8 Benefits of Yoga for Children
In today’s world, children often live in a ‘hurry up’ world of busy parents, peer pressure, school stress, over stimulation, competitive sports & video games. Many of us live in a society where ‘more is better’ and children feel the pressure from an early age to have to be the best.
Yoga has become quite popular among adults in recent years, but have you ever considered sharing the practice with children. Have you ever considered doing your KIDS Yoga Teacher Training?
It makes sense that children are exposed at an early age to the same techniques for self-health, relaxation, and inner fulfilment, so they can navigate life’s challenges with a little more ease. The benefits are endless but here are just a few…
1. Yoga is non-competitive
Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem and body awareness with a physical activity that’s noncompetitive. We hear so much about being the best and achieving the most. Yoga teaches children that their bodies are different; different bodies do different things and all of them are okay. There is no one better or worse at yoga than anyone else; we are all just exploring our bodies and learning from them in our own way. Yoga is truly for everybody.
2. Yoga teaches self-acceptance
Yoga also teaches children to accept and cherish themselves as they are. Again, with society sending so many messages of inadequacy, yoga teaches children to love themselves and their unique bodies.
Learned young, this incredibly valuable lesson arms children with the tools to fight off the increasing feelings of self-doubt that come during the teen years and beyond.
3. Namaste: The kindness in me sees the kindness in you
Yoga teaches acceptance and tolerance of others. In practicing yoga, children learn early in life that all living beings are to be cherished and respected as they are, which helps create peaceful & positive local communities and a more peaceful world in our future.
4. Yoga encourages healthy habits
Any exercise program begun in childhood helps kids to remain physically active and healthy as a lifestyle. However, yoga takes that further by teaching not only the healthy habits mentioned above, but also a healthy approach to eating and the ability to calm oneself and focus the mind.
We live in a world of distractions. More and more these days, children seem unable to focus on anything for any decent length of time. Yoga can help with that. It teaches children to concentrate and focus on their breathing while doing the pose, keeping them present. They learn to focus on the pose by learning correct body alignment, and in so doing, learn to focus on their bodies, how they function and how the movement makes them feel.
6. Awareness of breath
Bringing awareness to the breath encourages relaxation, reduces stress & releases healthy hormones. When children learn healthy breathing techniques and tools to focus the mind, they begin to learn how to apply those tools in their everyday lives and to feel more in control of any situation.
7. Children learn self-awareness through yoga
Again, in guiding their bodies through the poses, children learn more about their bodies and what they are capable of. They learn more about their minds, and how they can affect not only their own attitudes and approaches to life, but also the attitudes of others.
They learn that they can achieve this through their own thoughts and how they choose to react to any given situation. When children have awareness and understand the connection of the body, mind and spirit, and what can be achieved when all three work together, children develop into more confident, kind, responsible adults with a quiet sense of strength.
8. Yoga supports positive mental health in children
All of the above benefits tie together. When children learn to love and accept themselves for who they are, to calm and focus their minds, to believe in their natural abilities and to trust their instincts, they learn tools for resilience.
They are more likely to have an optimistic outlook on life and to see the good in others, and will hopefully be less likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that are so prevalent in society today.
Maybe most importantly, yoga teaches children that relaxation is not only allowed; it is encouraged. Relaxing is not easy and learning to relax takes practice. Yoga provides space for the mind to slow down and settle.
Children are constantly being told what to do and what not to do and that they need to be engaged and productive. Their little minds are leaping from one activity to another all day long, often right up until they crash at bedtime. Yoga teaches children that it doesn’t have to always be like that.
If children can learn early on how to recognise when they are feeling stressed and anxious and how to relax and be still, they will be better equipped to handle the pressures that will begin as they get older.
Children are actually natural yogis. Their innate trust in others, combined with their lack of inhibitions, allows them to receive the teachings of yoga and grow from them in inspiring ways.