Editor’s Note: I hope you enjoy Daily Cup of Yoga’s latest guest post about a topic near and dear to the heart from new contributor Maria Rainier
Most parents try to introduce their children to healthy lifestyle choices and patterns. Parents who actively incorporate yoga practice into their daily life are in a unique position to encourage a lifestyle of physical and mental fitness.
Different age groups require specialized teaching approaches.
While infants obviously aren’t physically capable of doing yoga poses, you can encourage them to make positive associations with yoga practice. Take a post-natal mommy and me yoga class. Incorporate them into your own yoga routine. Children learn by patterning. If yoga is a consistent, pleasurable memory from their earliest days, they are more likely to express interest when they’re old enough to practice it on their own.
Teach proper breathing techniques and simple stretching exercises. Consider buying a yoga tape or enrolling in a class specifically designed for young children. Encourage them to join your yoga practice to whatever extent they can. If you are a believer in the spiritual benefits of yoga, begin to teach them the basics of yoga-related spirituality.
At this age, children are better able to maneuver their bodies into proper yoga poses. Once again, age appropriate yoga classes with their contemporaries and practice with you is a good way to encourage consistent practice. Start gently correcting any major problems with their yoga poses. As they move on to more difficult material, form and body placement takes on a higher level of importance.
Above all, make sure you’re presenting yoga in a positive, fun light. If it becomes a chore, they will quickly abandon it when they come of age.
Middle School Age and Beyond
Many lifelong yoga enthusiasts first discovered their love of yoga as a teen.
Middle school and high school age children are in the process of developing their own ideologies and life habits. If they express an interest in yoga, facilitate this interest by teaching them yourself or obtaining instruction. Be aware that they might prefer outside instruction and the company of similarly aged children and young adults. Allow them to participate in yoga in ways that speak to their level of interest and developing independence.
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching areas of online colleges. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.