Yoga has amazing benefits for all the family but teaching your little ones from an early age can have an amazing effect on their physical, mental and emotional development in lots of ways. As with everything, tiny humans are different, all with their own different abilities, interests and strengths, so it’s up to parents to figure out how it can work best for you and them.
If we think about parenting and the past, children were always carried by parents and family members, on backs, cuddled up in their arms or wrapped up with swaddles. A great way to begin a yoga bond with your babies is by carrying them as soon as they have good head and neck control. With them securely nestled in your arms and good balance, you can do gentle forward bends, focusing on how touch and sound can help to sooth them with in need of comfort.
Starting to embrace them in your yoga practice can really help get them involved from an early stage. Keeping them close, embracing and smiling at them whilst practicing yoga can help to deepen your connection and helps build their motor skills too. Keeping them involved in that feeling of contentment during yoga, can also help with sleep rhythm and also allows you to get back into a little exercise too.
You’ll find that your yoga practice changes as your children do. Toddlers are such natural yogis, with fantastic mental and physical energy to channel! Basic positions can strengthen your little one’s nervous system and can help to manage energy levels. Which will be a big help for managing your family's daily routine.
Use their imagination and energy to create fun routines - replace phrases like:
“lift your sternum up” and “press your toes to the floor while you lift the arches of your feet,”
“Push your hands up to the sky and plant your feet into the ground” or “sit like a frog and when you stand say ribbit!”
Yoga for little ones is the gift that keeps giving in so many ways - Starting their yoga practice from a young age is a great way to help them form a solid passion for a non-competitive activity. Something which will support self-awareness and help them to breathe, focus and practice mindfulness. A great practical skill for stress reduction and confidence that will benefit them as they grow and face new challenges.