#AD This is a collaborative post in partnership with Balance Holidays.
Yoga and mindfulness can be enormously beneficial to adults, but is it worth extending the practice to those much younger? There are several compelling arguments that say you should. Children can still be sensitive to the ever-increasing pace of life that we are continuously exposed to. Starting mindfulness at a young age can help to equip them with tools for the future, that can help them to cope with the difficulties of contemporary life.
What are Yoga and Mindfulness?
To understand the benefits, it is essential to establish the core values of yoga and mindfulness. Often practised together, yoga uses a combination of breathing techniques and exercises as an aid to strengthen the body and mind. Mindfulness, in its simplest form, is practising being present in a given moment and using that moment to focus on oneself to help identify emotions. When these practices are extended to children, it is essential to remember not to put too much pressure on them. It may be likely that they are too young to understand the extent of these concepts; the benefit for them is the time spent with their parents and learning about themselves. A yoga retreat holiday could help you to learn more about mindfulness and yoga.
Mental and Physical Health Benefits.
It is no secret that the psychological and physical health of our younger generation appears to be struggling. It is estimated that one in ten young people are suffering with a mental health disorder and more than one in five children are overweight or obese by the time they begin school. Not only are mental and physical health intrinsically linked, but they are each important factors to consider on their own.
Teaching mindfulness to children can increase their self-awareness from an early age, encouraging them to value self-esteem and be more able to identify and process feelings and emotions. Charity Scope has set up Mindful Monsters, a subscription service that incorporates fun and mindfulness, in an aim to get both parents and children to practice being mindful.
The physical benefits can benefit both of you! Yoga is a terrific exercise for any age group and for a busy parent, finding ten minutes to not only exercise but spend time with little ones is a great way to find balance. Practising yoga poses regularly can help to enhance flexibility, strength and coordination. Getting children in the habit of exercising from a young age can help to encourage them to enjoy physical activity as they mature.
How to Practice Toddler Yoga?
The great thing is that with an open mind and a little patience, there are loads of different ways for parents to practise yoga with their kids. The best advice here is to do what works best for you, as we know, every child is unique. There are books, infographics, YouTube videos and classes dedicated to the practice, so the best thing to do is have a browse and see what piques your interest. Finding the time is not always easy, but many people manage to work it into their routines, thanks to its complete flexibility. Yoga can be included in playtime (after all it’s great fun!), and mindfulness can be encouraged in the morning or evenings, or even during a car ride.