Yoga has been becoming increasingly popular amongst people of all age groups around the world and this therapeutic, calming, and relaxing form of exercise is great for young kids or toddlers too. If you are looking for thorough insight into yoga for 2-year-olds, why it is beneficial for your child, when should your kiddo start doing it, tips and what are the best yoga poses, read the following post!
How Is Yoga Beneficial for Toddlers?
The present generation, including toddlers, has developed an increased dependence on various kinds of electronics. This over-dependence on electronics takes a toll on the health of kids and involving young minds in activities such as yoga for little kids, helps them in channelling their energy in positive and ways. It also works well as an emotional regulation tool.
Undoubtedly, one of the best indoor activities for growing kids, yoga, has umpteen health and wellness benefits for young kids. Regular yoga practice is great for building flexibility and strength in toddlers. It is also beneficial for increasing better coordination, body balance, and awareness in young growing minds.
Yoga works as a great social activity, as it is a great way of teaching your little one about following instructions, developing confidence and trying new things by imitating others. Again, yoga is also a great physical activity in developing motor skills in young kids.
When Should a Child Start Doing Yoga With You?
Where other forms of exercise usually focus only on the physical aspect, yoga is something that not only offers umpteen physical benefits but is also great for the mental and spiritual aspects of the body. There is no rigid timeframe about when your child should begin practising yoga. Toddlerhood holds great significance in a child’s life as this is the transitioning phase from infancy to childhood and toddlers are becoming more aware of their bodies. This is the time when their inquisitiveness is increasing exponentially and they are also mastering various other skills too. Therefore, this can be the right time to teach something as valuable as yoga which has great physical and emotional benefits for your child. It is great to start something so beneficial early in life so that kids can keep reaping its benefits throughout their lives.
Tips for Practicing Yoga With Toddlers
Teaching anything to young kids can be exciting and challenging at the same time but at this age, kids are bubbling with so much energy that it will be a fun and exciting experience when it comes to teaching yoga to toddlers. Here are some tips for practising yoga with toddlers:
1. Be flexible with time
Kids love to do things at their own pace and if your munchkin wishes to take his own sweet time to do a particular pose, let him be! You may be surprised to see that he may stay in a pose much longer than you.
2. Be easy with the structure
When it comes to kids, they may want to do it their own way. And if you are planning on following a rigid or fixed structure, may not happen sometimes. This means that if you are planning to do 8 to 10 poses in a stipulated timeframe or particular sequence, well, that may be difficult to achieve with young kids in the picture. However, this should not dampen your spirit as it would eventually affect your kiddo’s zeal too. Maintain your calm and peace and go with the flow!
3. Make it more fun
Share something funny, act funny, or do something that amuses your child, as you practice yoga! Well, the basic idea behind this is to make yoga fun and exciting for the child. If your kid finds it a thrilling experience, there is a strong likelihood that he may continue doing it for the rest of his life. So, remember that you are creating happy and fulfilling memories, which will stay with your child for the years to come.
4. Do not worry about mastering the pose
The yoga activities for toddlers can not be about doing everything perfectly and the same goes for mastering the pose. We know you want your kiddo to master the correct pose but you cannot expect that to happen it in a span of few days only. Give it time and, soon, your kid may just practice the yoga poses perfectly. Also, being too rigid about perfecting the pose can be a complete put off for the young kids and they may no longer find it fun!
5. Try using props
You can make use of some fun props to make yoga sessions more entertaining for your little one. You can use some stuffed animals, balls, and other such toys to make yoga asanas exciting. It is all about increasing the fun quotient of the activity that you wish to engage your child in and what better than including some fun props into it.
6. Practice yoga with your kids
One of the most essential aspects of inculcating good habits is by being a role model for your child. If you practice what you preach, your kid is more likely to pick that habit with more ease. Place your yoga mat next to your kiddo’s mat and ask him to follow your instructions or that of the instructors if you have enrolled for a yoga class.
