Yoga helps children focus, eat healthier and gain more energy.
Owning a children’s yoga company I often hear, “I wish I had been taught yoga as a child.” Since you can feel the benefits of yoga, even after just a few classes, I understand why someone would make this comment. They are thinking how wonderful it would have been to experience those benefits all throughout life.
Here are eight benefits a child might experience from practicing yoga:
- Builds confidence and self-esteem regarding our personalities and our bodies. I’ve observed this in class with children many times, often with just one pose.
- Helps children develop focus, strength, coordination, balance, and flexibility (both physical and mental). This echoes into all of the other child’s activities.
- Cultivates feelings of peace and calm by teaching tools that can be used when frustrated or upset.
- Teaches breathing techniques. When we breathe deeply and fully during poses we become more aware and that brings peacefulness, energy and life to our bodies.
- Teaches us how to quiet the mind as well. Children are more stressed these days and learning to quiet the mind provides them with tools to bring peace when they feel they need it.
- Helps children diagnosed with hyperactivity or ADD or ADHD. These children crave movement and sensory/motor stimulus. Yoga helps channel these impulses in a positive way.
- Connects them more deeply within themselves through exercise and play.
- Helps develop awareness of the body and taking care of ourselves. They begin to pay better attention to what goes into their bodies and how they treat it. More specifically, they begin to develop awareness of how their bodies feel when they have a pain, feel energy, feel tired or eat too much. They also start to understand what it means to feel healthy by eating better. My hope is that by teaching yoga to kids at a young age they will live healthier lives as they grow older.
Here are three reasons yoga is important for kids now:
- Numerous articles have been written as well as various studies conducted on the impact of children learning yoga, both the poses and the breathing techniques. Specifically how a calm and peaceful mind allows a child clarity and focus, particularly at school. The demands of children in school and extra-curricular activities have increased. Yoga gives them the tools to move through those demands easily and gracefully.
- More children are being impacted by being overweight. In the past 30 years, the occurrence of obesity in children has doubled and it is now estimated that one in five children in the US is overweight. Increases in the prevalence of overweight are also being seen in younger children. Yoga is an opportunity to move the body, as well as become more aware of the body creating a greater respect for how we treat it.
- Advancements in technology have created a different life for children with computers, itouch, cellular phones and portable video games. When entranced in any of those the head is down, shoulders are hunched and breathing is shallow. Yoga is an opportunity to counter stretch these body parts, breathe deeply and take a break from the screen.
Here’s a great breathing technique call Belly Breath that helps to relax and calm your child (or you) right before bed or when you feel upset. Start lying on the back, with hands resting on the belly. Begin to breathe deeply, inhaling in through the nose, bringing the breath all the way down into the belly. Imagining there is a balloon and you are filling the balloon up with air, the belly looks big and full. Exhaling, breathing out through the nose, the air in the belly moves out, like the air moving out of a balloon, and the belly falls towards the floor. Repeat this breath 5-10 times.
Danay DiVirgilio founded kids yoga company YogaBuddies in 2004. YogaBuddies offers summer camps, enrichment classes, and educational products. Visit us at www.yogabuddies.com