Yoga Benefits For Kids: In School and Beyond
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll
Now more than ever our children are over-stimulated, between the television, Internet, and video games. There’s so much pressure within the school systems to excel academically. It’s a system that teaches children how to achieve but doesn’t teach them how to be. Now evidence is proving that yoga in schools (Mindfulness), can positively impact academic achievement. Here are some benefits of yoga for children, in school and beyond.
Yoga for children is great way to offer a safe and inspirational environment where they can find health, happiness, and acceptance. It’s an opportunity to be enthusiastic, have fun, be supported and loved – from the inside out. And most importantly, it’s an education for peace. I don’t know about you, but as a parent this day and age I feel that alone is reason enough to get my kids on the mat.
Yoga is about giving children the tools to manage stress and help them reach their potential. Through relaxation, in stillness, they can find their sense of being. It’s this very listening and trusting one’s inner guidance that helps to encourage children to shine bright.
When it comes to health and fitness for children we tend to focus on a sport or outdoor play but yoga is another form of exercise that offers many advantages. Here are five amazing yoga benefits 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 coordination. 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 boost their attention span and improve grades in school.
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 instil confidence as it brings 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 can 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 more resilient and resourceful body, mind and spirit.
Every time I’m on the mat with these precious little people I find myself learning from them. Children, keep teaching me to constantly inquire within myself, on and off the mat. Yes there may be times they don’t want to participate or they find it difficult to practice, but it’s 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 just as it’s essential as a yoga teacher to practice what we teach, it’s even more important as a parent to practice what we preach.
With so many benefits of yoga in schools, we should encourage more of these programs as part of our children’s education. If you are interested in talking to your child’s school about implementing a yoga program, you can speak your school headmaster/principal/teacher and educate your community about the benefits of yoga in schools.
Have your little one join me this Autumn for Sunday Fun Days: three kids yoga workshops!
As always, I’d love connecting with you and hear about how your little one finds fun and peace! Head over to the comments section below to share your thoughts.
With love and gratitude,
Ten years as an American expat in Europe, Leslie knows what it takes to overcome the challenges to create a new and happy life. As an international Coach, Yoga Teacher, Writer, and Speaker she guides others to live a stress free life. A Los Angeles native, she lives in Barcelona with her French husband and two children. To find out more about Leslie and her work click here.
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