Why Yoga and Mindfulness are Good for Kids
We are seeing many adults attending yoga classes these days, but could yoga also be beneficial for children? Absolutely! Sometimes it is difficult to imagine, but children can have their own set of stressors, too: school, growing pains, emotional upsets, sports, and other activities. Young people today could really use resources that will help them manage their busy lives.
Positive Body Awareness & Wise Choices
Because the practice has a main focus on postures, yoga is a wonderful way for young people to become more attentive and aware of their own bodies. This awareness can lead to a greater appreciation of their bodies as they mature. Whether they grow tall, remain shorter, or their body composition is different from other kids, they can achieve a positive view of their bodies and who they are as people. Yoga also teaches children how to make healthy choices for themselves. This may show up in their food choices, who they decide to hang out with as friends, and even making wise and important decisions about drugs, alcohol, and sex.
Active Kids & Respectful Kids
Young people are engaged in lots of activities, too: soccer, softball, gymnastics, dance, and other sports. Attending yoga can be complimentary to the sports they are playing. Yoga can help with strength, balance, flexibility, alignment, and agility. These are attributes that all athletes require. Why not start learning this at a young age? Further, yoga for a young person inspires a positive self-identity; they learn to be happy with who they are. And if kids feel confident about themselves, they will also be kind and respectful toward others: that includes their friends and their parents. Because yoga is often done in groups, children learn how to work well with others: they are more likely to listen to one another, help one another, and to encourage one another.
A Healthy Mind
In addition to the physical aspect of yoga, children will also learn mindfulness. This may not mean much to kids, but as parents, it means a lot that our children learn ways to have healthy minds. Yoga can help them concentrate. This is certainly beneficial for school while focusing on homework and other assignments. A yoga practice provides a tool for young kids to turn to when they feel anxious or stressed. Children are often reactionary when it comes to their emotions; they don’t come fully equipped to manage their feelings sometimes. Offering yoga to kids is a step toward giving our future adults very good mind and emotional management skills. All people, even young ones, have challenges to face. If yoga is part of their regimen, it is a healthy activity to practice in order to successfully jump those hurdles.
Yoga also encourages creativity in children. Yoga classes for kids are often opportunities for them to express themselves openly and to use their imaginations. Classes for children are spaces for learning. Yoga instructors will take the common poses that we practice as adults and create wonderful stories in which the children engage. Because there are so many yoga poses with animal names, teachers may design classes where the kids become a jungle of fun animal creatures! The kids embody the animals and learn more about them. They will also be given the space to create their own animal postures to share with their yogi peers. (So much fun!)
It’s Just Fun
Young kids don’t really need to know the long history and philosophy behind the practice. They just know that it can be fun! It’s an opportunity to make new friends and be in a space that is non-competitive, supportive, and creative.
Yoga is a great gift to give our children. It teaches compassion, appreciation, gratitude, respect, and joy. All benefit from these traits. And as they grow into adults, they will have with them a foundation of awareness that affects all parts of their lives: school, jobs, relationships, and more.