Yoga is an ancient science that helps to create health and well-being by building awareness, strength, and flexibility in both mind and body. Yoga is an egalitarian practice, bestowing it’s benefits on every practitioner, regrdless of his or her physical abilities. Yoga postures, or Asanas, are practiced by people of all ages and in many different states of health and fitness.
Practitioners have long attested to the benefits of yoga including stress and pain relief, improved circulation and digestion, better body alignment, increased concentration, deeper, more relaxed breathing, and a sense of well-being and inner peace. The question is – does yoga hold these benefits for children as well? The answer is YES, and more!
Yoga is a fun way for children to develop important skills in a supportive, non-competetive environment. Even at a yound age, children often feel pressure at school socially as well as academically, in addition to the pressure of competetive organised sports. It is easy for girls and boys to become overly self-critical, and lose confidence in themselves as they grow and change. Yoga is a great remedy; there is no judgement in class about how a child does a pose or plays a game. Doind a pose ‘perfectly’ is not the aim of yoga, which nourishes a child’s inner strength and self acceptance.
This nurturing atmosphere encourages children to relax and have fun while they develop not only strength, coordination, flexibility and balance, but also body awareness, better focus and concentration, and self confidence.
In Yoga for Kids classes, there is a balance between spontaneity and structure, so that kids learn to listen to each other as well as express themselves creatively. We believe that kids learn best when they’re having fun, so Yoga for Kids classes interweave story, song, games and poses, allowing children to learn in a multi-sensory environment which explores kinesthetic, visual, aural, inter-and intra-personal learning. This makes Yoga for Kids classes much more active than yoga for adults, and much more fun!
In Yoga class, children are also encouraged to respect and pay attention to their bodies, making sure each pose feels good and coming in and out of shapes when they feel ready (something most adults have a hard time doing!). As children grow and their bodies change quickly, this becomes an important skill.
Besides the immense physical and mental benefits, a central belief of yoga practice is respect and honour for ourselves, for each other and our environment. In a yoga class, children often go on magical journeys around the world, learning about many cultures in the process. And since many of the yoga poses are of animals, children also learn about different animal habitats, endangered species, and often get to share their knowledge of a favourite animal.
Children have an innate affinity with the natural world, and animals in particular. They understand and enjoy learning about and caring for the earth and it’s inhabitants, both human and animal.
Yoga is a holistic practice, with an inner as well as an outer focus. But most importantly, it’s fun!
THE BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR KIDS
-improves strengt and flexibilty
-increases self confidence and builds a positive self-image
-increases emotional strength
-helps to balance body and mind
-teaches self-acceptance and self-love
-increases sensory awareness and also great body awareness
-builds coordination and balance
-develops self-discipline and self-control
-helps build concentration
-helps us to stand and feel taller
-increase awareness of breath
-is non competitive
-expands awareness of animals, nature and the environment
-encourages cooperation and teamwork
-helps kids find and build inner strength
-teaches how to relax and reduce stress
-encourages compassion, generosity and respect
-teaches how to find inner peace
-YOGA IS FUN!!!
So get your kids started in yoga today, as a baby, toddler, pre-schooler, primary schooler or teenager. If your school doesn’t offer it, suggest it, I’m Happy to come teach it as Im a qualified Yoga Teacher:)