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How Kids Yoga Develops Self-Regulation Skills

Please meet, Leah Kalish, the owner of Move With Me Yoga Adventures, a series of kids yoga adventure videos.  We have recently connected as we share a similar passion for integrating movement, learning, and adventure stories.  Leah shares with us her research on how the practice of kids yoga assists in developing self regulation skills.

Self-Regulation Skills are Developed through Kids Yoga


Self-Regulation Happens in the BODY.
Kids Yoga is the Perfect Playground to Develop it!

According to the latest research by Dr. Shonkoff, Director, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University, “our early experiences literally shape our learning capacities as well as our future mental and physical health.” He explains that the physical, cognitive and social-emotional components of healthy development are inseparable and that every adult-child interaction matters for young children. Check out his 3 minute video: Brain Builder. You will understand why he is an advocate for greater investment in early childhood programs that engage, support and build the physical and social-emotional skills of parents, teachers and children.

Self-regulation happens in the body.

That’s why intentional movement, such as yoga, has such profound effects on children’s ability to focus, calm themselves, and filter sensory information.

Movement practices, combined with appropriate mirroring, develop a child’s self-awareness, emotional intelligence and self-control. Movement builds brain cells and grows the optimal functioning of every system in the body.

As a child’s muscles and coordination grow, so does the density of the brain and its executive function. So, if we want youth to be learning able as well as emotionally stable, we need practical and affordable tools that enable them to EMBODY emotional intelligence and PRACTICE self-care.

The research is definitive. It’s vital that we move beyond discussion to the actuality of providing activities in preschool that support playful, purposeful whole child engagement.

Kids yoga has become increasingly popular because it is a perfect playground for active fun that develops motor skills and fitness along with social-emotional awareness and self-regulation tools.

move with me Boy as Dragon

As educators, we know from experience, that when children feel in control of their own bodies and can navigate their own stress and frustration from the inside out in a healthy way, they are learning able and emotionally stable.

Having taught LOTS of professional development, I see that teachers get it, but do not have the training to do it with their students. They should have a movement specialist coming in, yet there is no budget for it. So, they are responsible and they need motor and embodied mindfulness resources.

About Move with Me ™ Yoga Adventures

move with me action adventures logo

The lack of playful, embodied curriculum is what inspired me to produce the Move with Me ™ Yoga Adventures that teach health and self-regulation skills. Our video classes are designed to involve the whole child in social-emotional learning through stories and pretend play. In the process of acting out a narrative through movement, children have the fun of “being” everything in the story – the lion, the rocket, the tree. So, while they are having fun building fitness, focus, stamina and coordination, they are also improving early literacy and learning social-emotional skills, which are imbedded into the action and called Adventure Skills. These simple exercises, with cool names such as Monkey Wisdom and Ocean Breath, empower kids to calm, center and redirect themselves when upset, angry, frustrated, sad, scared or over-whelmed. They give both care-giver and child a common vocabulary and a set of tools for SEL that can transform meltdowns into mindfulness and acting out to self-control.

That we are now delivering video classes, flash cards and curriculum that help teachers bring more active play and self-regulation techniques into their classrooms is deeply fulfilling. I’m proud to be contributing to preschools, Head Starts, First 5’s, OTs and PT’s nationwide. I’m thrilled that the LA Times had me do a video series of yoga based self-regulation exercises for kids because it means awareness is growing and that together, we can support more children being physically fit, learning able and emotionally stable in their formative years.

Interested in learning more about the Move with Me Yoga Adventure videos?  Sign up for the weekly Kids Yoga Stories Newsletter (by adding your name and address to the box at the top of the page) to found out when we post our upcoming review of the program.

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