How to Combine Yoga with Stories and Rhymes

Yoga has many health benefits for children, and can easily becoming incorporated into your daily routine. By combining yoga with stories and rhymes, you can help develop your child's mind and body.

If you are already attending yoga classes, you may see if your center offers classes for the younger set. Many center offer Mommy and Me style yoga classes for the younger children, where you and your infant can participate yoga in a low key atmosphere. Many of these classes will also involve play time, stories, and song, and mom can have a chance to reconnect with other moms. For preschoolers on up, some yoga centers will have group classes where kids can participate in age appropriate yoga and activities. Some children's play centers and day care centers will also offer yoga programs.

If you would rather stay home, your local library may have books or tapes on doing yoga to music, or stories to read during yoga time. This can be a great way to introduce your child to the concept of yoga if they have never participated in it before.

However, you do not have to go and join a class or check out a book in order to participate in yoga. There are many ways that you can incorporate yoga and learning into your regular day to day routine.

Yoga games are easy to play, and many can be modified to your child's ability and age level. For instance, you all can pretend to be trees in a forest. Have the child hold a tree pose, and see who can hold the pose and be quiet like a tree at the same time. You can then pretend that there is a wind blowing or that it is raining to encourage some slow fluid movements. Take breaks frequently between poses, and do not get frustrated if the child is not into the game the first time around.

Reading to your child creates a natural quiet time. Instead of merely having your child sit still and listen, you can use yoga poses throughout the story. Animal stories work great for this purpose. If you are reading about a farm, have your child do a cow pose every time the cow is mentioned. You can also do the same thing with other animal-themed yoga poses, such as the cat or dog pose. You can use this as an opportunity to encourage imaginative play, reinforcing animal sounds during movements. Older children can be encouraged to take this further - are they a black cat or a white one? What other movements does a cat make? In between poses, you can have children hold a meditative yoga pose and rest.

Since yoga is done for relaxation, it is perfect for use at naptime and bedtime. You can have your child lie on a mat on the floor and practice deep breathing exercises while you read an appropriate, calm story.

During active playtime, you can use the more active yoga moves as a way of exercise. Consider pairing yoga moves with music or nursery rhymes to make the time more entertaining for children.