5 Amazing Benefits of Kids Yoga

“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”

– Charles R. Swindoll 

 

Yoga for children offers a safe and inspirational environment where they can find health, happiness and acceptance.  It is an education for peace, a holistic approach exploring the educational aspects of ‘how to be’ with a child in a light and joyful mood. And just like being a parent, when teaching kids yoga it helps not only to be enthusiastic, fun, supportive and loving, but it’s also invaluable the ability to flow graciously with the unexpected.

Why is it important for children today to practice yoga?

Now more than ever our children are over-stimulated, between the television, internet, and video games.  And there is so much pressure within the school systems to excel academically.  It is a system that teaches children how to achieve but doesn’t teach them how to be. But now evidence is proving that yoga in schools (mindfulness), can positively impact academic achievement.  And above all yoga can teach kids how to love themselves when it comes from a place of love.

Yoga is about giving children the tools to manage stress and help them reach their potential. Children are more intuitive to follow their own wisdom and will come out of a pose if it doesn’t feel right.  And through relaxation, in the quiet, they can find their sense of being.  It is this very listening and trusting one’s inner voice that yoga can encourage in children, opening the door for them to shine through themselves.

How can kids benefit from this ancient eastern art?

When it comes to health and fitness for children, we tend to focus on a sport and outdoor play.  But yoga is another form of exercise that offers them many advantages. Here are five amazing benefits yoga has for kids:

  1. Enhances Physical Flexibility: Yoga promotes physical strength as kids learn to use all of their muscles in new ways. Each pose can challenge a child to become more aware of their body as they are standing, sitting, or lying down.

  2. Develops Focus and Concentration: The act of practicing poses encourages children to clear their mind and focus on the effort. By learning how to be still in one place and focus on what’s important as opposed to letting their mind wander and be distracted easily, yoga can help children in school, boosting their attention span and improving their grades.

  3. Refines Balance and Coordination: Balancing poses promote mental and physical poise, as children’s mental clarity and stability emerge from their efforts. As one learns to improve their physical balance, they gain a strong sense of accomplishment.

  4. Boosts Self-Esteem and Confidence: Yoga helps to instill confidence and to bring learning to children on an experiential level. It teaches them to persevere, be patient, and work toward their goals. And when a child is able to display great agility and flexibility, it does wonders for their confidence. They become more poised and start to believe in their abilities, which positively affects school performance.

  5. Relaxes and Strengthens the Mind-Body Connection: Yoga helps children relax and de-stress when they feel upset or depressed, soothing their minds and helping them get back to a natural mental state. By exercising their physical body and calming their mental spirit they can develop a more resilient and resourceful body, mind, and spirit. 

How is “sharing” kids yoga similar to being a parent?

Every class I find myself learning from these precious little people. So much so that I learned very early on that I’m not teaching, but rather “sharing” yoga with them. Children, my students and my own, keep teaching me to constantly inquire within myself. Yes there may be times they don’t want to participate or they find it difficult to practice.  But it is how we react that matters; and that’s where the work is. If we know how to hold the space and our place in peace kids will react to that. Teaching, like parenting, cannot come from an empty space that’s not been nourished and fed. So it’s important as a yoga teacher to practice what we teach, just as a parent it’s important to practice what we preach. 

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