Benefits of yoga for children

Does your child ever feel stressed or overwhelmed by big emotions? Do they find it difficult to cope with change or lack self-confidence? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then yoga may be beneficial.

What is yoga?

When someone mentions yoga, people usually imagine poses and twisting out body into unusual shapes. But there is so much more to yoga than this. Yoga involves breathing, meditation and exercise to connect the brain to the body. It helps build an understanding that being healthy is about taking care of not just our bodies, but our minds as well. With its numerous benefits, this activity is great for people of all ages and abilities.

How will yoga benefit my child?

  • Yoga increases fitness, strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. It is also great for developing gross motor skills.
  • It assists with developing concentration and attention skills, which can help maximise learning in the home and school environment.
  • Yoga introduces a healthy lifestyle and has been shown to help children make better food choices.
  • It can boost self-esteem, children learn to love their body, and yoga develops the idea of positive health and wellbeing.
  • Evidence also shows that yoga helps reduce depression, anxiety and stress.

Why is focusing on breathing important?

There are several different ways people breathe. Some people breathe through their nose and other breathe through their mouth. Sometimes there is movement through our chest and other times there may be movement through our stomach or diaphragm. A quick and easy way to see which technique you use, is to lie on your back, place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach, and notice which hand moves up and down. For yoga, we focus on taking deep breaths using our stomach; aiming for our stomach to expand on the inhale and flatten on the exhale. This can be challenging for some children however is very beneficial. Children also learn to breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth. The slower and deeper the breathing, the better it is for our mind and body.

I am interested in having my child try yoga. How do I go about this?

Local councils often run group fitness or yoga programs for people of all ages. If you or your child is interested in trying yoga, google or call your council for further enquiries.

A great starting point is ‘Cosmic Kids Yoga’ on YouTube. They have numerous fun and engaging videos for children to copy, which focus on several topics/themes that interest young children (i.e Minecraft, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Frozen etc).

Alternatively, talk to your therapist at Talking Matters for ideas about how to further support your child with stress, anxiety and emotional regulation.

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Blog written by Michelle Simpson, Speech Pathologist

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