Newport Beach-based author and children’s yoga expert Teresa Power’s book “The ABCs of Yoga for Kids” not only was a bestselling how-to guide for introducing children to yoga, but it also spurred Power to create Kids’ Yoga Day, held every year on the first Friday in April.
That means that thousands of kids are preparing to participate in the 6th Annual Kids’ Yoga Day on April 9.
Power says her vision is to spread peace from nation to nation, child by child, and she’s on a mission to celebrate both the diversity and oneness of youth with her latest book, “The Night Before Kids’ Yoga Day.” In this send-up of the classic Christmas poem, readers will learn the simple yoga poses performed on Kids’ Yoga Day every year, but no prior knowledge of yoga is required.
According to Power, since Kids’ Yoga Day was launched in 2015, 322,000 children and their caregivers have joined together to do the same routine, at the same time, all around the globe.
This year, Power counts 100,000 children set to participate in 2021, and that number is growing.
According to a recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, the number of children using yoga and meditation is rising. Kids need a healthy outlet to balance their lives, and yoga and meditation is a means to slow down the pace and help children find their center.
Power notes that for children, yoga helps to develop discipline, heightens body awareness and self-control, helps kids to gain strength as well as flexibility, increases their ability to focus and concentrate, and helps them stay calm (even kids with ADD or ADHD). All told, this translates into healthier minds and bodies, not to mention better performance at school!
When Power asks kids what they think are the main benefits of yoga, the top response is that it makes them feel relaxed.
“I tell them that yes, this is true, but there are other benefits of yoga in addition to promoting calmness and easing stress,” says Power. “For instance, yoga nourishes the mind, body, and spirit, and paves the way for a life-long tradition of health and fitness. Furthermore, it helps develop discipline, aids in the performance of other sports activities, heightens body awareness and self-control, helps children gain strength and flexibility, increases the ability to concentrate and focus, and helps kids feel empowered.”
Power says it’s relatively easy for kids to learn yoga, because they are impressionable and open to new ideas and concepts. Learning simple yoga poses is easy for them, and they are good at imitating what they see.
“That is why I wrote my first book, ‘The ABCs of Yoga for Kids.’ My goal was to have fun illustrations of kids doing yoga postures, so kids could just pick up the book and be able to do the poses on their own,” says Powers. “Children love to learn new things, and enjoy getting into all of the poses. For kids, it is all about making yoga fun for them so that they can naturally unwind and get into the postures. Yoga for kids is about practicing a variety of fun yoga poses that encourage children to be playful, while at the same time gaining a strong mind-body connection.
According to Power, many kids have experienced overwhelming emotions and pressures due to COVID-19 and social distancing. Yoga can help manage and alleviate these feelings by helping kids to stay calm and centered instead of panicked and unbalanced.
“Simple breathing exercises combined with yoga poses can change the way kids react to circumstances,” explains Power. “For instance, doing five minutes of yoga a day can help them shift their mindset from fear to being in the moment and exercising their minds and bodies.”
That brings us back to Kids’ Yoga Day, which Power says has gone international. Her reasoning: yoga has world-wide appeal because it is a way for schools, yoga teachers, day care centers, and families to bond together and take part in something bigger than themselves.
“It is a chance for kids across the globe to practice not only yoga on the same day, but also their oneness and diversity at the same time,” says Power. “The result is magic—it brings worldwide attention to the fact that yoga is every bit as good for children as it is for adults, and it is especially needed during these uncertain times we are in.”
Power says for children up to age 3, there are no time constraints to practicing yoga; even 5 minutes a day practicing some simple yoga poses will go a long way in establishing a routine of healthy physical activity.
For kids ages 3-6, practicing yoga for 15-20 minutes is a good place to start, but she says even five minutes a day can build lasting results. Elementary children can practice for half an hour to 45 minutes, preteens 45 minutes to 1 hour.
“I suggest keeping it simple so that kids can be successful,” notes Power. “It is better to start slowly and develop gradually. A daily practice is ideal as it develops strong habits and kids progress faster in the poses, but at least once a week is good for kids.”
And for those wondering about Power’s background with yoga, she has been practicing yoga for over 36 years.
“I discovered yoga when I was in law school as a way to destress from my studies, and have been practicing on a regular basis ever since. I eventually left the practice of law and became a yoga teacher, teaching kids and adults for over 22 years. I feel so grateful to have a personal yoga practice, as it has helped me tremendously over the years. I feel more grounded, focused, relaxed, strong, and flexible when I practice, and the clarity that I have developed has enabled me to continue to grow and expand my passion of helping children through yoga and mindfulness.”
For more information and to sign up for Kids’ Yoga Day, visit https://www.kidsyogaday.com.