More and more professionals who work with children with autism, special needs, sensory integration, learning disabilities and ADD/ADHD are being trained to teach children’s yoga–and with great results. Yoga is a natural for children, since it addresses the whole child, including the brain/body connection.

Tips for Doing Yoga with Your Children

Create a special time of the day for yoga with your child. Take some time in the morning or evening and follow it with a deep relaxation.

Make a “sacred space.” Use a small table or cover a box with a cloth. Decorate it with pictures and objects that have special meaning for your child. Use a candle for focus during a meditative yoga time.

To begin, sit with your child on the floor with legs crossed and eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths to quiet your mind and tune in to your inner guidance.

How long to do yoga? With preschoolers, 10 to 15 minutes is a good start. Each exercise should last 30 seconds to one minute. You can increase the time as they get used to it and develop the ability to stay focused. Elementary-age children can easily practice yoga for 20 minutes, including a few minutes of deep relaxation and perhaps a few minutes of meditation. Of course, each individual child is different. You will know best what your child’s capacity is. Remember, it is better to start simply and build gradually.

F-U-N. Those three letters that are so important! Entice your child with interesting, imaginative, engaging exercises. Challenge them, for example, by using a timer (“Let’s see how long you can stay up in that pose with deep breathing!”). Use your intuition and light-hearted humor rather than your intellect to motivate them.

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