8 Reasons to Try Toddler Yoga

Learn the Surprising Benefits of Yoga for Toddlers

The benefits of yoga have been long recognized, and yoga continues to grow in popularity for kids of all ages. Toddler yoga classes are now commonly offered at yoga studios, as part of daycare and learning centers and at play spaces.

While it seems unlikely that a group of 1-, 2- and 3-year-olds will sit quietly in lotus pose for any length of time, yoga classes catering to the toddler set do not require extensive attention spans or the intense focus of adult yoga.

“Your typical toddler yoga class is not like those yoga classes attended by adults. It is loud. The children are moving around a lot, and if we get four or five poses in during the class, I am thrilled!” said Stephanie Roldan, yoga instructor and founder and owner of Blissful Owl Family Fitness. Roldan trained with Karma Kids Yoga in New York and currently teaches at the Joyful Learning Center in Brookfield, Ill.

Despite the obvious differences between a toddler yoga class and an adult class, yoga offers plenty of benefits for this age group, including some of the same benefits adults reap from a practice. Here are 7 reasons you and your little one should try a toddler yoga class.

1
Toddler yoga offers more than “just” yoga.

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In addition to the class introducing children to a few yoga poses, toddler yoga includes silly songs, creative movement, toys or props and story time. The classes often last 45-minutes and provide lots of action for little ones who are on the go.

2
Yoga helps toddlers develop gross motor skills.

Through the various poses and movement in the class, young children can fine tune age-appropriate gross motor skills – like running, hopping, marching, balance, spatial awareness and more.

3
Toddler yoga can lead to an increased attention span.

It’s one of the tougher aspects of parenting a toddler – a young child’s attention span often feels non-existent. While this is developmentally appropriate, yoga can help toddlers increase their attention spans by engaging them in a series of child-centric activities that require focus.

4
Toddler yoga incorporates important social skills.

In toddler yoga, young children begin to learn social skills that will help them better transition into preschool and other structured learning environments. Toddlers have the opportunity to practice listening to and following directions, engaging in imaginative play and taking turns playing with props. 

5
Yoga provides toddlers a safe way to move their bodies.

Toddler yoga gives young children an opportunity to learn to love moving their bodies. In Roldan’s toddler classes, everything is paced by the children. “Toddlers, unlike adults, will not push themselves to a point of injury; and therefore, if something is uncomfortable they will just stop or come out of that pose. If the breathing is too difficult to do they will go at their own pace. Toddlers have a great ability to police their own actions to fit their own comfort level.”

6
Yoga is a great way to bond with your toddler.

Parents are an active part of toddler yoga classes – they participate in the moving, the dancing, the songs and the yoga moves. Partner yoga moves are also a big hit in toddler classes. Roldan’s favorite partner pose is the flying bow pose, which involves the parent lying on the ground with the toddler “flying” on the parent’s knees and shins.

Yoga naps -- the toddler version of a savasana – is another great opportunity for parents and children to bond during yoga. “I play a quiet song for children to have a start and end point and something to focus on, and for the most part, the parent and child lay together on the mat. I am always pleasantly surprised at how many kiddos can sit still and lay down with their parents for the entire song. Many lie on their parent’s tummy while the parents are on their back. I love to see the parents actively bonding with their children during this time,” said Roldan.

7
Yoga may help a toddler manage stress and anxiety and self-soothe.

Yoga teaches toddlers how to breathe and express themselves – both important skills for managing stress, anxiety, aggression and other feelings.

“A wonderful example I observed personally in my 2-year-old son is that he is a fantastic deep breath taker. We practice the deep breaths by smelling the flowers and then making a big sound and blowing out our breath. While he is trying to fall asleep, I observe him taking these very exaggerated deep breaths as he self-soothes himself to sleep. It's pretty amazing!” said Roldan.

8
Yoga can increase a toddler’s confidence.

Toddler yoga is a great way to let little kids just be little kids – silly, energetic, imaginative. While your child is focused and engaged in a fun activity, they are also gaining confidence in moving their body and expressing themselves creatively.

“I have observed children come into their personalities when we sign a certain song or make appropriate sounds along with our poses,” said Roldan.

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