Is your child interested in yoga? Would they like to join a Yoga for Kids Class? Here at Club Hub, our directory is filled with thousands of Kids Yoga Classes, so we have spoken to a few providers to tell us a bit more about the benefits of yoga classes for kids.
Yoga is a fantastic form of exercise, but it is far more than just stretching. It can be an excellent form of relaxation for children, guiding them through controlled breathing, clearing your mind and focusing on your body.
There are many ways in which yoga can help your child relax, even from a young age:
Mitchy Titch offer award winning baby and children’s yoga classes, taking families on an adventure through yoga poses and flows, stories, and games. Sessions are available for baby, toddler and even for school aged children. Many exercises are enjoyed together, some with the use of props such as scarves, hoops, gym ball, puppets etc. All using lots of rhyme, songs, and music.
As a children’s yoga instructor and holistic sleep coach, this is a question that I frequently get asked. The short answer is yes! We live in a busy world with lots of things constantly competing for our time and attention and this is as true of our children as it is of us. This can have an impact on children’s sleep too and I find yoga the perfect addition to a bedtime routine to help a child calm and relax.
Yoga poses such as child’s pose or reclined butterfly are brilliant for engaging the ‘rest and digest’ system, whilst poses such as downward dog increase the flow of blood to the brain’s sleep centre – ideal just before bedtime. Once children know some basic yoga poses they can make up their very own bedtime flow. Yoga isn’t just about the poses though, it also incorporates breathing and meditation and there is lots of research showing how these techniques calm the nervous system and reduce stress and anxiety.
Most importantly, children’s yoga is about having fun and, when we’re having fun, stress and anxiety levels naturally reduce and we produce endorphins which make us feel calm and happy. Who doesn’t want that for their child? At Mini Me Yoga we want to bring fun into the lives of children & parents by empowering you with simple techniques for introducing yoga and meditation into your child’s daily routine (including at bedtime!) – no experience is necessary just a willingness to learn and have fun! We can offer our workshops online or in person (socially distanced of course!)
Our classes provide the opportunity for adults and children to connect with themselves, and each other, through fun yoga movements, breathing techniques, sensory props, music and relaxation. Experiencing a welcoming, engaging and calming space can aid children’s feelings of self-confidence, sense of calm, attention and overall wellbeing.
A child’s exposure to the practices can help develop their emotional regulatory capacities through being able to take a breath, calm their bodies, and share a relaxing space with others.
We also design packs which include mindfulness activities and printables all centred upon character education and emotional literacy. Each pack has been created with a focus on a particular theme, such as building resilience, or inviting calm into the day, and is suitable for one-to-one use or in group settings. We hope you enjoy exploring the content!
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There is a scientific base to support the benefits of yoga and mindfulness for children and young people. The benefits are vast and both physically, emotionally and psychologically by establishing a mind-body connection.
Physical benefits: Physical benefits of yoga include; enhancing balance, strength, co-ordination and fine motor skills which enhance children physical development. One such study evidences the physical benefits by Kaur and Bhat (2019) Creative Yoga Intervention Improves Motor and Imitation Skills of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Yoga can also enhance sleep, many children struggle with sleep issues; including falling asleep and waking up throughout the night. Certain sequences of yoga flow’s can be designed to enhance sleep, this is particular effective when paired this mindfulness and meditation techniques which help children to relax and have better quality and longer nights sleep. When using this as a ‘night-time routine’ this can bedtime a lot easier for parents and even something children look forward to. How? Yoga reduces levels of cortisol which in turns relax the nervous system and allow children to wind down for bedtime.
Emotional/ psychological benefits: Emotional benefits are widen ranging, yoga sessions can be beneficial for general wellbeing sessions to therapeutic sessions for children with mental health difficulties.
Yoga for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Well-Being: Research Review and Reflections on the Mental Health Potentials of Yoga (Ingunn & Nayar, 2014). This study suggests yoga may help children and young people cope with stress and thus, contribute positively to balance in life, well-being, and mental health. suggesting yoga improves children’s physical and mental well-being. This study recommends yoga in schools to help students improve resilience, mood, and self-regulation skills pertaining to emotions and stress.
Yoga can bring therapeutic benefits to children by developing emotional and behavioural difficulties. This study on the Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Education Program on Pre- and Early Adolescents’ Well-Being and Social and Emotional Competence Schonert-Reichl and Lawlor (2010) investigated a mindfulness-based program, delivered in schools, involving 10 lessons and three times daily practice of mindfulness meditation.
Overall, there was a significant increase in scores on self-report measures of optimism and positive emotions. Teacher reports showed an improvement in social and emotional competence for children in the intervention group, and a decrease in aggression and oppositional behaviour.
Impact on school curriculum: Many schools are now acknowledging and implementing the benefits of yoga for children and young people. A study on a 10 weeks programme of classroom yoga by University of Massachusetts study published in 2014 showed overall improvements in primary school aged children’s social interactions with classmates, attention span, academic performance, ability to deal with stress and anxiety as well as boosting their confidence, self-esteem and overall mood.
Special needs: More than just a game: Yoga for school-age children (Wei, 2016)
A growing body of research has already shown that yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and classroom behavior, and can even reduce anxiety and stress in children.
Yoga can improve focus and attention, sensory information processing, communication, self-regulation, and motor control. These skills generalize to other areas in life, ultimately helping those with ASD lead more balanced, healthy, socially integrated, and independent lives. Ehleringer 2010 article Yoga for Children on the Autism Spectrum provides detailed advice based on the author’s clinical experience about how to structure a Yoga environment, work with ASD as well as the families and communities of students with ASD, and create lessons based on student’s individual or group needs. Sample lesson plans are included.
Yogi buddies is a therapeutic service for children aged 3-16 which offers sessions using yoga and mindfulness as well therapeutic professional skills to bring therapeutic benefits to children. Our sessions can range anywhere from general wellbeing sessions for children, to emotional regulation sessions for children with challenging behaviors including ADHD and autism to therapy sessions for children with mental health difficulties and trauma. Sessions can be group sessions, 1-1 and include family members or carers.
Yogi buddies is unique and different from other yoga and mindfulness classes for children as our sessions are run by a fully qualified mental health practitioner with a psychology degree and social work master, with years of experience working therapeutically with children to enhance their well-being. Including children with challenging behaviours’, trauma and complex needs. Therefore, making our service yoga therapy for a wide range of issues, with the benefits as mentioned above. Our services is evidence based and has case studies and a research to demonstrate our effectiveness.
We have a range wide of clients from individual 1-1 or group sessions, to working with organisations such as local authorities, schools, charities, private organisations such as children’s care homes and nursery. As a service we work with children caregivers; parents, foster carers and children’s home and the professional around them including school, nursery and social care to help children reach their full potential.
Our service aims to allow children to have tools and techniques to take out of sessions into their daily home lives. We are also developing some therapeutic tools to help with this, for children to have in their homes; including some products for both meditation and yoga which will be available for sale via our Instagram page. As well as purchasable online resources including videos and audios for parents to use at home with their little yogi’s.
Yogi Buddies offers virtual and socially distanced sessions with PPE following government guidelines on an individual and organisational level please email [email protected]