The word “yoga” means “to unite”, but in our hectic lives, we all suffer from a lack of union with ourselves. Our kids too suffer from this poor relationship with self. School, sports, technology, homework, social events, and other demands leave little time for a mind body connection. This is where yoga can be really beneficial.
Yoga is much more than postures and breathing. While yoga can be simple, it can also be challenging and therefore engaging to even the most energetic child. Your child will enjoy the flow and challenge of moving from one posture to the next, while continually trying more advanced postures (which can feel like playtime). While practicing, postures build strength, focus, flexibility, and confidence. The inhalation and exhalation of breath with each posture promotes calmness throughout the body and mind. Yoga also benefits kids in the following ways:
– Builds core strength. It has been reported that kids today lack core strength as a result of engaging in less diverse activities.
– Builds a greater awareness about their bodies, teaching them to move more freely and openly with control.
– Builds confidence as they master poses.
– Directs their energy into their bodies, teaching them to not always focus outward. This can be especially helpful for hyperactive kids, helping them to build concentration.
– Lessens anxiety and promotes peacefulness by teaching breath control.
– Teaching kids to take meaningful, deep breaths is also a great way to help calm your child during a moment of high emotion. Use this technique when they have lost control by asking them to fill their lungs and then empty out completely. Sometimes this will distract them from the upsetting issue as well.
– Teaches kids to take care of themselves inside and out, allowing them to experience that mind body connection.
– Yoga also teaches kids to laugh at themselves. Kids have fun getting into and falling out of poses!
– Ending practice with words of mindfulness will encourage kids to reflect and respect the world around them.
There are many ways for your child to practice yoga. Many studios in Charlotte offer classes just for kids, like Y2 yoga. Classes often coincide with adult classes, so you and your child can both practice at the same time. If schedules prevent you from enjoying studio time, there are classes online that will guide your child through a practice (check out YouTube and GaiamTV.com). Once a few postures have been learned, yoga can be done anywhere, Remind your child that yoga is not competitive: no one will be watching them on their mats since they will be focusing on their own practice. And remember, a happy connected child makes for a happy connected parent too!
Namaste little yogis!