Toddler time yoga
By Christine Davis
Mom and baby yoga is a growing trend in the yoga world, but what about yoga for toddlers? According to Yogaga founder Liesbeth Teerink, toddlers can benefit from yoga practice just as much as babies and adults can.
“The sleep benefits of baby yoga are great and a lot of people talk about them being able to fall asleep.” This goes for toddlers, too.
“A lot of kids have a hard time switching off. Our lives are busy and we try to do it all.” The result, according to Teerink, is that kids are living at a pace that is faster than it should be. These “hectic schedules make them over-stimulated and that makes it difficult to sleep at night.” She says that doing just five minutes to half an hour of yoga can help them fall asleep faster, benefitting both the child and parents.
Physical benefits include improved flexibility, circulation, muscle strength, balance and coordination. While Teerink admits that these benefits can be obtained by many athletic endeavours, there are also yoga-specific benefits, including breathing techniques that improve lung function and posture.
Social benefits also abound. Teerink points to improved concentration and focus in mastering and holding poses, as well as creativity – as they can use their imagination during practice while playing with poses.
It can also improve a toddler’s confidence. The non-competitive environment of yoga encourages children not to fear their practice, but rather encourages progress. “They learn body awareness – knowing where your body ends and something else begins,” giving them the opportunity to focus on every single muscle that’s working and having them think about that.
While Teerink admits that toddler yoga differs greatly from an adult yoga practice, she says it’s important for parents to understand that too. “A kid won’t do something that’s not fun,” she says simply. Which is exactly why she’s created a line of yoga products that are fun and adventurous. From her instructional DVDs to yoga story sets, her vision for toddler yoga is to incorporate story telling, games, songs and being social into every practice. “A lot of people think their kids are too active to do yoga, but that’s a misperception. It’s good for these kids.”
Teerink does encourage parents to actively participate in this practice. “Do it together,” she says.