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6 Yoga Tips for Back to School

School most likely looks very different this year....

Perhaps a home setup for remote learning? Maybe masks for in-person? Or a combination of both? Whatever the case, transitions can be stressful. For us as parents, yes, but also for kids. Changes usually bring about a bit of unease. Throw in this current COVID environment and it can be downright anxiety ridden!

Numerous studies have been published citing the benefits of yoga for kids to manage stress. It can also aid the body as kids adjust to their "desk jockey" roles again. Since environments are drastically different, too, it's a great way to find focus. The list of benefits goes on and on......

But where to start? What works best right now? And speaking of focus, you may wonder how you can even get them to pay attention to some yoga poses.

Here are 6 yoga tips for getting the year started:

1. Balance- Balancing poses are a great way to find focus and concentration. They can also aid in finding a sense of stability, as kids find roots in order to balance. Use a wall or chair to hold onto at first, and don't be afraid of falling! This can be a great tool for learning perseverance and confidence. A great one to begin in is tree pose:

2. Upside Down- Inversion poses are a fabulous way to bring lightness to a situation. And who couldn't use that right now? This does not mean that children have to pop into a handstand! Inversion poses can take the form of many different looks. A favorite for many is candlestick (or shoulder stand).

3. Strength Poses- Similar to adults, poses that challenge and strengthen our muscles can have many benefits for children, such as building confidence. Again, this does not have to be huge, advanced movements, but can start with poses such as Warrior 2 (or surfer pose).

4. Hip Openers- Any way you slice it, your kiddos are most likely visiting a chair for longer periods of time. Poses which help stretch and open the hips can be a beneficial way to negate any stagnation there. Butterfly pose is a fun yet calming way to do this!

5. Neck Stretches- Again, sitting and staring at technology can impact our bodies, notably our necks. Poses to stretch this area can help with that strain. Many younger students find fish pose beneficial and calming. (note-a block is recommended under the shoulders)

6. Meditation- As a fellow parent, this one used to make me skeptical. My child, meditate??? However, it can be surprisingly simple to begin mindfulness for kids. Start with a quiet location, maybe even outside in nature. It can be presented like a game in which they close their eyes and try to silently pick out different sounds for a period of time. Or talk through a "mind adventure" where you travel to a different location such as the beach or the mountains. This is a form of guided meditation. Give them choices and allow them the control and freedom to lead this exercise.

Most importantly, try not to take it too seriously! The purpose is to make it less stressful, not morel.


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