Our children live in a very busy world. Long days at school, a myriad of after-school activities, constant social demands and expectations, pressure to be smart, and talented and physically flawless in their social media worlds creates an environment ripe for stress, depression and harmful reactions.
How can we, as parents and caretakers, help our children navigate this new world full of pitfalls and pressure?
The physical benefits of a yoga practice are obvious and well-known: strength, balance, flexibility, coordination, stamina, and on and on. This is true for children and adults. But there’s more to a full yoga practice than simply physical postures. And the benefits of the non-physical portions of a complete yoga practice are numerous as well, especially for mental health. Through meditation, breath work, and mindful movements, practitioners of all ages can boost their mood and mental health.
According to a journal article called “Yoga for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Well-Being: Research Review and Reflections on the Mental Health Potentials of Yoga” on the National Institute of Health website, “If you practice yoga every day with perseverance, you will be able to face the turmoil of life with steadiness and maturity.” Specifically, a child’s yoga practice may:
increase resilience and self-regulation
- promote mental health
improve academic performance and mental balance
assist healthy development and life-long learning
aid in shifting self-awareness inward to children’s own cues and emotions, and thus, counteract negative social and cultural influences, including the current media pressure to be always online and available
foster motivation, cultivate internal locus of control, improve sleep, and generally encourage healthy and balanced living
better academic performance through improved focus and concentration
Sounds great, right? All of these amazing benefits are available with a yoga practice. But where do you start? First you might want to tiptoe into the yoga world through books and videos. Check your local library for books and videos to check out for free. YouTube is also packed with yoga activities for children. One of our favorite YouTube channels is Kidding Around Yoga’s. It is full of songs and activities perfect for your little yogi.
Ready for more? Find a class in your community, either for your kiddos or for the whole family. Check the schedules at local rec centers, YMCAs, yoga studios, and even schools. Can’t find a class? Request one! Businesses are always looking for ways to attract new clients and kids yoga is booming!
And if you’re really ready to dive in, maybe you could become a kids yoga teacher! If you go this route, be sure to choose a training program with experience, methodology that is researched and thoughtful and based on REAL yoga philosophy and practices.