Starting an early yoga practice with your kid benefits them holistically and gives them the tools they need, within themselves, to thrive in a busy world. Grown-ups have all sorts of priorities and concerns on their plate, and kids do too! Kids live in a world where technology is at their fingertips, knowledge and information are accessible, and all sorts of messages are easily exposed to them. This overstimulation can be very distracting and can make it difficult for them to focus on a single task at hand, let alone all the things that are expected of them on the academic and social levels. With just a few moments of yoga and consistent practice, your little ones will develop healthy bodies, fuller breaths, brains geared up for learning, and the values that contribute to a happy life with their buddies!
Kids yoga integrates their whole, entire body…from the crown of their head all the way down to their tippy toes!
In asana, the physical practice of yoga, the use of simple yoga poses with kids helps with their balance, coordination, core strength, and flexibility.
Kids develop better body awareness when they learn postures or play yoga games by identifying what body parts to stretch, bend, twist, lower, or lift.
When practicing poses on both sides of their body, the right and the left side, yoga contributes to their overall motor development.
By practicing how to sit and stand “tall” in yoga, kids can develop good posture.
Yoga relaxes the body and prepares it for a good night’s sleep.
In kids meditation, sitting in quiet for a few moments enables them to pay mindful attention to the workings of their other senses.
When they feel good moving in their body, they can do more with their body! More sports, more dancing, more fun outdoor activities! A healthy body image and body appreciation can stem from a healthy yoga practice with your little one!
Practicing some breathwork or pranayama with your kids sets the tone for the class and helps them settle into the present, into the NOW.
Depending on your kids’ moods, the right kind of breath will either calm and relax, or energize them!
Simple breathing exercises prepare them for meditation.
Taking a few moments to pay attention to their breath is a great way to stimulate their concentration, especially when they are doing challenging poses like balances or holding postures for a longer amount of time.
A healthy breath means better circulation and more oxygen for the body!
Kids are constantly learning new things, and yoga helps with learning!
Through mindful movements and focus, yoga can de-clutter your kids’ very busy brains, therefore increasing their attention span and improving comprehension.
Yoga helps them retain information and improves their memory by learning postures through songs, yoga stories and yoga activities.
By developing their motor skills on both sides of the body, yoga utilizes both sides of your kids’ brains as well!
Kids yoga is all about using the imagination to create movement and shapes with the body. By practicing yoga, kids will widen the scope of their creativity and might even come up with creative ideas of their own!
Yoga is also about relationships and how we connect with others. The values learned while practicing yoga teaches our little Ohm-ies beautiful things about themselves, other living beings, and how to live in this world together.
Yoga games in class instill a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among your little one and his fellow students.
The process of learning and practicing a yoga pose helps kids become more compassionate and helpful towards other kids who are also trying their best. There is never any competition in yoga…just a safe space where kids can practice, do their best, laugh it off, and try again!
Being in a room with other kids of all sorts of personalities can improve their social and communication skills.
Kids are allowed to feel what they feel, and mindful practice helps them acknowledge their emotions and puts them in a healthy place to deal with certain things in their own peaceful way.
Yoga helps kids to embrace their uniqueness and unique skills, therefore instilling a sense of respect in our kids; respect for themselves, respect for other people, and respect for their surroundings.
Yoga fills you up with life, light, peace, and joy…and all of that spreads quickly as you share your yoga gifts with your little ones! Kids yoga benefits the grown-ups, too! Take some moments to simply have fun, be silly, color outside of the lines, play make-believe, be spontaneous, and let your inner kid shine!Wouldn’t the world be an even more beautiful place if we all learned how to play nice? 🙂
Each month we bring a teacher into the #ODDlight and illuminate their interests, practices, and who they are. There is a real person behind those people you see in class!
Name: Bianca Cueva
Nick Name: Binky, Bonky, Binks, Biancs, B. :))
Hometown: The Philippines
Favorite Place: The beach. And wherever friends and family are. <3
Favorite color: Blue-Green (the color of the ocean approaching the shore)
What’s your sign? Sagittarius
Most embarrassing moment? I fell…not tripped, more like…ate the floor, at prom.
Most empowering moment?
When my little siblings were born. Being a big sister is the biggest and most empowering responsibility. I have a younger sister and brother who mean the world to me and who I am so proud of.
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
I used to be really into spinning fire. It’s a flow art known as “poi” spinning. I’m also an actress! Why else would I have moved to Los Angeles? 😉
CHECK OUT HER NEW NATIONAL COMMERCIAL!!!! –
Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something that you love to tell.
