You might find your kid’s yoga practice inspires you!
Every morning, the scene in my house goes like this – I rush the kids through breakfast and try to get them ready for school when one of them sits on the floor, crosses his legs, shut his eyes and exhales beautifully and loudly chants “Ommm”. Since I first enrolled my kids in a yoga class, it became contagious and is now a big part of our daily routine.
Kids are natural yogis! Their purity of heart and the ability to absorb what is happening around them makes them our little masters. In today’s fast-paced life, when kids are constantly rushed to meet the demands of school and extracurricular activities, it sometimes conceals their yogic nature. Thankfully, the secular movement that brought yoga to the West is also reaching the lives of children. There are lots of different styles of yoga classes for children. Some are more focused on the physical benefits, while others also incorporate the social and mindful teachings of yoga. With the increasing number of yoga classes for kids, how can you choose the right one for your child? Here are some points to consider before you begin.
1. Ensure it is not an adult yoga class
I love the idea of sharing my yoga mat with the kids and we practice our poses and mantras together. However, my practice as an adult is very different from theirs. Children have a lower attention span, but a higher ability to play and be creative. Yoga classes for kids must speak the child’s language and draw from their stories and imagination.
2. What does your child need most from the practice?
Yoga is well known to improve overall health, focus and self-esteem, while also calming the mind. Children who are more introspective will benefit from a gently interactive group class, whereas those who are more active will enjoy a dynamic sequence and benefit from experiencing deep relaxation.
3. Search for a qualified teacher
A qualified teacher is able to guide the students through all the nourishing aspects of yoga. He or she can identify different physical abilities and body alignments, as well as find the best ways to nurture the students’ inner strength, compassion and contentment. Teachers with this type of experience will have a progressive class programme tailored to the physical and emotional wellbeing and requirements of its students.
4. Be inspired
Parents, including myself, often send their kids to a yoga class because they have experienced or simply heard of its benefits. In turn, kids who enjoy a good yoga class can be a source of inspiration for their parents. In the yoga tradition, the ultimate goal is to realise our divine nature and live harmoniously as a universal family, “Om Shanti!”
Our Pick Of Yoga Classes For Children In HK
While there are many yoga studios around town and private teachers who will organise classes for a large enough group of kids, here are a few that we feel offer something unique and are suitable for different types of children.
Kidding Around Yoga (KAY) with Carmen
As the name suggests, this is a vibrant and mindful yoga class with the ultimate goal of teaching kids how to be connected and help each other. Regular yoga classes and nature retreats are run side by side with arts and environmental awareness. The classes are run by Carmen Sanz, a qualified yoga and kids yoga teacher, who after teaching children in classrooms for years, realised the importance and effectiveness of learning through movement and interactive games in the outdoors and in forest schools. KAY with Carmen combines yoga philosophy, asanas, breathing, relaxation and meditation in a format that children can engage with.
Age: 3 to 8 years (a parent or caregiver can attend accompanied classes)
Located in a home-like studio, Little Yogis combines yoga and cooking. It is run by Carina and Mathew, who educate kids to make healthier food choices after their exercise. Mathew, a self-confessed picky eater as a child, is on a mission to expand the palate of kids by teaching them an “Around the World” set of recipes after each yoga class. Together with Carina, the yoga teacher, they provide classes that incorporate sensory elements on and off the yoga mat to bring out the master in every child.
Age: 2 to 8 years
Bringing the essence of yoga into play, this dynamic non-profit organisation makes yoga, art and meditation accessible to every child. Children with special needs, chronic illnesses and disabilities enjoy a lively and authentic yoga practice under the guidance of specialised teachers. It has been co-founded by Hersha Chellaram, a yoga teacher trainer and an exponent of “Adaptive Yoga” and “Yoga for the Special Child” in Hong Kong. Yama Foundation uses these branches of yoga in its classes and offers outreach programmes across the city, encouraging kids and families to join and experience the ease of body and peace of mind that yoga brings.
Age: 4 years upwards
Kids Yoga & Arts by Sudha Nair
From yoga mats to children’s fingertips, the language in this class is colour. Kids are immersed in a 120-minute session of mandala painting, yoga postures, chanting and meditation. Each class incorporates art activities to increase focus and promote visual creativity. The programme has been designed by a naturopath and yogic science expert, Sudha Nair, who believes that a child’s anxiety and stress levels can melt away with yoga and art. Through a goal-oriented class, she expects to provide kids with skills such as strength, laughter and relaxation that can be used throughout their lives.
Age: 5 to 10 years
Read more: How To Introduce Your Children To Art
One of the first yoga centres for kids in Hong Kong, Gecko Yoga supports a non-competitive environment where kids can enjoy and explore a healthy lifestyle. Yoga postures, breathing techniques and mindfulness activities are delivered through interactive games, brain boosting movements and visualisations. Classes are also run at many international schools across Hong Kong Island and the New Territories.
Age: 6 years onwards
AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga for Kids and Teens
Developed by the masters of AntiGravity® Fitness, this programme of AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga for Kids and Teens brings out the child’s inner superhero! Through a series of yoga sequences, kids are guided to defy gravity on the hammock, learn safety in movement and aerial acrobatic tricks. As they advance in the practice, breathing techniques and mindful exercises are brought into play.
Age: 8 to 11 years
Yoga for Kids at Anhao
A kid’s yoga class, filled with sunshine, where the magic word is Adventure. Your little ones are given a new yoga experience every week by using the power of their creativity to discover breathing exercises, yoga poses and meditation. Classes are run by a former primary school teacher who chose to transfer her educational skills to the yoga mat. These group classes are conducted on Wednesday evenings.
Age: 4 to 7 years
Classes here are run in a calm and undisturbed environment helping kids find their inner peace through yoga while exploring movement, music and play. A quiet and intimate space, Meera Center offers private and group classes for kids with special needs and those who require regular yoga practice. It is conveniently located near the MTR and has easy parking facilities.
Age: 5 years onwards
Meera Center, Unit 1009, W50, 50 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Hong Kong, 6400 5716, www.meeracenter.com
Editor’s note: This piece has been written by Mirna Salgadinho who runs the Meera Center and also works at, and supports, the YAMA Foundation.
Featured image courtesy of Gecko Yoga, image 1 courtesy of Jyotirmoy Gupta via Unsplash, image 2 courtesy of Kidding Around Yoga with Carmen via Facebook, image 3 courtesy of Little Yogis, image 4 courtesy of YAMA Foundation, image 5 courtesy of Ravi Kant via Pexels, image 6 courtesy of Gecko Yoga, image 7 courtesy of Flex Studio, image 8 courtesy of Anhao Wellness, image 9 courtesy of Meera Center