5 Ways to Encourage Kids to Practice Yoga
Sometimes you will unroll your mat and flow through a few series of Sun Salutations, standing poses, or whatever you need that day, but more likely it will be a pose here or there during the day. Downward Dog at the counter after cooking dinner, Cat & Cow after spending too long on the floor playing with the kids, or folding forward to release you low back. Your kids will notice. They will ask what you are doing. They may even do it alongside you.
2. Sit & Breathe.
When they see you sitting in meditation, they WILL ask what you’re doing because to them, it looks like you are doing…well, nothing. Explain as simply as possible that you are feeling your breath move into your body and out of your body. Then invite them to try. Remember, a young child sitting still for just a breath or two is QUITE an accomplishment.
3. Be Silly!!!
Yoga with kids will most likely be neither quiet nor meditative. But it WILL be full of joy and laughter. Make animal sounds, hiss in Cobra pose, meow and moo in Cat & Cow, even wag your tail in Downward Dog. You can jump around, sing wiggle toes and just have fun.
4. Let the kids take the lead.
Sure, you’ll be the one showing them basic poses to start, but let them get creative and invent their own yoga poses. Let them do Airplane pose 5 times. Let them explore how the body moves. If they become distracted or disengaged, let them be done. Forcing yoga (or any activity) is likely to move them further from the activity.
5. Let go of expectations.
Maybe they will love it and want to practice or “play” yoga every day, on rainy days, or maybe they will never mention it again. Whatever the outcome, let it be okay. You have planted a seed and perhaps one day, they will rediscover yoga for themselves. And if not, you have shown them the importance of finding an enjoyable way to move their bodies, all through your own commitment to yoga.