If you’ve never taken your 2-year-old to a yoga class, you might have trouble imagining what we do there.
If you just don’t think your active toddler will stay on a yoga mat for 45 minutes, you are totally right and it’s totally ok! In kids yoga, we MOVE! We march; we hop; we skip; we gallop.
We do yoga poses, but that’s only part of the magic (and when you’re in a room full of preschoolers in warrior pose shouting “sunshine” at the top of their lungs, it is definitely magic). We act out stories like jungle safari or trip to the beach, using very little Sanskrit to describe the poses we are doing and no detailed alignment adjustments.
Instead, we engage children in fun games as they explore their bodies and develop strength and coordination in the poses. We emphasize developmentally supportive movements as tykes master gross motor skills such as balancing, jumping, coordinating movements on both sides of the body, and more.
We embrace the children for who they are: some are watchers who might wait for the safety of their own homes to break out what they saw in class; others want to do every pose and make up their own; still others may need to burn off steam running in circles in the room and might only join the group when we do their very favorites.
Children learn age-appropriate poses and breath awareness, ways to relieve frustration, improve motor skills, and increase attention span by actively following directions. They also connect with their parent and caregiver as grownups model a healthy and fit lifestyle while having fun.
For parents, preschooler yoga is very much an exercise in yogic parenting: releasing our attachment to particular outcomes and being present to this moment we have with our child. Of course, my husband says his favorite part of preschooler yoga class is, hands-down, legs-up-the-wall at the end (with bubbles for the little ones).
See our current class schedule to the right and come check it out for yourself!
And check out this video interview with its Itsy Bitsy Yoga creator and child development specialist Helen Garabedian: