When a child is born into this world, everything is new. They see the world around them with an impressive sense of fascination and wonder. They want to understand. They want answers. That’s why they are so playful and curious.
Unfortunately, they get to experience stress too soon: parents yelling at each other, demanding teachers at school, not being able to have everything they want. What can we say? Life is an unfair playground.
You cannot protect your children from all stress they are about to experience. Instead of being overly protective, you can do something better: teach them how to stay calm. Yoga can help with that.
Researchers proved that yoga improves the physical and mental well-being of a child, as well as their mood, resilience, and self-regulation skills. The question is: how? How can a parent use yoga to teach their kids calmness and mindfulness in stressful situations?
Teach them to Control their Breath
Let’s say you’re waiting in line at the amusement park and your kid gets too excited. This is positive excitement, but it’s still a stressful expectation. Tell them to breathe: breathe in, breathe out; activate the belly.
Encouraging calm breathing releases the tension in the muscles and in the entire nervous system as well.
Whenever you notice your kid is getting anxious, frightened, or over-excited, practice calm breathing. As a parent, you should do it, too. You’ll inspire your kid to follow the example, but you’ll also calm down. You need that, right?
Prepare them for Stressful Situations
You’ll always be there to support your child through anything. They know that. However, they should also know that stress is an inevitable part of life.
Catherine Stevens, a writer for Proessaywriting and a parent, shares her experience: “Children go through more stress than we’re aware of. They experience it at school. They get tons of papers to work. Their teachers don’t pay enough attention to them. When they do, they focus on the negative results. Parents can protect them from something, but not from everything. When I started teaching my kid some yoga, I realized I was teaching him how to protect himself from stress. That’s huge!”
How can you prepare your kid for a stressful situation? If they are about to take a test at school, tell them there’s nothing to be afraid of. The anticipation for results is stressful, but the results will be good if they try hard enough. A brief yoga session before going to school helps a lot!
Teach them Patience through Yoga
Your kid won’t be able to get into the perfect Cobra pose from the very first attempt. At first, it will be difficult. As they keep practicing, they will be gaining more flexibility by the day. At one moment, your kid will realize they can get into King Cobra without much effort. That feeling of accomplishment is priceless.
What does this teach them? Be patient. Be persistent. Keep trying. The results will come.
With this motto, your kids will remain patient throughout the challenges they face. They will understand it’s almost impossible to get something right at first, but they can do it if they keep trying. They will translate this attitude to school, sports, and any other activity in life. Challenges won’t stress them out. Your kids will gain the self-confidence and determination that keeps them calm.
Teach them about Mindfulness
Yoga is not just pretty poses and breathing exercises. Awareness is a huge part of it. Mindfulness means keeping in touch with reality. It means being aware of what’s happening at a present moment. It teaches your kid how to recognize the reality of the situation and the way it affects their thoughts and emotions.
How do you teach this? Ask them how they feel right now. Ask what they think. Ask how they perceive a certain stressful situation, such as the test. When they recognize how these things affect them, they will be able to stay above the stress.
Get them Excited for Yoga with Animal-Themed Poses
Finally, the fun part. Kids love yoga, mainly because of the cool poses inspired by animals. You can easily get them to try some of these poses:
- Cobra pose
- Camel pose
- Flamingo pose
- Downward-facing dog pose
- Upward-facing dog pose
- Butterfly pose
- Lion pose
- Cat pose
- Tiger pose
There are tons of fun movements to try, so yoga will never get boring.
This is the most important thing to keep in mind: you have to know some yoga if you’re about to teach it. If you’ve never practiced, you have to know that some of these poses have counter effects. If you know your yoga, go ahead and start doing it together with your kid. If you’re not confident in your practice, you can take a yoga class together. It will be a bonding experience that will teach both you and your kid how to stay calm in stressful situations.
Are you ready to take your relationship with your kid to the next level? Join a yoga teacher training for kids and pass along the knowledge to your young ones!