Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice or discipline that originated more than 3,000 years ago in India. The word yoga comes from the ancient Sanskrit language, and it means “to yoke” or “to unite” the mind, body and spirit.
Here are just some ways in which practicing yoga will support your child’s learning at school:
- Enhances flexibility and strengthens coordination and mind-body awareness. Your child’s learning is reinforced through neural pathways. Various exercises and movements crossing over the right and left side of the body help to create these pathways across the midline of the brain, thereby connecting the body with the brain.
- Improves concentration and memory.
- Encourages careful listening and awareness skills.
- Provides opportunities to practice following directions.
- Helps with the learning of early vocabulary for nouns, prepositions and verbs, as there is lots of repetition and naming of actions and poses.
- Storytelling in yoga facilitates the development of a child’s narrative skills.
- The chanting of sounds and breath control can help with speech development.
- Having the chance to lead activities and show favorite yoga poses increases a child’s confidence.
- Learning in a group setting is a fun way to help build social skills.
Do you already practice yoga? Here are seven fun ways to practice yoga at home with your child, whatever their age:
- Play games like Simon Says and Follow the Leader – make up your own poses for each other to copy.
- Take turns reading stories to each other, which contain the names of animals. Move your bodies into position when you hear the name of a specific animal being called.
- Play Alphabet Soup – place letters of the alphabet (on paper or magnet letters) into a grab bag. Take turns moving your body so it looks like the letter of the alphabet.
- Create a pose and share with family members.
- Play pose tag – if someone gets tagged, they must freeze in a certain pose such as the triangle pose. The only way to be unfrozen is if someone runs between your legs.
- Play the "What Yoga Pose am I?" guessing game.
- Let your imagination run away with you. The important thing is to have fun!
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