Preschoolers are an interesting bunch with personalities exploding, blooming curiosity for the world around them, and fierce independence emerging as they begin to inch away from parents and caregivers to establish their own place in the world. Preschoolers learn how to say, “Please,” and “Thank You,” how to address adults with respect, how to ask politely when they need something, and how to share precious items with others.
These behaviors do not come naturally to children, and must be taught with patience, consistency, and modeling by the adults and older children in their lives. Most preschoolers seem to be filled with boundless energy, which can be a problem for parents when they do not get adequate time and activities to release it. Yoga for preschool is one way to help young children focus their energy in a positive way.
Since healthy habits and behaviors are developed now, it makes it the perfect time to introduce the actions and philosophy behind yoga. By exposing young children to the practice of yoga, you are giving them tools to use for the rest of their lives. These are Yogic tools for keeping a healthy mind and body, for releasing stress, for energizing themselves, and for developing important mind-body awareness. Benefits of yoga for preschoolers include increased strength, flexibility, ability to concentrate, and confidence.
Yoga practice for preschool children should be in short, 15-minute sessions. Explain some of the philosophies behind yoga in terms the children can easily understand. Encourage children to listen to their breathing, feel their muscles stretching, and begin to listen to their bodies while letting their minds be still. Yoga instructors will often create modified versions of the poses, or relate the poses to animals or nature, which the children can easily relate to. Instructors might also create an animated story where the children must act out certain parts with yoga poses. Regardless of the method of delivery, children’s yoga classes should be interactive and entertaining. Yoga instructors should strive to provide a comfortable, fun atmosphere where children will want to come again and again. Accuracy of the poses is not the goal of the class, but rather an appreciation for the art and science of yoga.
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