for Little Learners
The benefits for our little ones are vast, especially those children with impulse control or cognitive challenges. Mind-body exercise can improve behaviour by teaching them to follow instructions and positively reduce their impulses. Breathing and poses give our little ones confidence and builds coordination while strengthening their growing bodies. Yoga and meditation go hand in hand and provide little one’s an outlet when they feel emotional or stressed.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
Physical benefits for growing bodies when practising mindful exercise are incredible, improving their strength and self-awareness. Here are just some of the physical benefits of yoga with little ones:
• Practising postures improves fine and gross motor skills
• Help to enhance the movement of growing joints and muscles
• Builds core strength critical for good posture
• Help to strengthen the right balance between muscle tone and healthy joints
• Weight-bearing poses encourage the retention of calcium which aids in building healthy bones
• Strengthens and supports their little immune systems by reducing stress and stimulating the lymph system, which is their little system which fights viruses and illness.
• The practice of poses encourages balance, coordination and alignment of bones and muscles.
• Teaches body awareness and that it's essential to look after our bodies
• It supports sensory awareness, especially for children with sensory challenges, as it makes them aware of their bodies and minds.
• Yoga can be practised by all body shapes and sizes, giving little learners positive body awareness and image.
Social and Emotional Awareness
Children of all ages sometimes have challenges with social, cognitive and emotional awareness. Mindful exercise teaches self-regulation and understanding of how they feel and is a great outlet when they feel big feelings. Some social and emotional advantages include:
• Increased confidence with communication and speech as voice, humming and listening are practised
• Encourages deep breathing, which assists with emotional regulation as well as improved sleep
• Working in a group improves relationships, social awareness and respect that we are all different in our abilities
• Yoga practice increases little learners' attention span and improves concentration which carries through all activities in their little lives.
• Deep breathing is practised, which circulates more oxygen around the body, improving memory and learning ability.
• The practice of deep breathing teaches little legends the tools to deal with stress and anxiety.
Teaching Little Learners Yoga
The thought of teaching little ones this skill may sound daunting. At Genius, we run our classes with a range of children from different ages and stages. Here are our top tips for teaching yoga to your little one:
• Start small, with one or two poses at a time
• Make it fun by likening the poses to animals or stories
• Tell a yoga story and teach the names of the poses like 'butterfly', 'lotus flower' or 'the tree.'
• Get involved! Demonstrate the posture to your little learner and practice together; a great bonding time.
• Play music while practising and explain why soft, gentle music is important
The mindful movement teaches our little ones how to connect their minds and bodies. When children are focused, having fun and relaxing, it teaches them to be in the moment and practice mindfulness. The advantages are endless; we hope to start your yoga practice today!