Anna trained with Rainbow Kids Yoga in Brooklyn, New York in 2014.
Rainbow Kids Yoga is the most fun you can have while learning the tools of mindfulness, yoga and movement.
This type of yoga is interactive, engaging and social, it is all about connection; Touch, hug, move, breathe and co-create together in a magical and playful way. Be prepared for the children to laugh, dance, play and sing while practicing yoga poses that leave you feeling happy and alive! Through 5 years of practice, Anna has re-created innumerable ways of connecting with children and families that sparks attention and holds concentration for the whole session.
Anna co-creates a yoga and movement class that is full of fun yoga poses, props, music, singing, movement and breath exercises to help support big emotions. In every class – Anna reconnects with her inner child to fully meet and engage with a class full of young hearts and minds. The class begins gently and gradually builds energy and pace – adopting magical ways of maintaining the attention of each child. The class always ends with a sweet relaxation, breathing or concentration game to gently calm and nurture the minds of the children and adults alike.
As children regularly practice yoga, mastering new poses and creating a flow between their body and mind helps builds confidence. Even a simple step like a child being able to touch their toes after practicing each week, creates the feeling of achievement. Yoga allows every child to move at their own pace which helps mastering a pose to feel important and special. Children are encouraged to learn at their own pace, without a comparison to others.
Regular yoga practice helps promote a healthier body through poses that stretch, strengthen and build coordination too. Kids’ yoga improves flexibility and increases blood flow, which in turn can help reduce the risk of injury during other physical activity. Agility, flexibility, strength and coordination are just some of the key focuses in a yoga class.
Part of the positive changes teachers have found from using yoga in classes is the improvement they see in concentration. After a kids’ yoga session teachers have seen improvements in attention and even behaviour too. Using yoga as a short brain break between classes or subjects can help allow kids to better focus, which in turn means more learning! A teacher from a local Cornish school has said ‘my children’s ability to focus and sustain attention to a task significantly increases after doing yoga’.
Controlled breathing can work wonders for stress and anxiety, helping to give us a sense of calm and reassurance. When these breathing techniques are taught properly, this is no different for children. Yoga helps kids understand how to use their breathing to reduce stress and feel in control when they feel anxious. Once they master this whilst practicing yoga they can take this technique away with them to use whenever they need reassurance.
We all want our children to be healthy and activities like football, athletics or gymnastics are very popular for school and preschool aged children to keep active. Not all children enjoy the competitive nature of sports though, and performing to win just doesn’t suit all characters. Part of the reason yoga is so successful in schools is its inclusive nature. Yoga practice does not focus on levels of ability, winning or even being better than the person next to you. It instead encourages you to be the best you can be, putting the focus on the self. By promoting inclusive practice as a group, no matter what your level, kids’ yoga is great for children who don’t flourish in competitive environments.
Yoga helps to align the body and mind, meaning it can be a great introduction to mindfulness too. Children’s yoga often uses stories to engage kids, usually with a mindful message to take away; whether it’s about building confidence, finding inspiration or simply following your dreams! By using the whole body and thinking about our breath in each pose, children finish yoga feeling aligned, calm and happy.
Yoga for kids includes songs, story-telling and wordplay for fun. This gives the opportunity for younger children to learn new words and help develop language alongside their pre-school learning. The benefit of adding songs means that the physical movements can combine with the cognitive process of discovering new words – a kinaesthetic process, which aids learning.
For grown-ups and children alike, yoga is a brilliant way to develop coordination. As yoga poses work to use a range of muscles, kids find their body working in symmetry, improving body coordination and encouraging motor development.