Winter weather keeping kids indoors? Try yoga for both exercise and calm.
As the days get shorter and snow begins to fall over many parts of the world, activities are corralled indoors. As much fun (and great exercise) a good snow-ball fight can be, many days after school and on weekends will limit the breadth of exercise both you and your kids can get. This is where the practice of yoga comes in as a great way to get everyone moving and breathing, as well as calm some cabin-fever energy that can get the best of the restless kid in all of us.
We have all heard of the benefit that yoga can have on busy adult lives, but according to a Harvard Health article, “Yoga and mindfulness offer psychological benefits for children as well. A growing body of research has already shown that yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and classroom behavior, and can even reduce anxiety and stress in children.”
Flowing through an entire practice can be difficult for kids, but luckily there are many other ways to incorporate the practice of yoga into every day life. Kids yoga games are a great way for little ones to learn different postures, as well as understand the disciplines of breathing and mindfulness. Here are some ways you can get kids to practice yoga, perfect for a snowy day in the classroom or at home in the living room:
- Yoga Red Light Greed Light – One person is chosen as the Stoplight. He or she stands at the front of the room. The other players are the “cars,” and they start at the opposite wall. The Stoplight starts the game by calling “Green light!” The other players then use yoga poses to move forward. When the Stoplight calls “Red light!,” each player needs to be in a yoga pose and remain still. Everyone takes a turn being the Stoplight.
- Yoga Pose Play – Have kids strike yoga poses that remind them of elements of the winter weather outside. Kids can get creative with poses that remind them of wintery elements such as a frozen pond, a snowflake, a raindrop, or a snow-covered tree.
- Winter Mindfulness and Gratitude – This great exercise can be practiced anywhere, not limited to indoor playtime. Especially great first thing in the morning or last thing before bed, practicing mindfulness and gratitude can set everyone on the path for a day of less stress and more patience. With kids, make a list of things they are grateful for in the wintertime. Some examples can be fun activities like playing in the snow, delicious hot chocolate, or spending time with family over winter break. More on the benefits of gratitude can be read in our gratitude blog post, found here.
- And for more ideas, sign up for our weekly BOKS Burst where we always include one of our simple Yoga & Mindfulness activities that we co-created with Tara Stiles, Founder of Strala Yoga in NYC. These movements were designed to activate the body’s relaxation response by breathing deep, matching your breath and body together, and moving your whole body in harmony with itself. These activities are perfect for kids of all ages.