The Benefits of Yoga for Children

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Helping your child find calm and quiet in our fast-paced world can be a challenge. The Children’s Museum of the Upstate has a resource to help. In a world where children are constantly bombarded with stimuli and pressures, one tool to consider is yoga. TCMU has offered yoga for children for over a year. We are thrilled to welcome Kelly Williams, a mom and passionate yoga practitioner and instructor leading yoga on select Friday’s in TCMU-Greenville’s Dream Theater. Grown-ups can find her at Soul Yoga Five Forks assisting Power Vinyasa on Sunday mornings.

Meet The Children’s Museum’s Yoga Instructor

Kelly’s journey with yoga began in the 90s when she stumbled upon it in a public library. Initially drawn to its philosophy, she later found solace in the physical practice during times of need. As a former Clinical Laboratory Scientist turned stay-at-home mom and homeschool educator, Kelly emphasizes the importance of mindfulness in parenting.

Benefits of Yoga for Children

Yoga offers numerous benefits for children, both physically and mentally. Through regular practice, children can develop essential life skills that will serve them well into adulthood.

  • Mindfulness and Stress Management: Yoga equips children with tools for navigating stress and anxiety throughout their lives. The mindfulness practice fosters self-awareness and emotional regulation.
  • Physical Health: Regular yoga practice helps in strengthening and gently stretching growing bodies, especially during frequent growth spurts. It improves flexibility, coordination, and overall physical fitness.
  • Improved Concentration and Confidence: Yoga poses aid in enhancing balance, concentration, and confidence. Children learn to focus their attention and build resilience in the face of challenges.

Yoga Benefits Supported by Research

Research backs up the anecdotal evidence of yoga’s benefits for children. According to a study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, yoga interventions have shown promise in improving attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in children with ADHD. The structured movements and focus on breathing in yoga help children with ADHD to improve self-regulation and attention span, making it an effective complementary therapy alongside traditional treatments.

Top Three Yoga Poses for Kids

Introducing children to yoga can be both fun and beneficial. Here are Kelly’s three favorite beginner-friendly yoga poses for kids:

  1. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is technically an inversion and is great for spinal decompression, improves circulation and elevates your mood. Try: walk your hands out to a plank (the top of a push-up) spread your fingers wide. Press down through your hands and extend your arms as you lift your hips up and back (think upside-down “V”.) Extension: Walk your dog, 3-legged dog, wag your tail
  2. Boat (Navasana) engages your core and improves digestion, offers lower back support and enhances confidence. Try: From a seat, create a “V” with your chest and thighs. Keep lifting through the crown of your head while you begin to lift one or both feet. Balance on your sitting bones. Fingers can touch the ground, or hands can hold the backs of your legs or for the most challenge extend your arms long. Extension: Row your boat (sing a song).
  3. Eagle (Garudasana) this whole-body balance pose will engage your concentration and improve focus while soothing neck and shoulder tension (from those heavy backpacks). Try: From standing, wrap your right leg over your left. You can use your toe for a kick stand. Wrap your right arm under you left and bring your hands to opposite shoulders. Hug your thighs together. Lift your elbows. Repeat on the other side. Extension: Nest your eagle by bring your elbows towards your thighs.

The Difference Between Yoga for Kids and Yoga for Adults

Although Kelly structures her children’s class similarly to that of an adult counterpart, there are some key differences. For one, it’s shorter and the language less technical. Also, she tries to include at least one yoga “game.” Finally, instead of an extended savasana (the end resting pose), she sprinkles mini mindful moments throughout the practice and keeps them all to about a minute or two.

Teaching Yoga at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate

Kelly thoroughly enjoys teaching yoga to children at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate. She values the opportunity to share her passion for yoga and finds the sessions on Friday afternoons to be incredibly enjoyable. What’s even more incredible is that these classes are offered for free with admission to the museum. If you’re a TCMU member—you have free access to these yoga classes. This accessibility ensures that all children can benefit from the transformative power of yoga.

Yoga Classes for Kids in Greenville

Finding yoga classes specifically tailored for kids can be challenging in Greenville. However, with the free classes offered at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, families have access to a wonderful opportunity for their children to learn and practice yoga in a fun and engaging environment. This initiative not only promotes physical and mental well-being but also fosters inclusivity and accessibility within the community.

In conclusion, yoga offers a plethora of benefits for children, ranging from physical health to emotional well-being. Through the guidance of passionate instructors like Kelly Williams, children can embark on a journey of self-discovery and resilience that will serve them well into adulthood. To check out one of Kelly’s yoga classes for children at TCMU, take a look at the TCMU website calendar or our Facebook events page.

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