If you’ve gotten even half as much out of yoga as I have – including physical and emotional therapy, exercise, spiritual connection, overall health, and energy – then you’re probably hoping your kids will love it, too. So how do you get your child to love yoga?
Getting our kids to love yoga is like trying to do a challenging yoga pose: it’s ok to try our best, but we can’t get too attached to the outcome or it just won’t work. Instead, it’s a good idea to shift the focus from yoga to enjoying breathing and moving. Here are some ways to do your best to get your child to love yoga.
1. Play Yoga
Let yoga be fun, like a game. Keep it moving and changing. If the start losing interest in a particular pose, time to move on. Play animal games, find
ways they can crawl under and on you in poses, and do Simon Says. They might just say, “let’s play yoga!”.
2. Never Make Your Kids Do Yoga
Desikachar’s father famously tied him to a tree because he wouldn’t do yoga and it did not convince him: he still refused and became an engineer.
Yoga is about freedom. Let them find their own take on poses. Always encourage them when they are trying something and move in a new way.
3. When they are babies and then toddlers, do a daily yoga practice.
Every morning, even if it’s only 2 minutes, enjoy moving and breathing. Eventually, you can negotiate: I get to do yoga for 5 minutes, then I’ll play for 5 minutes. Let your child see what it is to have a practice.
As they grow, tell them when you need yoga: I’m stressed, my body doesn’t feel good, I feel low energy – I need to go do yoga.
Your child may not do it even as a teenager, but the idea will be planted inside them for when they need it.
Oh, and Desikachar eventually came back to his dad in his 20’s to learn about yoga after completing his engineering degree and became a world-renowned yoga teacher. You can get your child to love yoga, in his or her own time, just from leading by example.
Do a free Mom class with us on Zoom – and when they’re old enough, they can try a kids yoga class!
4. Kids are already doing yoga.
When they breathe, their whole body breathes. When they move, they move with their breath. When they act, they are connected to their truth.
They are naturally curious and love exploring what their bodies can do. Yoga isn’t there to change them, or fix them, or make them better: it is there just to help them develop more awareness of who they are and what they can do.
5. When they get old enough to play school, have them pretend they’re the yoga teacher and teach you.
Who doesn’t love to be in charge? They might have a blast making mom do wacky things and follow their every move!
6. When they get older and they want to spend time on the screen, tell them they have to move their body every day.
This is true especially if they want occasional treats or will spend a bunch of time sitting. Give them options: walking, yoga, gymnastics or swim class.
Let them pick. They might just pick yoga and find themselves with a daily practice! Or, they might not, but at least they are getting exercise…
7. Always include a short meditation.
Even if it’s only 3 breaths, include a short meditation. Your child will start to learn how to connect to their quiet, peaceful place inside. End with setting an intention for the day: what kind of day do you want to have today? They’ll realize just how powerful they are to create their own experience – and their lives.
If they don’t fall in love with yoga, remind yourself: we each have our own path.
My daughter loves to assist me when I teach, and she’ll hop into a pose to demonstrate, but she has no desire to do Downdog with me.
Our yoga as moms includes letting them find their own way and supporting them in fulfilling their heart’s desire. Trust that if they don’t want to do yoga, maybe they don’t need it. And know it will be there for them whenever – and if ever – they want it.