You’ve probably heard that yoga is beneficial for a growing kid’s body, but did you know that it’s more than just a great physical exercise? It’s got a whole host of benefits including building a healthy self-esteem. Parents and teachers everywhere want nothing more than to raise children with a healthy sense of self who are proud of the skin they’re in and who share themselves, their compassion, and their talents freely with the world. Growing up, especially now, can be really overwhelming and difficult. It’s important that children have an outlet that lets them find tools to cope with growing up and encourages self-discovery.
Yoga is more than just poses! It incorporates meditation, breath-work (what we call pranayama), and relaxation. Children can unwind from the GO-GO-GO of today’s world and begin to decompress daily when they not only move with purpose, but also become still with purpose. They begin to reflect on the day’s events, the causes and effects of decisions, and how they felt about it all. Yoga teaches us to refrain from forming judgement of ourselves (and others) and instead, just let each thought come and go. So, when we reflect and observe our thoughts and actions we tap into our whole self-our mind, our emotions, and our physical being. This increased self-awareness allows children to become comfortable with who they are at the core while they gain wisdom. This burgeoning wisdom is what helps us, especially children, to make better decisions or to become less reactive and more proactive in their daily lives. Yoga gives them a perspective of themselves and of their daily journey to become happier and more confident. Confidence is the catalyst to a healthy self-esteem.
Yoga is also completely noncompetitive! There is no winning yoga. There is no “best” yogi. Yoga just is! A child can practice because they enjoy its simplicity. They, of course, can seek to “improve” by nailing a pose or by meditating longer, but that certainly isn’t a must! They don’t have to compete with anybody, not even themselves. Every child learns that our unique qualities and abilities is what make US who we are. Yoga is about acceptance and celebration. Kids walk away feeling good about their bodies and their minds because there is no standard to meet! In a kids’ yoga class, children practice yoga to have fun, to build relationships, and to share the peace that begins with each and every one of us.
Lastly, while yoga focuses on building self-esteem through personal awareness, it also teaches us that all humans are connected to each other and that we must help others. Effective children’s classes are always filled with games and activities that promote cooperation and compassion. Kids make lifelong friends and learn how to use their creative voices to make the world a little better one day at a time. Helping others has been shown time and again to build self-esteem! Who doesn’t feel good when you put a smile on someone’s face or otherwise make someone’s life easier? We carry that with us. Kids find purpose and meaning in the knowledge that they have the power to change the world through compassion! Yoga is an OM-azing tool for kids to grow up healthy and happy!