Over the years I have discovered many ways that yoga is beneficial in my life. It has aided me at times when I have felt very stressed, anxious or depressed. Practicing yoga during these moments assisted in calming me emotionally and mentally, which in turn helped give me the focus to work through my struggles.

It is clear that yoga has many physical, emotional and mental benefits for adults, which is why I think it is also very useful for children, and have recently taken more of an interest in teaching my kids about yoga. I have used my knowledge of the poses to teach them to my son and daughter, and have especially found it useful in times when they are feeling upset or anxious. Having the knowledge from my own yoga practice is certainly helpful, however I have been trying to find a good way to properly introduce a regular yoga practice for my kids that is more on their level and perhaps more fun.

And so I decided to look into finding some resources to use for parents to introduce yoga to children and was very excited to come across Kids Yoga Stories!

Founded by Giselle Shardlow, Kids Yoga Stories is a website featuring yoga tips and kids yoga resources. Giselle is also a certified yoga instructor and author of the many yoga books for children found on the website. Her mission for Kids Yoga Stories “is to bring education, health and happiness to young children everywhere.”

Shardlow lists the following benefits of yoga for children on the Kids Yoga Stories webpage as follows:

  • increases strength and flexibility

  • helps them relax, unwind, and calm down to reduce stress and anxiety

  • helps them sleep better

  • promotes interaction between adult and child, and between multiple children

  • improves their fine and gross motor skills, as well as their coordination

  • develops self-confidence, self-expression, and body awareness

She believes the greatest benefit of yoga is that it “encourages a healthy life for the mind and body.”

I’ve had the opportunity to read a few of Giselle’s books with my kids. I really enjoy the fact that she has included simple instructions at the beginning of the book that can be used for parents to help guide their kids throughout the story. The books are beautifully illustrated and include small pictures of yoga poses that correspond to the story being told.

Sharlow has brilliantly created various stories, suitable for children ages 2 to 8, that help teach a variety of yoga poses, as well as cover different themes to help children with things such as getting ready for bedtime, dealing with emotions both good (for example, feeling grateful) and bad (for example, facing fears) and teaching children about colours, animals and the alphabet, to name a few.

So if you are looking for a way to introduce yoga to your children consider using Kids Yoga Stories as a resource. I would suggest going to this section on how to teach kids yoga as your starting point. You can find a four-step guide to teaching children yoga, a poster to download and a suggested Kids Yoga Starter Pack to purchase.

And if you’ve never tried yoga before but still would like to introduce it to your child, the resources you will find through Kids Yoga Stories are simple and straightforward to follow. It could be a great learning experience to enjoy together as a family.

(Originally published here)