September is National Yoga Month. Yoga offers various health benefits: it helps you relax, stretch your muscles, and strengthen your body. Yoga also helps you to practice relaxation and concentration. But yoga is not just for adults – it is also recommended for young kids. Along with the above benefits, yoga can also encourage positive child-family development. Share your experiences with yoga at September’s Tasty Tuesdays and also join Family Yoga in the Museum at 11 am on Mondays and Fridays!
1. Yoga as increased body awareness.
Doing yoga is like singing and dancing the song, “head, shoulders, knees and toes” – only better. Body awareness is very important in child development. Moving without running into objects, picking up a spoon and placing yogurt in the mouth, and understanding the space between one’s self and others all stem from increased body awareness. By practicing yoga, children naturally learn how they move their different body parts to achieve certain movements or poses; and yoga can also strengthen muscles, which is an important factor to reduce clumsiness in children’s movement.
2. Yoga as focusing skills.
Children learn a range of skills through observing and mimicking other people’s behaviors. This can be physical behaviors, such as learning to walk, or social behaviors, such as being polite. When children do yoga, they watch what the instructors or their grown-ups are doing, and they mimic the poses to try themselves. Exercising this “observing” and “mimicking” help children focus better, follow instructions and learn various skills in different situations outside of yoga exercises.
3. Yoga as bonding and relationship building.
Obviously, baby yoga or toddler yoga is usually not something you can drop your children off at and come back when they are done. Grown-ups are also primary participants alongside their children in family yoga. If you have an infant, you can hold, touch and move your child in different ways, which increases skin contact and encourages positive social-emotional skills in early childhood. Toddlers and preschoolers, or even older kids, can spend positive time with their families by engaging in the same activity, which builds a sense of bonding and security.
You can find parent-child yoga classes in your community. A listing of some classes are available at: http://bostonparentspaper.com/article/yoga-classes-for-kids-moms-to-be.html.
We are also celebrating Relaxation Day on Saturday September 27th, and the activities include yoga, massage and meeting therapy animals! Join us for a day of calming and relaxation.