Yoga for Toddlers
You may be wondering, how can toddlers benefit from a yoga practice? Pretty much anyone can benefit from a yoga practice. That’s right — we said anyone. And we’re not just talking about grown-ups.
It’s true! You don’t need to be an adult to practice yoga or to reap its benefits. Younger yogis have a lot to gain from getting on the mat, as well and the benefits can be applied off of the mat too! Even the toddlers in your life can (and should) do yoga.
Yoga for toddlers is chock full of health and social benefits that will help your littles grow into their strongest, healthiest selves. Let’s get into the details of yoga for toddlers, benefits of yoga for toddlers, and some suggestions to help you set the tots you love up for success as they begin to explore the world of yoga.
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How Can Toddlers Benefit From A Yoga Practice While Still Being Safe?
You’re a concerned adult, so let’s just get something out of the way right now: yoga for toddlers is perfectly safe.
Yoga studios, child development centers, and even medical facilities have started offering yoga classes for children as young as six months old! Youngsters who are getting on the mat at this age require lots of supervision and attention, which means that you — or any adult helping your toddler — can keep things under control and ensure that your toddler is being safe.
There are some safety precautions you can take when it comes to yoga for toddlers…
Just like anything else with kiddos, yoga for toddlers requires you to pay plenty of attention. When little ones are learning something new, they need you to be available for guidance and supervision.
During a toddler’s first few sessions on the mat, they’ll likely need you to help them get their body into various poses (more on that soon!) safely and comfortably. You’ll also have peace of mind, knowing that if your junior yogis are in any danger of pushing their bodies too hard, you’ll be there to make sure they don’t. You can avoid lots of injuries this way!
Take it slow
Yoga is probably a new activity for your toddler, so take your time!
Introduce one pose at a time. This will give them the space they need to figure out how to move their body in a new way. Taking a slow approach will also give you the chance to gauge your toddler’s interest level and flexibility, so you can decide how to move forward with a yoga for toddlers practice.
Check with your pediatrician
Yoga for toddlers is generally very safe, but it never hurts to check in with a medical professional, especially if there have been any previous health issues or if your toddler hasn’t done a lot of physical activity in the past. More likely than not, your pediatrician will simply tell you about all of the potential benefits of getting your child into a yoga routine, but better safe than sorry!
Strike the right poses
Some yoga poses are safer and better suited for youngsters than others. That brings us to…
Yoga Poses for Toddlers
While many toddlers will be able to work their way into many yoga poses — oh, to be young! — there are certainly a handful that we would suggest as a starting point. Consider these yoga poses (along with kid-friendly instructions!) for toddlers.
Stand on your mat with your feet a little wider than your hips. Put your hands out to your sides, with your palms facing straight ahead of you. Stand strong!
(This is a simple pose that will help your mini yogis learn important foundations for yoga. Many other poses develop out of Mountain pose! Plus, you can encourage them to do some deep breathing from this position!)
Stand on your mat with your feet together until you feel balanced. When you feel stable, begin lifting your left foot off the floor. Do it slowly so that you don’t lose your balance! When you’re ready, bend your left knee and use your hands to move the bottom of your left foot into the top, inside part of your right leg. Press that foot into your leg to help you feel more sturdy while you’re standing on just one foot. Bring your hands together in front of you, then look at something straight ahead. After holding this for a few seconds, do the same thing on the opposite side!
Get on your hands and knees like a puppy dog! Spread your fingers nice and wide on the mat and push down into the ground below you. Take a deep breath out, and get on your tiptoes. Move your bootie up toward the ceiling, straightening your legs as you go. Don’t lock out your knees! Keep your arms stretched out long in front of you. Your body should feel like it’s shaped like a triangle. Take a few breaths, then slowly come back down to the ground.
Upward Facing Dog
Start by lying with your belly on the mat. Your legs should stretch out behind you and your feet should be a few inches apart. Press your palms into the ground near your sides, just above your belly. Push slowly up off your mat until your arms are almost straight. Push down into the floor with the tops of your feet and keep your elbows near your sides. Look up just a little bit toward the ceiling.Take a few breaths, then slowly bring the top of your body down to the ground.
Get on your hands and knees like your favorite animal. Keep your knees hip-width apart and your feet right behind your knees. Keep your hands below your shoulders. Look down at your mat between your hands and keep your back nice and flat. Let your shoulders drop away from your ears. Take a few breaths.
Find these poses and many more
Yoga is a fun and easy way to get moving with your family!
Benefits of Yoga for Toddlers
Like the rest of us, little ones can gain a lot from practicing yoga! Check out these benefits…
The stretching components of yoga poses are well-known for improving flexibility in practitioners of all ages. Flexibility exercises have special benefits for young children! According to Coastal Orthopedics, stretching and flexibility movements are important for kids because they can help minimize the risk of injury and maximize their range of motion so they can play and have fun with other activities.
There’s no reason for little ones to develop massive muscles, but the bodyweight training that comes with yoga for toddlers can give them just the boost they need to participate in other activities with ease and confidence. Per the Mayo Clinic, the right kind of strength training — not weight lifting! — can help increase your toddler’s endurance, protect their joints and muscles from injury, strengthen their bones, promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and more.
The toddler years are absolutely crucial for helping kids learn how to regulate their focus and attention so they can be more successful in school and other tasks in the future. Yoga is one way to help develop those skills! According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, a yoga practice boosts concentration and helps focus the mind. Over time, your kiddo can apply those skills to other areas!
Improve balance and coordination
Many yoga poses help train the body’s balance and coordination. As a young child’s body grows and changes, it’s important for them to continue practicing these things so they can move more confidently and easily.
If you enjoy practicing yoga yourself, introducing yoga for toddlers to your little one offers a great new — and active — way for you to spend time together. According to South Dakota State University, this kind of quality time has been proven to reduce a child’s risk of dabbling in risky behaviors later on.
Plus, seeing the adults in their lives engaging in physical activity will inspire children to stay active and maintain healthy lifestyles as they get older!
How to Introduce Yoga to Your Toddler
Ready to get on the yoga mat with your toddler? Of course you are!
Bulldog Yoga offers online classes geared specifically toward kids and families. They’re perfect for young children and beginner yogis of all ages… and you can do them in the comfort of your own home (or anywhere else), which will help your littles feel even more confident about starting a new activity. Try swapping out your routine family screen time for a yoga class and see how it goes! We have a feeling your toddlers will be asking to try out new classes before long!
Start streaming yoga at home
The music in our classes is sure to keep your toddler (and you) entertained!