Yoga for Kids: Finding the Right Class


There is no general consensus for when a child can start the practice of yoga for kids. However, yoga experts agree that children of age 5 years and above could start the practice of yoga. With a skilled yoga teacher, your child will build confidence, strength, and flexibility — for life. Finding a great class for your budding yogini isn’t always a cinch, though. To make it happen, keep these guidelines in mind:

Observe a Class

Check to see that the class is developmentally and age-appropriate and that teens aren’t mixed in with young children. The atmosphere should be inclusive and both non-judgmental and non-competitive. “The studio is a place to practice and practice is not perfect,” says Lauren Chaitoff, founder and co-owner of Yogi Beans, a child-centered yoga studio in New York City.

Yoga for kids

Safety is important, too, says Lauren Toolin, a yoga teacher and therapeutic yoga instructor, based in Massachusetts who used to teach classes to children. “Yoga shouldn’t be a daredevil activity. Students should be taught to do the poses safely.”

Ask About Structure

Classes for younger students are often loose and child-directed but they shouldn’t be a free-for-all, says Scott Blossom, a yoga instructor in the San Francisco Bay Area who has taught children. “You want the child to identify yoga as something different from simply playing so a little bit of a ritualized, structured environment is good.”

For little kids, yoga is mostly about animal poses, says Chaitoff. “When you’re in cat, you’re meowing; when you’re a cow, you’re mooing; if you’re doing downward dog, you’re barking,” she says.

When it comes time to relax, the kids should be in savasana less than two minutes and they should be led through it, advises Toolin. Teachers should “get them lying down on their backs and put something on their tummy like a beanie baby. That keeps them engaged in the process. They shouldn’t be left to their own devices,” she says.

Look For a Challenge

Older kids, including tweens, can learn balancing poses like half moon and tree pose, says Chaitoff. “They aren’t making animal noises anymore.” The trick to engaging this group is to make the class challenging enough to keep yoga interesting but not so challenging that students get discouraged, she says. This is also the time to introduce more specific instruction. “You’re not going to say, ‘Externally rotate the thigh,’ but you might say, ‘Can you stretch down? Can you separate your feet? How many triangles do you see in this pose?’”

For Toolin, the tween years are ideal for teaching students to get comfortable with physical discomfort. She wants kids to relish that extra stretch or slight fatigue. “It teaches them not to be afraid of intensity but to lean in to it and explore.”

Encourage a Life-Long Practice

Yoga classes for teens look pretty similar to adult classes in terms of direction and instructional content. Teachers may incorporate more breathing, chanting, meditation, and yogic philosophy — and make more direct connections between life on and off the mat. “As kids turn into young adults, yoga is adaptable and evolutionary and it grows with you,” says Toolin. “So you can do it for your life and it will help you at every stage.”

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  1. Pingback: Benefits Of Yoga For Kids - Fajar Magazine

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