Why all kids should practice yoga by Heather Starr
Now a days it seems that everyone is always on the go. Children are subjected to busy lives, with parents rushing to get them to school and then bringing them to a myriad of lessons, sports, play dates, activities, homework, and other social engagements. We don’t usually think of these routines as stressful for our kids but a lot of the time they are. The hustle of our kids lives can have profound effect on their intrinsic happiness. As a mom of two young children and as a Kids Yoga teacher, I can honestly say that I have found that you can really reverse the effects of the 'hustle life' with a little bit of yoga and breathe work. When our children learn breathing techniques and self-health relaxation methods, they begin to navigate life’s challenges and their emotions with a little more ease and flexibility. Not only does yoga at a young age enable body awareness, better concentration, and selfesteem, but yoga manages to fit all that in while being a physical activity that is noncompetitive. Bonus! Creating a sense of cooperation and compassion over the sense of opposition is a beautiful gift to give your children when we live in such a competitive world already.
So while physically yoga enhances coordination, strength and flexibility, better posture, and as mentioned above, body awareness, mentally, our kids concentration, ability to relax and calmness improves by engaging in breathe techniques that slows down the nervous system.
When yogis developed the asanas (yoga poses) many thousands of years ago in India, they lived close to the natural world and used animals and nature for inspiration, such as, the grace of a swan, the grounded stature of a tree or mountain or the sting of a cobra. Postures named after animals (dog, cow, crow, eagle, cat, etc.) and nature (tree, mountain) remind children that we are connected to mother earth and all creation. When children imitate the movements and sounds of nature, they have a chance to get inside another being and imagine taking on its qualities.
Children are in a YANG state of their lives. Yang is the the light swirl in the yin yang symbol. The Yang, represents brightness, passion and growth. Yin is the softer side of life, it’s calmer and darker. Yoga is meditative by nature. So whether a child is holding a balance posture, sitting in meditation, or moving through a series of poses, there's going to be a calming, soothing effect that occurs. Kids benefit from this calmness tremendously when they are in such a state of growth and movement, as it sheds some light on how to be calm. Gaining these tools from a young age is imperative to combat the real stresses that come with adult life later on.
If you are keen to have your child participate in some yoga, have a look if there are any local classes in your area. If there isn’t any or they aren't accessible to you, have a look on YouTube and make it a habit to do a few minutes of yoga with your child, you are sure to soon soak in the benefits as well.
by Heather Starr, Yoga Teacher, Yoga Therapist and Meditation Teacher
Starr Light Yoga & The South West Yoga Fest
To find out more about Heather, visit here