Our expert Victoria Tso on how yoga can restore balance and calm in busy families

Q: My son is so full of beans we’re looking for ways to channel his energy positively and help him to focus on why it’s good to relax. I’ve heard yoga can help to restore balance– can you advise?

A: You are absolutely right that yoga is a super tool for helping children channel their energy and to self-regulate. Yoga not only has physical benefits such as building strength, balance and coordination, it also improves quality of sleep and is great for children’s mental health. One if the greatest powers of yoga is that, by moving our bodies into the specific poses, we build our mind-body connection and children can let out their energy but also calm their minds. It means that even the bubbliest children are able to really settle into relaxation at the end of practice.

“Sharing yoga breathing techniques with children can also help them regulate their emotions”

There are lots of great yoga classes for children popping up (just check the instructor is properly trained in children-specific yoga) but it’s also great to practice at home. Yoga can be practiced anywhere, with little or no equipment and alone or in a group – this makes it hugely empowering. I recommend teaching children the sun salutation sequences as a warm up. They usually really enjoy these flows, and they help to stretch and warm the body. You can then move on to whichever poses your child enjoys most. Balancing poses such as tree pose and warrior 3 are great options for building focus, while grounding poses such as child’s pose and legs up the wall pose can help children feel peaceful and safe.

It is really valuable to share breathing techniques with children, which can also help them regulate their emotions. The wood chopper breath is really easy to do and very energising while the Humming Bee Breath helps soothe the vagus nerve, calming children down. For further inspiration, there are resources to help parents and teachers share yoga with children over on my website.

Victoria Tso is a children’s yoga teacher and founder of Inner Child Yoga School innerchildyogaschool.com

Further reading: Mind games, journals and games to help children relax