Close your eyes and think of your mornings. Do you begin your morning rushing to make it to the school bus stop or school gate on time with your child? Do you need to coax, yell, and shout at your kid to do everything on time? How does it impact your school-going child, with no room to breathe as s/he moves from bed to brushing to breakfast to getting ready and dashing out of the house?
Do all mornings have to be like this? How will your child perform in school when s/he isn’t even getting a minute’s break through the day? Aren’t we unknowingly adding more stress into their lives? How can you introduce more mindfulness and calm as your child goes about the same routine every day? Yoga poses and breathing exercises can help instill a sense of calm, and lower anxiety. An early morning yoga session is bound to offer psychological and physical benefits to your child.
Simple exercises like deep breathing, holding the breath for a count of 4 (inhale), 7 (hold) and 8 (exhale), and yoga poses like Child’s Pose, Tree Pose, Bridge Pose, Cat-Cow Pose, Plank Pose, and more are effective in improving both physical and mental health in children. The best part – these can be done right on or next to the bed, and kids of all ages can do it.
Here are 5 benefits of how practicing a mindful technique before going to school can help your child:
Doing yoga right after getting up puts groggy kids in the right mood. Make it fun for them and you will have a happier and calmer kid through the day. It can be a win-win if both the child and the parent do some pranayama and asanas together, ensuring both the parties are more positive as the day unfolds. Any forward-bending asana can do the trick.
Multiple studies have shown that if kids practice yogic breathing (pranayama) early in morning before their day begins, they are able to establish a connection between their mind and body through the day. As they get more aware of their mind and body by doing asanas, they are able to regulate their emotions and stress in a much better way. Their emotional and physical response to stressors are regulated. This also leads to staying away from negative influences and vibes.
As multiple studies show, the attention span of kids is lessening with increasing screen time. A breathing practice helps the child to not only navigate rushed mornings and days with ease but also helps them build focus as kids get into the habit of paying more attention to holding the breath or poses. Holding poses like Tree Pose, Eagle Pose, Frog Pose, Flamingo Pose and Natrajasana for 10 counts helps in increasing concentration in kids. Bhramari pranayama also helps tremendously, and is equally good to calm down the mind.
Flexibility and Strength
In this day and age where schooling system promotes more sitting and listening rather than moving and exploring, yoga in the morning before school will help your child’s body loosen the tight muscles, stimulate the nerves and help your child stay active through the day. Yoga poses also help in keeping your child flexible and tones muscles, if done regularly. Poses like Downward-facing Dog, Cobra Pose, and Butterfly Pose are not only fun to do but also work on your child’s flexibility.
You will notice as your child practices yoga regularly, s/he will start building a positive self-image, resulting in an increase in his/her confidence. They start learning how to use their bodies in a much healthier way. They stop seeking validation from outside, knowing that they are capable on their own, from within. Mountain Pose, Chair Pose, Warrior Pose, Star Pose, Boat Pose – all help in instilling confidence in your little one.
The best way to start a morning yoga routine for your child is to do it with her/him. Rotate the exercises and pranayama to keep it interesting for them. However, do not ask them to do yoga when they are already anxious or under stress. Practicing it immediately after getting up is the best time. You can close the five-minute session by chanting ‘Aum’ with your child.
Happy Yoga Morning!
Ananya is a Delhi-based WFH mother.
Read more: How to Do a Mental Body Scan for Stress Relief?