Yoga for children is very different to adult yoga as it has to be a lot more high-energy to keep them interested. That’s why our YogaBugs classes involve stories, group work, songs and games whilst simultaneously learning yoga poses, breathing and relaxation techniques.
The main aims for pre-school children are to develop motor skills and confidence. In this blog post, we’re going to focus on how yoga helps children to develop gross motor skills. Motor skills have two separate parts: gross and fine. Fine motor skills include matching shapes and colours, zipping, cutting straight lines and dressing or bathing. Gross motor skills include walking, lifting, throwing, kicking, sitting upright, jumping and reaching. Gross motor skills are important for major body functions, while fine motor skills take time to develop and won’t occur overnight. Children improve motor skills by practicing over and over.
You can encourage your child to develop their gross motor skills by allowing him/ her to ride bikes, kick and throw large balls and to gallop like a horse. Each child grows and develops at different rates so it’s important to be patient with him/ her, praising accomplishments and efforts. Improve gross motor skills with exercises by playing ‘Simon Says.’ Imitation activities such as creeping like a snake, waddling like a duck and hopping like a rabbit are effective for exercising the gross motor skills.
A great yoga posture to practice with your child is tree pose. This helps to develop balance and flexibility as you have to make small adjustments in order to stay upright. Simply start by standing upright and shift your weight into one foot. Lift the other foot and hold it against your ankle (with your knee pointing out to the side). First bring your hands together at your heart. When you’re feeling steady, lift your arms steadily up to the sky to form branches. Once you’ve got your balance, try closing your eyes and see how long you can stay balanced for. Repeat on the second side.