Yoga For Grandchildren Should Start Young With Benefits Forever

yogaThis Grandma is a twenty year  yogi.  The mind, body, and spirit is all combined in a package that has kept me forever young, strong, and flexible, so much so, that a recent injury did not have as detrimental impact upon my body as it would have without being a twenty year yogi.  This was a benefit I did not expect.

This Grandma has read that only 15% of Americans do yoga on a regular basis.  I can understand that.  It takes a while to develop any habit, about three to six months, and it takes a minimum of five to ten consecutive yoga classes a minimum of twice a week to feel as if one can even begin to practice yoga.  Many give up too soon, but if you develop the habit, your mind and body will bring you to yoga.  Even now, I may enter a yoga class, knowing what is coming, and say to myself why am I here for an hour and a half.  My yoga buddies and I laugh about this, because at the end of the yoga session, we feel wonderful in mind, body and spirit.  Our bodies crave yoga and when we are not able to practice for a while, we all say how much we miss yoga in our lives.  Yoga, once you begin practice, is fun, and it is wonderful to keep practicing to learn new poses.  Yoga is never boring.  You just have to explore the different styles, until you find the form of yoga that speaks to you.  This Grandma happened into power yoga and has stayed with it, as it is fast moving, and challenging.  Sometimes, however, the body just craves restorative yoga for relaxation and sleep, and that practice speaks to many.

Yoga is fun for children too.

When the grandchildren were babies, I practiced with them and around them.  Doing downward dog and looking at the baby upside down brings smiles and giggles.  When the grandchildren were toddlers, this Grandma taught them poses.  There is a funny story about an incident when our oldest grandchild was about three years old.  His best friend at the time showed him what his father had taught him – how to do a basic pushup.  Our grandson proceeded to go right into and sustain a one legged downward dog.  I said that what our grandson did was harder to do!  As our grandchildren got older, I took them to yoga class with me.  Our middle grandson, who took a child’s yoga class, can get his body in a pretzel. Our youngest grandson is now in a preschool class where his teacher starts the day with breathing exercises and yoga.  We can see a difference in him already.  My favorite family yoga photograph  is of our four grandchildren and me on our backs with our legs up the wall, doing an inversion,  a restorative and relaxation pose.  Yes, I had an ulterior motive, as it calmed them all down immediately before bedtime, after we all stopped giggling getting into line up the wall.

Yes, yoga practice promotes miracles, in the opinion of this Grandma, and is a skill that can be practiced for one’s entire life, which is why this Boomer Grandma started yoga practice in the first place.  The physical and mental benefits of yoga carry us through life and enhance our lives.  So many professional athletes are now yogis to enhance their performance.

Physically, yoga benefits children.  Yoga promotes physical strength, encouraging children to use all of their muscles in new ways.  It helps those children who are athletic to excel in other sports by adding focus, flexibility and strength.  It is great for children who are not athletic too as it promotes body awareness. Children learn about their spines, joints, and muscles and how to manipulate and listen to their bodies.  The flexibility that results from a child’s yoga practice increases his or her range of motion and helps prevent injuries.  Yoga helps children to develop improved posture, teaching them postures that have them sit and stand tall.  The yoga balancing poses promote mental and physical balance, with focus key.

Mentally, yoga has been shown to build self-esteem and self-respect. Yoga helps children to focus and concentrate and helps children get better grades in school, as well as do better in sports. Practicing yoga is doing something without ever having to worry about being wrong as you do not compete with others, you compete with yourself. When children practice yoga, they learn how to be still and quiet, which helps them to listen in school.  When children learn yoga, they learn to breathe deeply and fully, and become more aware of how they can bring peacefulness or energy to their bodies.  Yoga teaches children how to be in the present moment and calm themselves.

Yoga is so mainstream that is it easy to find  adult and family classes, parent and child classes, child classes, and even summer yoga camps in your community.

Grandparents can encourage yoga   This Grandma loves Lazy Lizards with their yoga mats, you tube videos, and even poses on line that are easy to copy. The mats have the poses on them and there is an easy to follow DVD.

This is yet another great visit present, but, better yet, an activity for grandparents and grandchildren to do together.  . . . with memories that last forever.







India proposed it and the United Nations adopted it: June 21 is International Day of Yoga.  The first was in 2015 and about a thousand  practiced yoga on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., not far from the Vietnam Memorial.  Start your practice now and plan a trip to D.C, with the grandchildren.   Visit the White House too!  See post here.

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