It's the beginning of summer, and the kids are already bored. Invite the kids in your life to practice yoga, either with you or on their own. Introducing children to breath work (pranayama) and yoga postures (asanas) is a great way to occupy their free time while helping them prepare for the stress of going back to school in a few months.
Play Ball. Is your kid on a sports team? Yoga can help your child develop coordination, balance, and flexibility. Yoga also helps foster discipline and boosts confidence while enhancing your child's well-being.
It's Never Too Early. There are many aspects of yoga, but breathing and postures are the most accessible for children. Kids' yoga time can be engaging, relaxing, and replenishing. Even very young children can benefit from learning to take deep breaths and gently stretching the body.
Unplug Your Child. Engaging in a yoga practice is an effective antidote to sitting in front of the TV or playing video games. Taking their yoga practice outside is a great way to get some fresh air while moving the body gently. Too hot to be outside in the middle of summer? Yoga can also be practiced indoors. All you need is enough space for a yoga mat.
Everybody Could Use a Little More Breathing Space. Help prepare your child for the coming school year by practicing conscious breathing. Breath control takes a tremendous amount of focus and helps children concentrate for longer periods of time. This will come in handy in the classroom and at home.
Inhale, Exhale. Start simply by introducing this breathing technique that can be done anytime, anywhere. It will even help your child with their counting skills.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes. Sit or lie down comfortably.
- Allow the eyes to close or lower the gaze.
- Begin to notice you are breathing.
- On your next inhale, count to four: Inhale...two...three...four
- Exhale and count to four: Exhale...two...three...four
- It's ok if you lose count. Just start again with the next breath.
- Repeat this pattern until you hear the timer.
- Gently open your eyes and take a moment to just sit quietly before moving on to your next activity. Feel free to come back to this practice several times a day. Once you're comfortable with the technique, try setting your timer for 10 or even 15 minutes!
Greet the Sun! The Sun Salutation is a complete yoga practice in itself. It stretches all the major muscle groups of the body, and if done a few times, it gets the heart pumping, too! Try just one round and see how you feel. Work your way up to 5 or 10 repetitions of the entire sequence.
- Mountain Pose. Stand tall like a mountain with a straight spine and the feet firmly planted into the earth.
- Touch the Sky. Inhale and reach the arms up to the sky. Keep the gaze forward to avoid over stretching the spine.
- Take a Bow. Exhale and bend at the waste to touch your toes.
- Lizard Pose. Step your right foot back. Don't let the front knee go over the front toes. Stick out your tongue like a lizard.
- Playful Dog. Step both feet back and gently wag the tail like a happy dog. Take 3 deep breaths here.
- Walk the Plank. Exhale and lower down toward the earth without touching the earth with your belly in a straight line like a plank on a pirate ship.
- Happy Snake. Exhale and lower the legs onto the earth. Inhale and straighten the arms lifting the head up towards the sky.
- Playful Dog. Exhale and Tuck the toes under and lift your dog tail up to the sky. Wag gently and take 3 deep breaths.
- Lizard Pose. Step your right foot up toward your hands. Don't let the front knee go over the front toes.
- Take a Bow. Exhale and step the other foot forward.
- Mountain Pose. Inhale and gently come back to standing tall like a mountain. Take 3 deep breaths here before going on to your next activity.
Quiet Time. After a long day of summer fun, it is useful to unwind before bedtime. Yoga can help you drift off to sleep faster and get a better night's rest.
- Lie down and close your eyes.
- Begin to notice your breath.
- Imagine that you have a balloon in your belly and you're trying to fill it up with air. Inhale and allow that balloon to inflate. Feel your belly grow big and push the belly button outwards.
- Exhale and imagine the balloon deflating. Pull your belly button inward towards your spine.
- Continue to inflate and deflate the balloon in your belly until you feel ready to fall asleep.
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