Here are some guidelines and realistic expectations for parents, who are considering Yoga for their children. For your child, Yoga is much more than a kid's fitness class. Just like adults - kids need time to learn to deal with life's daily pressures, too.
Make sure your child starts with easy postures, and be patient with your child's progress. Some beginner children can often be more flexible than advanced adult Yoga practitioners, but they don't know their own limitations.
Discover your child's real passions. When your child wants to go to Yoga class, it is much better than what you want for your child. This is not to say that you should avoid guidance. However, it is not advisable to push a child into a Yoga class, if your child doesn't enjoy it - no matter how popular Yoga may be. All children are different, and what is good for one of your children, may not agree with another.
Encourage your child to see the deeper benefits of Yoga: Learning to live within the moment, and appreciating the present situation, instead of focusing on desires, these are built-in mental assets of Yoga practice. Enhanced concentration skills are another benefit that will result in improved academic performance.
Look for a qualified Yoga instructor, who has experience in teaching children. Make sure the child's Yoga instructor has adequate experience.
Watch your child practice, with his or her, Yoga teacher, and make sure you are comfortable with the environment, policies, and safety guidelines. Rules and discipline policies are usually in place so that each child can learn Yoga and get the most out of their experience.
For your child's safety at home: Parents who are not familiar with Yoga, should not let their "beginner Yoga children" practice anything beyond beginner techniques, without a competent Yoga instructor's approval. Once your child's Yoga instructor gives approval of home practice, you are fine. This one safety factor should encourage parents to learn Yoga, practice with their children, and live a healthy life.
A smaller kid's Yoga class is actually better than a larger one. This insures that your child's Yoga instructor can pay close attention to each student during practice session.
Price should not be the top factor in choosing your child's Yoga teacher. Would you choose the cheapest dentist, clothes, or car? Very often, "you get what you pay for."
Lastly, with steady practice, you should expect to see your child gradually gain self-esteem, stress management tools, self discipline, enhanced academic performance, and improved athletic skills.
Paul Jerard, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, North Providence, RI. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness to children, adults, and seniors in the greater Providence area. Recently he wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students who may be considering a new career as a Yoga teacher.