Yoga has become increasingly popular over the years, with various types of classes widely available. From hot yoga and Hatha yoga to classes on the beach, adults have long benefitted from practicing yoga. I used to take yoga classes on Saturdays with a good friend, and when I was pregnant, I enrolled in a prenatal yoga class. It was amazing. I would leave my stressful Downtown Miami job and head to class in a relaxing Coral Gables studio. This really helped me de-stress and find some calm.
Now that I have kids, I’ve discovered there are some amazing classes focused on kids — and my 7-year-old daughter, Grace, loves it! She gets to have fun while learning how to relax when she feels a little anxious. Here’s a fun video she did right after her first yoga class a few months ago.
Grace attends YogaKids classes with a wonderful instructor, Valerie Dewitt. Valerie has been YogaKids certified since 2001 and she’s also a lead teacher with Mindful Kids Miami. Unlike yoga for adults, she says, the YogaKids program specifically addresses the needs and capabilities of children. Kids love to come and just have some fun while learning to be more patient and cooperative.
The Many Benefits of Yoga
“Yoga has been proven to help children with mental focus, physical balance and emotional regulation,” says Valerie. “A YogaKids class is playful and inclusive, allowing each child to express themselves in their own unique way.”
Other benefits of yoga for kids include:
- It’s non-competitive: As Valerie told me, the “We All Win” approach to games encourages cooperation and opportunities to teach patience and tolerance.
- Helps with focus: Yoga teaches kids to be present. In a world full of distractions, they learn simple breath practices that help them focus better.
- Encourages peacefulness: Namaste is a form of saying hello, but it technically means “the divine in me bows to the divine in you.” By practicing acceptance and respecting others, kids become more peaceful and tolerant toward others.
- Creates healthy habits: As with any other exercise program, yoga promotes healthy living. This means that kids focus more on eating healthy foods and they can also learn to be more physically active and lead a healthier lifestyle.
- It’s fun for all ages: Grace plays games, listens to music and learns cool new poses, which she’s always enthusiastic to share with others. It’s an hour-long class where she gets to stretch and move, but in a fun and inclusive environment.
Although we can’t always make it to class because of other weekend commitments, we look forward to the classes and Grace loves to show me what she’s learning. And, I must admit I’ve been thinking about getting back to yoga myself because it really does wonders for your body and mind.