Yoga with Kids

By Stephanie Heikkila Holman

Yoga with Kids

Many of us already know the benefits of a regular yoga practice and look forward to our yoga classes at one of the many studios along the Grand Strand. Your kids can benefit too!

Local yoga teacher, Sharon Stollenmaier talked to Sasee about teaching yoga to kids. “Our kids have so much stimulation today. When I first started teaching yoga to kids, I didn’t think they would go into savasana, [this is the final pose of a yoga class and involves lying quietly on the yoga mat for a few minutes] but they loved it! I let them use lavender scented eye pillows, and I give them a little massage. It’s great for kids to have a few minutes to not think.”

Yoga classes for kids are structured a little differently than for adults. Sharon stresses the importance of breathing, a key part of a yoga practice and a great way to handle the stress of everyday life. “With kids’ yoga, I might place cards around the room with different poses drawn in stick figures. We dance around the room and wherever they stop, that’s the pose they do.” Sharon calls the poses different things as well – Happy Baby is Bug Pose, etc. She went on to say that even toddlers can benefit from yoga. “The little ones do classes with their parents. It’s great for developing flexibility and strength in all ages.”

As kids realize they can do the poses, they develop confidence, boosting self esteem which spills over into their day to day lives. Sharon uses fun games and activities to make yoga easy to understand and enjoyable. “They love working with props – blocks, straps and even bolsters get kids excited.”

Most kids start with a 30 minute yoga class, but can enjoy classes of up to an hour. “Another thing I like to do with kids is put them in a circle and let them each do a pose on their own,” Sharon told us. “And, all kids love to go upside down – they think that is the greatest thing!”

Yoga is particularly useful for kids with special needs. Studies have shown that yoga benefits children with autism and ADHD. NPR has reported that researchers surveyed teachers at a Bronx public school that had a daily yoga program and found that the program reduced kids’ aggressive behavior, social withdrawal and hyperactivity, compared with a control group of kids with autism who did not practice yoga.

Kids’ yoga is offered at many studios along the Grand Strand. Sharon says to look for a teacher who’s not super serious and will have fun with the kids, so they’ll want to come back again and again.

Yoga with Kids

About this writer

  • Stephanie Heikkila Holman is the Senior Graphic Designer for Strand Media Group. She resides in Pawleys Island, South Carolina with her jazz musician husband and two fabulously rambunctious children who constantly keep her on her toes.

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