5 Simple Yoga Poses that can support your child’s emotional wellbeing
As parents, we want our children to grow up healthy and happy. We want to support their wellbeing and make sure they are managing challenges and daily stressors in a healthy way.
Yes, Children experience stress too.
One way we can help support our child’s emotional wellbeing is through yoga. Yoga supports physical and emotional development in children, and can be a great tool for teaching them about their emotions and how to manage them in a fun way.
In this post, we’ll explore what emotional wellbeing is, why it’s so important for children, and how yoga can help foster it. We’ll also look at practical tips for introducing yoga to children including 5 simple poses to nurture emotional wellbeing in children.
Thanks for joining me on this journey, for more support with children’s wellbeing and Yoga, be sure to check out my Calm Seas guide here>> Family Yoga - Calm seas
I talk more about this topic on my new wellbeing chats series on Youtube. You can Subscribe>>here<<
What is emotional wellbeing?
Emotional wellbeing refers to the ability to manage one’s emotions in a healthy way, to be aware of one’s thoughts and feelings and to express them appropriately. Expressing your emotions appropriately means understanding and being aware of your feelings and responding to them in a healthy way.
Why is it so important for children?
This is important for children so that they are able to recognize how they feel, and navigate challenges and difficulties that come up each day. We all have stress in our lives, and we can’t bubble wrap our kids from it. We can provide them a safe space, a comforting shoulder and help them learn the tools they’ll need to meet these daily stressors, including learning about healthy coping skills. It is also important for children so that they can build meaningful relationships with others, handle disappointment, and manage other difficult emotions.
How can yoga support emotional wellbeing for children?
Yoga can help children with emotional wellbeing by giving them the space to slow down, to check in with themselves, to release built up stress and tension from the day, to find playful ways to elevate their mood and balance their energy, to bridge the connection between body and mind, and to practice self-awareness including awareness of how they feel in their body.
We can use Yoga and Play to learn about different emotions, to explore how we feel different feelings, and allow ourselves to just feel. It’s not always about moving through different emotions, sometimes we just need to sit with it or be with it, and know that it is okay to do so.
This is where the practice of Ahimsa in Yoga can come in. Ahimsa is one of the Yamas in the Yoga Sutras. To practice Ahimsa is to practice non-harm. This can include ourselves, physically and emotionally. So how this relates to emotional wellbeing could be meeting ourselves with compassion, allowing ourselves to feel the way we do without shame or judgment. Children can also practice non harm towards others when they are feeling big emotions, so not hitting and instead practicing a coping skill.
3 Practical tips for introducing yoga to your child
5 Simple Yoga Poses to Promote Emotional Wellbeing in Children
Legs up the wall pose
This is a great one for slowing down and encouraging children to rest. Rest is essential for children's emotional wellbeing, as it helps to reduce stress, promote healthy brain development, and foster a sense of balance and security. When children are able to take time to relax and unwind, it can help them to manage difficult emotions, such as fear and anger, as well as promoting positive feelings, such as happiness and contentment. Rest also gives children time to recharge and can help them to better focus and concentrate on their daily activities.
How to practice: This is a wonderful restorative pose that helps your body to relax and restore. Start by sitting sideways against a wall and then swing your legs around so that you are laying on your back with your legs up the wall. Doing it this way will help you to get your bottom as close to the wall as you can. Straighten your legs, resting your heels on the wall. Your arms can rest beside you or bring them to your belly. Anytime you need a break during this pose you can bring your legs into a butterfly position by bending your knees and bringing the soles of your feet together. The more you practice this pose the longer you will be able to stay in it for. Try staying in this pose for at least two minutes or for as long as you feel you need to.
What we practice on the mat, we take with us off the mat. One thing we want to support our children with is facing challenges and breathing through them, so let’s practice a challenging pose together on the mat. Warrior 3 is a great challenge because it requires focus and determination and can also be supported using props. Challenges don’t always mean doing things alone, sometimes we need support. This support could be helping each other to balance, using a wall or getting support from a chair.
I love how this pose encourages us to take up space. Just like our feelings deserve to be seen and heard. We shouldn’t have to play small or hide away. This pose can also be paired with an affirmation that makes your child feel empowered. Here are a few examples you may like to choose from, or create your own one together.
There you have it! 5 simple yoga poses to promote emotional wellbeing in children. Which one is your favourite? Comment below!
Have you got your Free Guide all about self-regulation, coping skills and how you can help your child with big emotions? Check it out here> > Calm Seas
Other Blog posts of interest
What is self-regulation?
Did you know that Yoga, play and breathing practices are all great ways that can help with self-regulation?
Learning ways to self regulate can help children properly process the things that are going on around them and react calmly when things don't go their way.
It is not about suppressing or ignoring any difficult or uncomfortable emotions but about not letting them take over and make children behave in a way that they don't actually want.
A child who is dysregulated may:
Self-regulation is a set of skills that help children understand their own emotions, thoughts, and behaviours, as well as the emotions, thoughts, and behaviours of those around them. It helps children to manage their reactions and responses in a positive way. It also helps them develop the ability to stay focused, make good decisions, and practice self-control. With self-regulation, children can learn to take responsibility for their own behaviour, set goals, and work towards achieving them. This can help them to become better problem solvers and more self-confident
Self-regulation skills are key to children understanding how to calm themselves when needed such as when they're feeling angry, frustrated, anxious, worried or excited.
This helps children to navigate the world and meet new challenges. These could be scenarios such as waiting their turn, going to a busy shop, not getting the toy that they wanted, leaving a parent, going to a new place or managing disappointment.
Interestingly, the process of learning self-regulation begins when they are babies. They learn a lot through watching and observing you! It continues to develop into adulthood, but even as adults, we need tools to help us!
Here are some fun ways to practice self-regulation for children
When is the best time to start practicing some of these ideas? Yesterday, but since you can't do that, today will work fine too. My point is, that it is never too early to start and these practices can be embraced at any age, even adults can benefit from these practices, as we never stop experiencing stressful or challenging circumstances that may need us to check in with ourselves and regulate our emotions.
Download My Free toolkit for helping children with self-regulation
Other blog posts of interest:
My ultimate list of books that help children identify their emotions
Five minute mindfulness for children