On a trip to Bangkok with some of my closest friends, I was almost stranded at the airport on the way home. Long story short (because it is a LOOONG story), I am dual citizen (Filipino-American) and at the time did not have the right documentation they required to prove that I was a Filipino resident. They thought I was just an American, and asked me how long I planned to stay in the Philippines when I had been living in the Philippines for majority of my life at this point. They wouldn’t believe me because I didn’t have the “right dual citizenship documentation” they needed. I presented my driver’s license, birth certificate, a document proving I was born of two Filipino parents, an authorization letter saying I was allowed to travel, and other major IDs, but nooooo. I had never made so much effort to convince people that I was who I claimed I was. It was crazy, felt a little like identity theft. :))
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)?
I love going to the beach when I can! And I love that California is perfect for that. When I have extra time and money, I also enjoy watching concerts and shows, seeing new places and attractions (like museums, record stores, book stores), or going out of town with friends. When I have good money and even more time on my hands, I love to travel whether that’s back home to the Philippines or to an entirely new place I’ve never been.
How do you define yoga?
Yoga is a relationship, a connection, a FRIENDSHIP (I like to think) that you have with your physical body, your spirit, your breath, your mind…with people, and strangers, and living things, and unforeseeable circumstances, and opportunities, and trying times, and victories, and embarrassing moments (I can go on and on)…that enables you to live joyfully. Yoga happens wherever you are, as you are. Yoga for me today is taking an ancient practice and philosophy and using these beautiful, universal values and practices to see life through the lens of light, compassion, kindness, and joy.
Why do you teach?
I teach because it makes me happy to share something beautiful with others. I can simply practice yoga on my own and keep the awesomeness all to myself. But there is something about sharing the yoga experience with other people in the room, helping to facilitate movement and breath, guiding students through a flow, meditating in stillness together, sharing stories, laughing and giggling together that makes my heart warm. I mostly teach families and kids, so I have a soft spot in my heart for that type of yoga. Seeing parents, children and their friends or siblings practice together, having a fun time doing it, connecting with each other as a family and sharing that moment with the other students in the room with them reminds me why I do what I do. Family and community, coming together and being open. I’m all about it.
What brought you to become an instructor?
I have always worked with kids and I’m passionate about that. I was a preschool teacher and a performer for kids’ events before I moved to LA. I knew I wanted to teach kids, but never considered teaching Kids’ Yoga. What brought me to being a yoga teacher is simple. I wanted to grow more in my practice and learn all this information, so I joined ODD’s 200-Hour Teacher Training in 2015. I didn’t know if I wanted to be a teacher then, but the training definitely made things clearer as I went through it. I knew then that I wanted to integrate what I learned and use this powerful practice to bring families together and to teach kids the magic of stillness and quiet as well as spontaneity, fluidity, and movement in order to help them become more confident and comfortable in themselves and their dreams. 🙂
What is your favorite song to play in class?
Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles. It was one of my mom’s favorite songs and it immediately reminds me of her.
What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?
Gotta stick to tradition here. I love flowing through Surya A. I’ve done it plenty of times, but it teaches me something about myself every time I practice it. It sheds light on how balance comes to play in yoga: effort and ease, structure and spontaneity, strength and grace. There’s something about flowing through that Vinyasa: starting out lifted, then taking it to the ground, opening the heart, activating the back, inverting in Downdog, and closing out with Urdhva Hastasana—an upward salute to the sun, sky, universe, to life or love, what have you. It’s like my moving metaphor.
Memorable yoga moment?
I was teaching one my kid students in her home and we were practicing Warrior 3. We were pretending to be airplanes, balancing on one leg and with our arms stretched to the side like wings when she says, “This is your captain speaking. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight. And those of you in Coach, you don’t get any free food.” :)) I cracked up!!! That’s why I love teaching kids. They are unpredictable and really do say the darndest things. 🙂 Teaching kids teaches me to see fun and silliness in everything.
What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc):
My favorite prop is a yoga block or bolster. There are so many possibilities and cozy modifications you can use them for. And my favorite yoga piece is a mala (I wrap it around my wrist) that I made myself out of a mala-making kit that one of my co-teacher trainees gave us during our last day of training. It reminds me to keep learning as I did in my teacher training, to always be a student of yoga.
What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart? (We will want to be more non-profits and would love to do so on your behalf):
My mom, who was my best friend in the whole world, passed away from cancer on November 12, 2013. I would love to support non-profits, organizations, or any cause that supports cancer patients and works towards cancer awareness and research. PS.: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in sharing you and your happenings?