Benefits of Teaching Yoga To Kids
Gymnastics, swimming, dance, martial arts, basketball, football… There are already many choices available to parents for physical, movement-based extra curricular classes for their children. What makes yoga different? And what are the benefits of yoga for children?
Yoga postures, or Asanas, are practiced by people of all ages and in many different states of health and fitness. Yoga teachers have been long promoting the benefits of yoga including stress and pain relief, improved circulation and digestion, better body alignment, increased concentration, deeper, more relaxed breathing, and a sense of well-being and inner peace. The question is: does yoga hold these benefits for children as well? The answer is Yes, and more!
- Nurtures a child’s inner strength and self-acceptance
- Develops strength, coordination, flexibility and balance
- Body awareness & acceptance
- Better focus & self esteem
- Overall fitness
- Improved academic performance
There is no other form of exercise that offers such a wide range of movements as yoga does. While practicing Children’s Yoga, we bend backwards & forwards, we twist our bodies and bend sideways, strengthening and stretching, balance and even spend some time upside-down.
An additional benefit for children practicing yoga is that it involves interaction. In the class, kids are not isolated on their own yoga mats. Partner and group poses, cooperative games, self-expression and creativity, are the more common sights in a classroom. Developing social skills is a part of, and as important as, self-development.
And we do it all without the big lectures. It is all discovered through doing rather than talking about it!
Yoga has been evolving since approximately 5000 years ago! The changes and innovations yoga has experienced in the last 60 years are as massive as the changes we’ve seen in science and technology during this time. Yoga for kids may be a new thing in certain areas, but it is as natural for kids to play with as it is for them to run and jump. Stretching and balancing while imitating nature with your body has probably been a way to explore the world longer than recorded history.
Both yoga teachers and parents need to adjust their expectations when introducing yoga to kids. Having space to be creative, invent new things, dive into our imagination, play and even be a bit wild are more important for a child’s evolution than meditating.
Yoga is much more than yoga poses; it is a way to discover not just our bodies, but also our inner world. We experience this universe through our minds and our hearts, so being able to consciously relax, brighten, uplift and focus ourselves is a vital ability. It is never too early (or too late) to embark on this self-discovery journey of yoga!