Yoga is becoming more and more mainstream in the last few years. The benefits are being confirmed, shared, and plastered all over social media for us all to see. But as a parent, have you ever considered sharing the practice with your child? Yoga can benefit kids significantly and in some ways, possibly even more so than it nourishes us as adults.
Here are just a few of those benefits:
- Yoga is Non-Competitive
The pressure is on in today’s world to be the best and achieve the most. Yoga teaches kids that each of their bodies is different; different bodies move different ways, do different things and that’s okay. There is no one better or worse at yoga, we are all just having fun, exploring our bodies and learning from them in our own way.
- Yoga Teaches Self Acceptance
In the same way that it provides an opportunity to learn about their bodies, it also teaches kids to accept themselves and cherish themselves as they are. Society sends so many messages of expectations and inadequacy, yoga teaches kids to love themselves. Learning this incredibly valuable lesson at a young age prepares kids with the tools to fight off increasing feelings of self-doubt and insecurity that come in the tween years and beyond.
- Namaste: The Good in me Sees the Good in you
Yoga teaches acceptance and tolerance of others. In practicing yoga kids learn early in life that all living beings are to be respected, loved and cherished just as they are. In that we are creating a more peaceful communities and a more peaceful world in the years to come.
- Yoga Encourages Healthy Habits
Any physically active program that starts in childhood encourages kids to remain healthy and active throughout their life. Yoga takes it one step further by teaching not only healthy habits, but also a healthy mindful approach to eating and the ability to calm oneself and focus the mind through breath work and different breathing techniques.
- Focus, Focus, Focus
We live in a constantly busy world, full of distractions. It is becoming more and more apparent that kids seem unable to focus on anything for a decent length of time. Yoga can help teach kids to be present, and to concentrate while focusing on their breathing. They learn how the breath can help them in any situation. They learn to focus on their poses with correct body alignment and in doing that learn how their bodies function.
- Yoga teaches Calming Techniques
Young kids deal with frustrations by typically crying and throwing tantrums. When they learn proper, healthy breathing techniques and tools in yoga to focus the mind, they begin to apply those tools to their everyday lives therefore reacting appropriately in any situation.
- Children Learn Self Awareness through Yoga
In guiding their bodies through the poses, children learn about their bodies and what they are capable of. They learn about their minds and how they can affect not only their own attitude but also the attitudes of the ones around them. They learn what they can achieve through their own thoughts developing a mind, body, spirit connection. This helps children develop into confident, kind and responsible adults.
- Yoga Supports Positive Mental Health in Children
When children learn to accept and love themselves for who they are, to see the good in others, to focus and calm their minds, and to be aware of their innate capabilities they learn tools for resilience. They are more likely to be positive and optimistic about life, their abilities and will be less likely to succumb to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that are so prevalent today.
Most importantly yoga teaches children that relaxation is encouraged. Learning to take time for themselves at a young age sets the path for the years to come when so often we “don’t have the time”. Yoga provides space for the mind to slow down and settle. If children can learn how to relax and be still they will be able to handle the stresses and pressures better that will begin to hit them as they get older.
Children are natural Yogi’s. They have so much trust in others, combined with their lack of inhibitions it allows them to receive the teachings of yoga and grown from them in inspiring ways. Once we lead them there, they will not only benefit, but they will enjoy it immensely!