Kids' yoga classes in London
Looking for kids' yoga classes in London? From schools to yoga studios, here's why you should introduce your child to yoga – and where to do it
Kids' yoga is on offer at London's coolest venues, from London's summer festivals to the city's most brilliant creative spaces, like Peckham Levels, which offers children's yoga workshops for 5- to 10-year-olds (for £9), incorporating yoga, mindfulness and Montessori teachings at the LevelSix space. And of course, there are yoga studios across the city offering kids' yoga as well as adult yoga classes.
Yoga feels like an essential antidote for the myriad stresses that kids today face: climate change, technology and social media, exam and school pressure… We know that mindfulness is incredibly beneficial for kids (and UK schools are implementing mental health leads as part of this) and that yoga teaches children principles of mindfulness, being in the present moment and learning to calm themselves. Yoga is as useful for a toddler struggling with a tantrum of emotions as it is for a teen learning to accept themselves as they go through an intense period of physical and emotional change.
At every age and stage, yoga has distinct benefits for children, helping not only their physical, but their emotional, development:
'Children of all ages can be as busy and over-stimulated as any adult in today’s fast-paced world. Yoga, with its breathing and relaxation techniques, helps calm and still the mind. It’s a powerful tool to help them in a world where they are rarely without "input". It slows brain patterns and improves concentration, making information easier to absorb. As a result, it helps learning and allows children to explore their intuitive nature and their individual spirituality,' explains Susannah Hoffman, who created the Teaching Yoga to Children course at triyoga and teaches a range of kids' yoga classes there. She is also the author of the bestselling book, Yoga for Kids.
If you feel you need a yoga sesh at home for the little ones, Cosmic Kids is a popular yoga channel that teams cartoons with yoga postures (and gives you 15 minutes to whip up dinner).
Kids' yoga offered at studios in Camden, Ealing, Chelsea and Shoreditch during term time
triyoga's network of London studios in the north, south and west of London caters to a range of yogi interests, including pregnancy yoga, baby massage, baby yoga and toddler yoga (ages two to four, in Camden), where kids and their parents make shapes, play games and sing songs and to help promote toddlers' coordination and motor skills.
For children aged four and up, kids' yoga classes (from £8.50 for a drop-in) are divided into age groups (four to six, seven to nine, 10 to 12 and teen).
'For four- to six-year-olds, yoga offers a wonderful way to help increase concentration, self-awareness and self-esteem, while strengthening children’s bodies, boosting stamina and helping develop good posture and coordination. Children aged seven to nine and nine to 12 often have the most energy, but can also be tired and stressed from school. Yoga is a way to relax and build strength and confidence. Additionally, practising poses can help correct posture after sitting at a desk all day and carrying heavy school bags,' Susannah says.
Teen classes (in Ealing) team flow sequences with restorative postures, meditations and breathwork. Namaste.
Keen for a few poses to try at home when you can't make it into the studio? Susannah explains that slow breathing is linked with slowing down the mind, so turning a posture like cat pose into a breathing exercise can be a start.
'When it comes to young children, a fun way to get them to lengthen their breath is by making sounds, such as "meow" in cat pose. Or just simply "Mmm" for as long as they can on one exhale. It’s a fun exercise that is setting the foundations for deeper breathing exercises. This is great to do before bed or if your child is feeling anxious,' she explains.
Cat and dog are also great stretching poses for children to practise. Cat will warm up the spine, strengthen, increase flexibility and improve posture. Dog will improve the blood supply to the brain – try them before school to start your day well.
You probably won't want them doing handstands at home on your watch, but encouraging them to try these trickier poses in class can be a great way for children to conquer their own fears and boost their self-confidence.
'So many adults are still so fearful, so I want to help build children’s trust in themselves. When we become fearful, we can stop living our full potential. In a class setting, inversions like handstands for seven years and up can really help to build their confidence and sense of play,' says Susannah.
The Shala London
1 Chestnut Road, West Norwood, London SE27 9EZ
The Shala offers a comprehensive yoga course schedule with everything from pregnancy yoga to monthly family workshops for kids aged four and up. For those aged six and over, there are weekly kids' yoga classes taught by Michelle Falzon, designed to encourage freedom of movement and to help children find their inner calm. Teen classes – essential for stress reduction and memory retention, as well as improving posture, coordination, strength and flexibility – are also on the weekly schedule.
locations across London (family yoga workshops in Brixton and Winchmore Hill)
MoreYoga's mantra is one of accessibility (pay-as-you-go classes start from as little as £6.50 with a class pass), so it's appropriate they host Family Yoga Workshops for kids aged five and up. These are designed for parents to do with their kids, exploring different movements and shapes together through partner-based games and poses, as well as incorporating mindfulness techniques. Family bonding at its best, we think. Workshops from £25 for one parent and one child.
Yoga House London
Locations in Lee and Catford
Yoga House offers family yoga sessions for five- to 11-year-olds once a month (with parents), where kids play yoga games, do fun breathing exercises and learn about yoga through books and songs, as well as partner poses and meditation techniques (£6 per yogi). Look out for baby and me yoga classes and teen yoga and mindfulness workshops, which are run monthly and help with flexibility and strength – there's even partner and acro-style yoga work.
Sadhana Yoga & Wellbeing
91 St Johns Hill, Clapham Junction, London SW11 1SY
If your six- to 11-year-old fancies a bit of stretching, games and partner poses (double dog! double moon!), then kids' yoga at Sadhana in Clapham Junction is the place to go. Taught by Jake Birnie, who also specialises in teaching yoga to kids with special needs, children also learn about mindfulness techniques as they lie down and think happy thoughts, discuss their feelings and enjoy some mindful colouring. Classes start up again in January 2020, Thursdays after school during term time.