Yoga for Children
Tammy Bernard, M.Ed., E-RYT, integrative medicine practitioner for UF Health’s Integrative Medicine Program, discusses the many physical and mental health benefits of yoga for both children and adults.
Like adults, children need quiet time to relax and unwind. Achieving this, however, is sometimes difficult when kids want to keep their bodies moving. Family yoga is a fun way for parents to engage children in a healthy way that not only helps them manage stress and anxiety, but promotes confidence, builds strength and supports concentration. Explore the postures below to help your child feel empowered at a young age, while developing useful coping skills for everyday stresses and challenges.
- Warrior posture – This posture strengthens the legs (especially thighs), back, shoulders and arms. It increases stamina, concentration and stability while opening the chest and hips.
- Cow posture – This table-top position is good for overall spinal health. It strengthens the spine and neck while supporting joint mobility and providing good health of the central nervous system.
- Butterfly posture – This sitting pose lengthens the spine and stretches interior thighs and groin. It supports grounding of energy and the release of any tension in the belly and buttocks.
- Crescent moon posture – This all-over stretch is good for opening the chest and stretching the intercostal muscles (several groups of muscles that run between the ribs and help form and move the chest wall). It also supports awareness of body alignment and increases stability.
- Bridge posture – This back bend is really nice for someone experiencing symptoms of depression like lethargy. It opens up the chest and strengthens back muscles, shoulders, thighs and legs.
- Child posture – This posture is especially supportive when children are feeling hyper and need to drop into a deep resting pose. It provides calming of the mind and emotions and nurturance of the body. It also helps to relieve back, shoulder, neck and hip strain.
- Tree posture – This standing pose strengthens the legs while promoting agility, concentration and balance.
- Relaxation pose – This pose promotes deep relaxation. To help a child calm down, let them take a favorite stuffed animal and lay the animal on their stomach. Ask them to breathe deeply and watch the animal slowly move up and down. This engages them in activity that is fun and ultimately leads them to experience the relaxation response and benefits.