Today I am handing the blog over to a lovely blogger called Sophie. Sophie is a primary school teacher, as well as running the highly successful Old House In the Shires blog. Here she writes about the benefits of yoga for children.
Yoga is something that has been around for over 5000 years. It has been found to improve balance, strength, flexibility, energy levels and mental health. Most of us know about the physical and mental benefits of Yoga but it’s only recently that Yoga has become more accessible to children in the UK. I recently attended a Yoga for Children course which was excellent. I can really see myself trying out some of the activities with the young children in my class.
What are the benefits of Yoga for Children
Non competitive exercise. Yoga is a non competitive form of exercise which suits all children. Some children are more athletic than others and for them, competitive sport may be more rewarding but Yoga is inclusive to all children. Everyone’s a winner and everyone can go at their own pace.
Encourages healthy living and good habits. Children need to be taught about healthy eating and that exercise is good for them. Yoga is excellent for developing strength, coordination and movement. Finding a form of exercise that children love and want to carry on into adulthood is the key to healthy habits.
Calming All young children have to deal with their developing and emerging emotions and some find it harder than others! Yoga helps to teach children the importance of breathing and gives them the tools to focus the mind. This, in turn can create a calmer child.
Body awareness When children work through different poses during Yoga, that are more aware of what their body can do and how it feels when doing it. These connections are vital for the development of the whole child.
Auditory processing and focus Listening to instructions and following through with the different poses help children to develop better listening and auditory processing. In turn, this develops a better focus. Being attentive during different situations is vital for children so that they can learn different skills. Learning to focus on their breath, children are present and focused on the now.
Cooperation and kindness In a world where social media installs a view of perfection, Yoga helps to instil a sense of a positive body image. Yoga teaches self acceptance which will also transfer to children being kinder and more accepting of others. The fact that Yoga is non competitive fosters an awareness of inclusivity and kindness.
Managing stress As children grow they will face more stress and pressure in their everyday lives from exams to social pressures. Yoga can help them build resilience. Fostering a love for themselves is the first step to a positive self image. Yoga also teaches children than relaxation is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, something that is often forgotten!
Mindfulness and Yoga Mindfulness and Yoga for children are very much linked in that we can teach children to be more aware of their bodies and how they are feeling in the present moment. Mindfulness is something that schools in the U.K. have been embracing recently perhaps to a response to the increasing pressures that our children and teenagers face in this modern world. Instead of always striving for more, mindfulness helps to bring the mind back to the present and pay attention to what is happening now. In being more aware of the present, we become more resilient, more aware of how others feel and experience more joy in the small things in our lives.
You can find out more about the science of mindfulness here http://youthmindfulness.org/the-science-behind-mindfulness/
If you live in the Bath and Bristol area you may be interested in these classes.
Sophie’s lovely friend runs amazing retreats that may be of interest to you.
Here are the links to follow my blogging buddy Sophie on: