Yoga sequence to support children’s mental health & wellbeing
It’s children’s mental health week in the UK, here at Children inspired by yoga we know firsthand how yoga can support children’s mental health & wellbeing – even in very young children.
Yoga is a life skill, & not just for adults – sometimes it is hard to imagine that your 3 year old will enjoy being still, observing their breath or just lying on the floor. If you have ever done yoga, you will have felt the benefits, so why not give it a go with your child? it’s something you can do together, yoga can be playful & fun as well as being still & quiet.
Learning simple breath techniques, mindful play activities, & yoga inspired stretches at a young age, really develops habits & skills that last a lifetime & support future happiness & success.
Children are born natural yogis – so let them lead the way & show you, the adults, how it’s done. Our Tatty Bumpkin classes (3-7 years) are very playful & engaging, so yoga becomes something fun that feels good.
Yoga is holistic, meaning it supports the whole person – body, mind, emotions & spirit. This is different to other forms of exercise. Yoga has been found to be especially beneficial for mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, stress & ADHD.
Why is this?
There are lots of reasons how yoga can support children’s mental health & wellbeing, but one key factor is that yoga helps to focus the mind. In our busy, constantly stimulated world it can be really hard for children to find ways to switch off & calm down. Yoga provides a space where they can do this – without judgement or expectation.
When practised regularly, yoga can help children feel more confident in themselves & better equipped to deal with whatever life throws their way. It gifts them skills for life – how to relax, how to breath, how to release tension in the body through simple stretches & how to focus & calm the mind.
In addition, the yoga poses help develop co-ordination, self-regulation, sensory integration & postural control – all essential for learning which in turn promotes positive self-image & mental wellbeing.
Yoga is non-competitive, everyone can achieve, & this in itself releases stress & induces feelings of goodwill & happiness.
At Children inspired by yoga we focus on how to engage the children in our classes to be motivated & inspired to move & ‘have a go’.
Here is an example of how to create a short engaging yoga sequence, that introduces your child to movement, breath & relaxation might be linking 5 yoga poses together in a simple sequence to form a story. Using sound, touch, movement would be known as a multi-sensory approach – introducing music, simple props, yoga-inspired movement & storytelling makes this much more motivating, interactive & fun & your child is learning by doing.
DOG was in the garden.
He shook his tail to say hello.
He shook his paws at SNAKE who was wriggling
in the grass (use a piece of fabric to crawl under).
SNAKE pushed back into his secret hole, beneath the TREE.
TREE was waving gently in the breeze.
CAT was over by the pond – he was having a stretch,
but when he felt the sun on his back he lay down in the warm grass & had a sleep.
The DUCKS on the pond where gently bobbing up & down.
All was still.
So if you’re looking for ways to support your child’s mental health this children mental health week, why not try yoga? It could be the start of something wonderful!
These simple poses are good for mental health, & stretch the whole body. This sequence could take less than 5 minutes! (or as long as you wanted to play)
Benefits of simple yoga for children
– Downward facing dog – stretches hamstrings
– Snake pose – spinal stretch
-Tree pose – balance and focus
-Tree in wind – spinal twist
-Cat pose – strengthens shoulders and core
-Relaxation – reduces stress & tension
-Ducks on pond – breath awareness
We know that mental health is just as important as physical health, so we hope you’ll join us in celebrating children’s mental health week this year by getting your little ones involved in some yoga! There are lots of great resources online to help get you started. Namaste!