Yoga provides many benefits such as developing body awareness, managing stress through breathing, building concentration and learning about body awareness and balance. For many children, their lives are full of non-stop activities and high expectations that lead to stress, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. When we start teaching our children at an early age the benefits yoga can bring into their life, they will be able to carry their relaxation and coping tools with them throughout their lives.
One of our favorite ways to start out, even for the littles of yogis, is the book Sleepy Little Yoga: A Toddler’s Sleepy Book of Yoga by Rebecca Whitford. As a beginner book designed to help little ones relax and get ready for bedtime, this book teaches basic poses by modeling them after different animals and puts them together in a sequence that flows from one “animal” to the next. The sequence is designed for the child to flow at their own pace and get used to the idea of moving and breathing together.
A few tips from the book:
Do not practice immediately after eating
Practice with your child so they can copy you
Encourage the child to keep breathing and move slowly – toddlers are too young to practice controlled breathing.
As a mom who started using this book with her three-year-old, Kayla Schmalz says “I love doing the poses with her and it gives us a routine each night to help us both relax. I love giving her tools to help as she grows up to relax and deal with stressful times. This book does that!”