What Is Yoga?
Yoga is a mind and body practice that combines movement, breathing exercises, and mindfulness, which is the focus on thoughts and feelings as they happen.1 It was originally started as a spiritual practice in ancient India, but it is more commonly used today for its multiple health benefits.1 Some people use yoga to correct their posture or get rid of back pain, and others may use it to relieve stress.1 Yoga is also a good form of physical fitness and can help you stay active.1
How Can Yoga Benefit Preschoolers?
Yoga can help your preschooler by helping them manage their stress. Young children between the age of 1 and 6 often feel stressed and are not as verbal about their feelings as older children.2 Stress in children will often go unrecognized, which is why it is important to get a sense of their emotions by keeping an eye out for your child’s reactions and behaviours.3 Young children may show you how they feel through behaviours such as crying, bedwetting, thumb sucking, wanting to be held, tantrums, and by isolating themselves from others.2 They may also show signs of stress through physical symptoms such as stomach aches, headaches, eating problems, and nightmares.2
Causes of Stress in Young Children
A big contributor to stress in young children is hurry.3 When children feel rushed to get ready for something, do well, or even grow up, they may end up feeling stressed.3 More chronic cases of stress can occur if a child experiences divorce, death, health problems, or fighting within their families.3 Stress in young children can interfere with their motivation and disrupt their entire learning process.3
Physical Benefits of Yoga for Preschoolers
Yoga helps your preschooler to feel calm, but there are physical benefits as well. Practicing yoga can improve your preschooler’s balance, strength, and endurance, as well as helping them feel more in control of their body.4These tangible exercises have been integrated into many physical education programs for school-aged children, but these exercises can have benefits for preschoolers as well.4 When your child engages in the different yoga poses, they build confidence and learn how their bodies can move.5 Not only will they become more physically flexible, but completing a pose takes a certain amount of focus, concentration, and memory; skills with real life benefits.5
Doing Yoga with Your Preschooler: Poses to Try Together
Yoga can be done by people of all ages, so why not share some quality time with your preschooler by teaching them some yoga poses? This can allow you to bond with your child while helping them ease their stress through a relaxing physical activity. Please ensure adequate supervision while performing these poses in order to prevent any potential injuries. Some fun poses you can try with your preschooler include:
The Bridge Pose
Have your child lie down on the ground with their knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Then, have them lift their hips up in the air to create a bridge.
The Cat-Cow Pose
Get on your hands and knees, curve your lower back, and tilt your head up to do the cow pose. Then, arch your spine back and put your head down like a cat. Throw in some moos and meows to add giggles and keep your child engaged!
The Tree Pose
Stand up straight and place the bottom of one foot on the inside of your extended thigh. Put your palms together at your chest, then switch sides after a few minutes.
The Cobra Pose
Lie on your tummy and place your palms flat next to your shoulders. Extend your arms up and bring your face towards the sky.