7. Control your expectations
You got yourself and your munchkin matching yoga mats and other gears to make the yoga class more fun and exciting and all your kid does is running around as you try to master the poses. Well, do not have any high expectations from toddlers, and let’s face it they aren’t grown-up kids and are still trying to figure out many things around them. Just let your kiddo be and, slowly, he will start enjoying practising yoga with you. We often undermine but kids learn a great deal by observing, which means even when he is quietly sitting on his yoga mat or running around in the room, he is observing a lot!
8. Play good music
Music stirs our souls and has calming and relaxing effects too. This can be felt by toddlers too. You can play some child-appropriate music or simply play some meditation music as you practice yoga poses with your kid.
9. Use simple yet engaging language
You cannot simply expect your kid to follow you as you practice poses rather you need to give instructions and guide your kiddo all through the session. Make your instructions fairly simple yet engaging so that your kiddo is engrossed in the activity. Modulating your voice is also a great tool for adding that fun element to the session. Use various sounds such as making out animal sounds while doing animal yoga poses.
10. Follow a routine
Setting a routine is a great way of creating healthy habits in young kids. This means practising yoga on a regular basis will help your kiddo yield fruitful physical and mental benefits. Therefore, make yoga a part of your child’s life.
Best Yoga Poses for Toddlers
Here are some best yoga poses for toddlers:
1. The Cobra Pose
This pose of yoga 2-year olds can help in strengthening the back and abs of the young kids.
How to do
- Lie on your stomach, with the tips of the feet flat on the floor and palms placed next to the chest.
- Push your shoulders back as you lift your upper body up.
- The hands should be used for supporting the body but no extra pressure should be exerted.
- Put your chin up and hold the pose for few seconds.
- Gently release the pose and lie back on your stomach.
- Repeat this pose 3 to 4 times.
2. The Cat and Cow Pose
This is amongst one of the best animal yoga poses for toddlers and very effective in strengthening and providing length to the spine muscles and back.
How to do
- Come on all your fours with knees hip-width apart and arms placed just below the shoulders.
- Inhale and arch your spine inwards as you push your back towards the ceiling and tuck your chin in your chest. (cat pose)
- Exhale and curl your spine outwards by pushing it towards the floor as you look up. (cow pose)
- Repeat the pose 3 to 4 times with inhalation and exhalation.
3. The Bow Pose
If dads are doing yoga with toddlers, they can try this fun yoga pose that kids would enjoy practising! This pose is great for the digestive tract, strengthens the spine and back, shoulders, legs, and chest.
How to do
- Lie flat on your stomach with arms on the side and head resting on the mat.
- Inhale and bend your knees, bring them close to the hips.
- Hold your ankles with your hands as you lift your chest, hips and legs off the floor.
- Stay in the pose for a few seconds or breaths.
- Release the pose and relax on your stomach.
4. The Butterfly Pose
This pose is great for opening up the thighs, groin, and hip muscles. It is also great for regulating bowel movements.
How to do
- Sit straight and keep the spine straight.
- Fold the knees and place them close to the groin area as both feet touch each other.
- Hold both the feet with the hands.
- Breathe normally as you flap your knees like a butterfly.
- Let the movement begin slowly and then speed up gradually.
- Gently stop and release the pose.
5. The Easy Pose
As the name suggests, this yoga pose is one of the simplest poses that kids of all age groups can do.
How to do
- Sit straight with the legs crossed and hands placed on the knees with palms facing upwards.
- The spine should be straight and not stiff and legs and thighs should be relaxed.
- The pose should be held for a few minutes and gently released.
6. The Corpse Pose
Though fairly easy, it needs patience!
How to do
- Lie on your back and keep the legs straight.
- Place the arms slightly away from the body as your palms face the ceiling.
- Close your eyes and stay relaxed.
- Exhale and inhale slowly as you rest your body on the ground.
- Stay in the pose for a few minutes.
These are some yoga poses that your toddler can do with ease. However, if you any concerns or queries about starting any new form of exercise for your toddler, you may consult a paediatrician and check if your kiddo can indulge in this kind of physical activity or not!