Recent interest in yoga applies to both children and adults, and it’s a great activity for all the family as it can be practised as fun, creative story style adventures. Increasingly children are discovering that this hobby can be hugely beneficial – mentally, socially and physically – as well as great fun. And with so many famous people getting the yoga bug – from footballers David Beckham, Shay Given and David James through to tennis player Andy Murray and royal jester Prince Harry – it’s fast losing its “lentils and turbans” reputation.
Here at YogaBugs mission control, we believe that yoga is an ideal pre-school or after-school activity because its benefits are so far reaching. Not only is yoga a great way of stretching and exercising the body, it also encourages interest in a healthy lifestyle and diet. For the child who lacks the co-ordination skills to play ball games, yoga is an inclusive activity which enables every child to shine whilst they build up strength and increase flexibility. So here are our top ways of encouraging everybody in the family to get the yoga bug.
Do Yoga with Your Child: Kids love to be active and play with an adult, especially when it involves playing on the ground and twisting bodies up. There are multiple ‘partner poses’ in yoga that create a great jumping off point for doing this practice together.
Keep it Fun and Light: The last thing a child will respond to is a serious setting and strict guidelines to their yoga ‘practice.’ It’s not about doing the poses perfectly. As long as our bodies are not misaligned or being pushed beyond their capacity, kids should be allowed to ‘interpret’ the poses and move toward them at their own speed.
Use Story as a Vehicle for Your Yoga Time Together: You can use a DVD, read from a yoga story book or make up your own story. To do this on your own, simply research 5 – 10 yoga poses that you’d like to work with and see if you and your child can spark your imaginations and come up with a story to go along with the action. It may not be a Pulitzer Prize winning story, but it will be great fun! Here at YogaBugs mission control, we climb trees to see which animals are in the jungle, and then roar like a lion, hiss like a snake or jump from one branch!
Set-Up a Regular Time to Practice Yoga: For most people, kids included, having an activity become part of your routine can be a great way to create a habit of a healthy behaviour. The more you and your child practice yoga, the easier it becomes and the more benefits you’ll see. In our previous blog post, we explained how you could make yoga part of a calming bedtime routine.
Invite Some Friends to Play Along: What’s fun with one is even more fun with friends! Many people are reporting that our DVD has been an excellent addition to their party, play-date or even as an alternative to a storytelling session. You could choose a favourite story –Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson and Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae are a couple of our favourites – and get your children to show you the yoga postures that correspond to the different animals.
For stories you can do with your child, you could read Fenella Lindsell’s book, YogaBugs: The One Bug Your Child Should Catch or watch the DVD, Ocean and Jungle Yoga Stories.