Yoga is a practice for life, but too few people realize you can start that practice from day one. Yoga nourishes the body, mind, and soul for both children and their parents and caregivers. Here are three reasons that you and your “little” may want to explore yoga during the early years and beyond.
Supports Growth and Development for Babies.
Babies are born to do yoga; the poses are the path to walking. Yoga models baby’s natural milestones for brain and body development, and each of baby’s developmental milestones happens to be a yoga pose!
|Developmental Milestones||Yoga Pose|
|Fetal Position/Birth||Child’s Pose|
|Tummy Time||Cobra Pose|
|Finding Feet||Happy Baby Pose|
|Sitting Up||Butterfly Pose|
|Hands and Knees to Crawl||Cow Pose|
|Hands and Feet to the Floor||Downward Dog Pose|
|Standing Up||Mountain Pose|
Walking/Balance on One Leg
Babies will build all of these skills in approximately the first 12 to 18 months of life.
Yoga stimulates motor development to promote healthy weight gain, strength, and mobility. Affected internal systems include: respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and perhaps the most important, baby’s nervous system, which encourages the ability to self-soothe over time.
For parents, yoga can help them manage fears and regulate their emotions, which enables baby to feel safe and calm. Everyone wins when baby sleeps well and parents feel confident they can meet their baby’s needs. Yoga nourishes the bond between parents and their baby and lays a healthy foundation for movement and mindfulness for life.
Nurtures the Parent and Child Bond for Toddlers
Toddlers ages one to three are natural explorers, and they move with their whole bodies. Their newfound freedom means that parents are busy keeping them safe and re-directing them from potential harm. The toddler brain is fired up for learning with language and learning through modeling.
Yoga is a fun way to engage in song, animal poses, and to experience the contrast of movement and stillness that promotes awareness and self-control. Yoga practices help parents and toddlers manage the emotional highs and lows of tantrums and power struggles. Thank goodness; we all need help with those!
Together, parents and toddlers breathe and connect with respect in yoga. It’s a joyful process to play with downward dog, and other age appropriate poses, that benefit everyone!
Enables Body Awareness for Preschoolers
Yoga for preschoolers, ages three to six years old, helps maintain the flexibility with which they were born and build the strength they need to hold their bodies up for optimal learning. This focus helps prepare them for school and how to navigate respectful relationships with friends and teachers in the absence of their parents.
In yoga, preschool children are very engaged and collaborative. They often contribute to the class with their creativity. It’s fun to incorporate their ideas and to experience the contrast between loud and quiet and big and small, which helps them learn self-regulation skills.
You can create a foundation of health and success when you start yoga early in life. These skills can take a child to new heights in kindergarten, elementary school and into the teenage years.
Michelle Corley Wing is an expert educator with 24 years experience working with children and families. She holds multiple yoga certifications and a Bachelor’s of Science degree from W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU. Her globally recognized It’s Yoga Kids® education system enables her to promote healthy movement and mindset habits for happy successful children worldwide. She is co-author of Kid Moves – Fun Active Moves for Your Growing Child, an innovative early reader. She also co-founded Enrich Play Learn an expertly taught multi-enrichment program in San Francisco.