by Marge Ely, RYT 200 and Certified ChildLight Yoga Instructor
No matter how young your children are, it’s never too early for them to learn yoga!
Even if you’re familiar with the many benefits of yoga, the thought of your child practicing yoga, sitting quietly, breathing, and stretching can be difficult to imagine. It’s even harder to imagine that our children are stressed and need tools for relaxation and wellness. “How can they be stressed? They are kids,” we say.
But whether we realize it or not, our children are growing up immersed in a culture of stress. They are overwhelmed at every turn in their uniquely modern lives. Just watching the adult lives around them would be enough to induce anxiety, but their own pressures in school include learning more content sooner and pleasing both parents and teachers. They worry about being accepted by friends and face judgment by others who may not be their friends. The social forces are enormous as they try to assimilate what the media tells them about how to look, dress, and act. Ever-increasing electronic devices are a double-edged sword, offering fun and escape, yet still bombarding them in sensory overload.
Throw in a heavily scripted schedule of sports, clubs, and play-dates, and if you are doubting the wisdom of adding yet another activity to your child’s schedule, then you’re on the right track.
Yoga, however, is a life preserver in this sea of stress.
Introducing yoga can counterbalance stress factors and help your child become more grounded, thoughtful, and balanced. Yoga can break the cycle of anxiety and give them tools to become healthy adults with a strong body and mind.
You may be thinking, “My child won’t still long enough for a yoga class!” Don’t worry, they won’t be expected to. A knowledgeable teacher will help kids explore yoga postures and philosophies through song, games, activities, and books. At the end of class, they will even practice relaxation!
As your child grows, yoga can remain fun and also very beneficial for overall health and wellbeing. If your child is athletic, a yoga lifestyle (poses, good nutrition, and time for stillness and meditation) can help build muscle strength, mental focus, balance, and coordination, all which will improve their performance.
Yoga can instill confidence and self-acceptance in children who suffer from anxiety and low self-esteem, while aiding them to fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly. For children who have a tough time paying attention at school, practicing yoga can help them calm down and focus, giving them tools to control behavior and improve concentration. As your child becomes a teen, yoga can help balance their emotions and develop a greater self-esteem and positive body image.
Classes for your children are available at yoga studios nationwide, and many instructors have received special training for working with children. Give your children the gift of yoga; they can start at any age, and the benefits will last a lifetime.
Article reprinted with permission of the author from Be Well World.com.
Marge Ely, is a certified instructor in both adult and children’s yoga as well as a professional photographer. Her mother first showed her yoga poses when Marge was in elementary school. As an adult, she turned to yoga for stress relief and later discovered yoga’s benefits for pregnancy and childbirth. Marge has been teaching yoga at Sol Yoga for six years and leads the Little Sols Kids programs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.