Yoga for Kids
I started doing yoga after college. I moved to San Francisco and yoga was becoming increasingly popular to the mainstream. Plus I am a long distance runner and certain forms of yoga work wonders on a runner's tight body. What I found beyond opening up my body is that yoga brought a sense of balance and serenity to my busy brain, to my intense profession and to my life in general. So, twelve years later I still practice yoga. I have practiced throughout two pregnancies, ten marathons, post natal and with my children both in a studio and in my home. There are moments every day when an “Om Shanti” or two come in quite handy for both me and my boys!
To include yoga as part of our Montessori homeschooling goals makes intuitive sense. Personally, my sons are intense like their parents. I believe strongly that they will need that break in the day to take a few deep breaths. Plus practicing yoga with kids is fun for everyone. I feel fortunate that my son has had an interest in yoga ever since he saw his Uncle Eddie and Aunt Meg practicing it in our living room over Christmas. Each time he sees my yoga mat he references them.
It seems to me that yoga and Montessori go hand in hand. This lovely post from New Child Montessori describing the similarities between yoga and Montessori as well as the benefits of doing children practicing yoga is a quick read. Tying yoga into a homeschooling curriculum is simple. Yoga provides a number of poses that are extremely conducive to kids' interests and learning (a la downward facing dog, cobra, triangle). So practicing yoga slides smoothly into the ‘curriculum'. Even more straightforward, we can't forget that yoga is also physical bound to stretch our bodies and ultimately bring strength and bolster health. My advice to you is to not focus on Yoga as much as what Yoga brings to your home and your family. What I mean is that don't worry about the different types of yoga or not being able to get into a pose, think about your intention as you practice (balance, education for you children, relaxation, stretching, etc) and use yoga to meet that intention.
Books (many of these books include activities):
- Yoga Zoo Adventure – A favorite of mine. I have already rechecked this book out twice from our library. So many great and fun ways to integrate yoga into your daily routines and activities with your children
- Stretch by Doreen Kronin – Not specific to yoga but introduces a lot similar concepts and gets the kids moving
- ABCs of Kids Yoga – Wonderful book, highly recommend
- The ABCs of Yoga for Kids: A Book for Coloring
- Yoga Games for Children: Fun and Fitness with Postures, Movements and Breath
There are several other books I have on hold at our local branch of the library. Some tell a story and some are more instructional. I am really excited to dig into them with my boys.
Activities and Resources:
- Free ABC Coloring Pages at ABC Yoga for Kids
- The ABCs of Yoga for Kids Learning Cards– these cards accompany the ABCs of Yoga books.
- Learn With Yoga ABC Yoga Cards for Kids – I haven't purchased these cards but probably will if I can't get my act together to make some on my own. Great reviews on Amazon and very helpful for educators and parents.
- These matching cards are great because they use real life images of kids and various items to connect the poses to the “real” world in which the child lives
- I love this post on a yoga exercise for preschoolers from Montessori by Hand about yoga practice in her classroom. How lucky are these children?
Locally here in Seattle we have wonderful resources for Family Yoga and Kids Yoga. 8 Limbs and Limber Yoga studios are my favorites. Limber Yoga has Mom and Baby, Family Yoga and a Toddler Open Gym. Amazing.