Posted: Aug 30, 2013 10:00 AM
 
More parents are beginning to promote the benefits of yoga for kids, but are there some forms of yoga that children should avoid? From hot yoga to mommy and me yoga, explore your options when trying to decide if you should bring your kids to yoga?

Yoga kids should avoid

While it may seem easier to bring your child to your adult yoga class, many yoga instructors advise against having a child partake in adult-centric sessions. "Children should only partake in a yoga class that is designed for children and one where the instructor has been trained to modify the class for the different age groups," advises Shenae Osborn, founder of Little Yoga Bubbles. "Not all yoga classes are created equal, and if poses are held for too long, that can put a strain on the child's growing body. Parents should also avoid their child taking part in hot yoga, iron yoga or anything that is overly advanced, especially in the beginning."

Sheila Hageman, child yoga instructor, agrees. "I would not recommend a heated-style yoga class for children or any intense-style classes. For starters, kids' attention spans are not usually ready for a full hour of 'adult' yoga. Shorter classes with shorter poses and more fun and games are needed for kids to really learn to love yoga."

Benefits of yoga for kids

Stumbling, tumbling and giggling are all part of an enjoyable yoga class for children. Sometimes our bodies don't perform the way we intend them to, and these silly moments of imperfection turn into learning moments that build self-esteem.

You may think that your child isn't capable of keeping calm in a mommy and me yoga class, but the benefits — and capabilities of your children — may surprise you. "Yoga is a great way to calm our bodies and minds," shares Colleen Leary of Nourished Lifestyle. "For children with special needs and sensory issues, yoga provides a way to feel secure and calm." But, in order for your child to experience the full benefits of yoga for kids, choose a class that focuses on fun. "For kids, a yoga practice should be about playing through a pose, not perfecting it," explains Rebekah "Bex" Borucki, yoga instructor and Host of “Got Zen?” on Veria Living. "Stumbling, tumbling and giggling are all part of an enjoyable yoga class for children. Sometimes our bodies don't perform the way we intend them to, and these silly moments of imperfection turn into learning moments that build self-esteem."

Types of yoga poses kids can do

When choosing a class that focuses on yoga for kids, be mindful of the types of poses through which your child is being led. "Kids are usually more flexible than adults, so anyone leading a child through yoga should be careful not to encourage hyper-flexibility in any pose," warns Borucki. "Instruct the child to listen to her body and to never do anything that feels uncomfortable or scary." Here are some safe yoga poses for kids:

  • "Uttanasana is a great pose that improves spatial awareness, calms the mind, improves body awareness and improves listening," offers Leary.
  • "Child's pose is a also a great pose to feel connected from the head to the core of the body. This is a great grounding pose for children with high self-stimulation," she adds.
  • "Lion, cobra, cat or cow pose are safe for all kids," says Jensen Wheeler Wolfe, creator of The Little Yoga Mat. "All kids love animal poses and the younger ones will enjoy making animal sounds, too."
  • "Elementary-aged children can grasp more complicated animal poses like pigeon, camel and crow," expands Wolfe.
  • But, Wolfe warns, "Alignment is important for safety, so advanced poses like headstand, lotus or revolved triangle should be reserved for older children with a strong practice."

Share with us!^ Whether mommy and me yoga, hot yoga or yoga for kids, do you bring your kids to yoga? Leave us a comment below!

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