Think yoga is just for lycra-clad adults? Think again.
Children’s yoga is on the rise and has been introduced in an increasing number of schools and nurseries across the UK. It has become so popular that it has even been included in the curriculum at some schools. This article takes a deeper dive into the world of child yoga and how it could be the next best thing for you and your little ones.
What’s it all about?
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. The health benefits of yoga for children have gained increasing attention from mental health professionals, teachers and even government officials. Yoga originates from the Eastern world and has been around for centuries. The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit meaning of ‘’union’’. It aims to evoke a feeling of connectiveness between the mind, body and soul. There is no one size fits all approach to the practice of yoga and it is open to anyone to try, including children.
Yoga teachers have described their sessions as a way to bring peace and clarity to the mind by practicing controlled breathing and balance. Yoga positions, also known as asanas, are motions that offer more than just stretching. By widening the body’s energy pathways, they help to strengthen bones, increase spine flexibility, and boost the immune and circulatory systems. There are various types of yoga, but one of the most popular being Vinyasa, this form of yoga involves using positions that are linked together so that you can transition seamlessly from one to the next while using your breath.
How does yoga work?
Yoga involves a collection of poses that aims to help to control the mind, to help a person to free themselves from any thoughts that have been weighing them down and to give them the tools to be able to live a more connected and conscious life. Many traditional yoga practices are adapted so that they are child-friendly, with poses such as ‘cat pose’ and ‘helicopter pose’ this enables yoga to be more memorable and fun for children to learn.
Yoga helps children to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings and can provide them with a sense of calm and clarity. This is especially important as children learn to navigate their way through early life. It can also teach them about self-acceptance, patience, gratitude and inner peace, which can be particularly useful if a child is struggling with poor self-esteem or is displaying mental health problems.
A bonding experience
Parent and child yoga may also be a fantastic way to strengthen the bond with your child. Yoga uses mindfulness techniques and encourages the individual to connect with themselves and to be present in the moment. Therefore, a shared yoga session may be a great way to connect with your child on a much deeper level. Yoga is also a great form of exercise and can release those ‘feel-good’ feelings via the means of increased serotonin, which is another good reason to roll out the yoga mat and get into the flow alongside your child. Also, children and adults who can learn to be conscious of their breathing will eventually have more control over their emotions and overall well-being, which can have a positive influence on the whole family. Happier minds equal a happier home.
Is it expensive?
There is common misconception that yoga is costly. Whilst regular classes and yoga retreats may not be affordable for everyone, it does not mean you or your child has to miss out on all of the fantastic benefits yoga has to offer. With thanks to modern technology there are thousands of free yoga videos on platforms such as YouTube for you and your child to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Alternatively, you could check out your local leisure centers, youth clubs and other local community organisations as many places offer low-cost or sometimes free yoga sessions for children. You could even see if they offer park or beach yoga sessions, which is also a great way to get out in the fresh air and enjoy nature together. You could even pop into your local charity shops and see if they have any pre-loved yoga mats for sale.
The benefits for children
It has been discovered that school-age children (ages 6 to 12) who regularly practice yoga and mindfulness have improved physical and mental health. As well as this, yoga has many other health benefits for children. It has been proven that the practice can contribute to the possible prevention of diseases such as diabetes, acute anxiety, low bone density, asthma and obesity. All issues that today’s youth are increasingly at risk of developing.
Additionally, a growing body of evidence suggests that yoga can help children focus more effectively, remember things better, improve their feelings about themselves, perform more successfully in school, behave better in class, and even decrease anxiety and stress. On top of this, there is increasing evidence to show that yoga can benefit kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by reducing their inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which are the disorder’s three main symptoms.
It is understandable to see why children’s Yoga has gained popularity over the years. With all of the amazing health and well-being benefits for those who practice, it offers so much more than just fancy stretching and deep breathing. With improved mental focus at school, lowered stress and anxiety and the various other benefits, yoga has the potential to work wonders for your child’s health and well-being. It is also a fun and healthy way to bond with your child, to learn how focus on the body and mind and to remain in the present moment. Given the fast-paced world we live in nowadays; yoga could very well be the answer to a happier and healthier life.