The Beautiful Balance Between Children and Yoga
Children today are under more stress than ever. Whether it’s the stress of good grades to be on the right path for college, the competitiveness of making the team, dealing with the break up of a family, trying to get enough food in their bellies, how their single mom is going to pay the bills, or simply trying to keep up with their friends on social media, children are under pressure and stressed out at alarming rates. Childhood anxiety and depression are on the rise and pose serious problems to the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of today’s youth. It’s imperative that children have an outlet to relieve stress and a proactive way to handle the challenges that face them daily.
Yoga to the Rescue
Fortunately, there is an inexpensive, easy way to help combat this in your own home. Yoga is an outstanding way to provide stability and wellness for your child in mind, spirit, and body. Just as we know kids are faced with all kinds of daily emotional, social, mental, and physical conflict and challenges, we can arm them with coping skills through yoga with breathing techniques, behavioral guidelines, and physical postures.
Although yoga can be somewhat controversial because of its religious roots in Hinduism, the practice can be solely based on the generic benefits of exercise, mindfulness, and intent. It does not need to be religiously based. Even better, you don’t have to be overly athletic or competitive by nature to reap its benefits. Through peaceful intent, yoga has been shown to build self-esteem and self-respect by enhancing flexibility, refining balance and coordination, developing focus and concentration, boosting self-esteem and confidence, and strengthening the mind-body connection.
Regular yoga practice can support children and help them feel more confident and be more successful in the classroom, at home, during sports, and in relationships. Simple poses and mindful practice have proven beneficial in increasing flexibility and strength, enhancing concentration, teaching awareness, cultivating relaxed mind-body tools for stress management, sparking creativity, encouraging kind social interactions, enhancing body awareness, and teaching discipline. Additionally, it has been shown particularly effective for children with ADHD and Autism. Yoga can reduce aggressive behaviors, social withdrawal, and hyperactivity, as well as being a key component in reducing stress and developing focus.
Making It Fun for Children
From a young age, children can learn the simplest poses and gain the benefits. Whether done as partner yoga stretches with mom or dad, or done as an independent activity, there are numerous poses out there to benefit even the youngest yogis. Taking it a step further, some practitioners and teachers have turned yoga into games for kids, allowing them to focus on the fun of it rather than feeling pressured to concentrate on it. Many fitness centers and health clubs offer Mommy-And-Me type yoga classes in addition to having child-based yoga classes and activities for children. As with any type of physical fitness or athletic activity, the key with young kids is to make it fun, keep in interesting, and give them a reason to want to do it. Regardless of which approach you take with your child, yoga is proven to be a beneficial tool in fighting childhood stress and anxiety, building strength, and balancing their mental, physical, and spiritual outlook on life.