Kids need yoga. Our world is changing, and our kids face different challenges and commitments then they have in the past. There are many demands on kids’ time and pressure to do well and be successful at what they are involved in. This includes school, family, friends, sports, quickly changing technology and other interests. That leaves us with kids who have a lot going on as they try to figure out a way to balance it all.
Kids need to learn how to be able to work through these demands in healthy and responsible ways. Yoga is a skill that can benefit all kids no matter what activities they are involved in or what their interests and abilities are. Yoga meets everyone at any stage and provides incredible extrinsic and intrinsic benefits.
The Super 7 Benefits of Yoga for Children
Yoga Increases Flexibility and Strength
Yoga also builds strength as muscles are worked in new ways. One of the many things I love about yoga is that it gives both adults and children the ability to create strength in their own bodies and minds without the use of other equipment. The act of holding a variety of poses and breathing can make anyone feel strong and powerful. Whether a pose is done standing, sitting, or lying down, it has its own benefits and can challenge various muscle groups. Being flexible can also result in fewer and less severe injuries. That is good news for kids involved in sport-related activities and other commitments outside of school.
Similar to flexibility, balance is another skill that decreases as we age. Everything from navigating icy sidewalks in winter to holding a tree pose works to maintain your balance.
Balance can be improved with practice and many yoga poses and postures incorporate different elements of balance. Often, your body’s balance naturally improves while practicing yoga without you realizing it. This is also true with children. In my experience, as kids balance in yoga poses their self-confidence increases as they feel their bodies grow stronger.
Yoga Enhances Concentration and Focus
Kids are part of a rapidly changing world. Their young minds are often over stimulated with technology and electronics. This means they are often used to getting immediate feedback from video games, tablets, or phones. This can make it very difficult for them to then actually sit, focus, and complete a task in school or at home. Yoga helps children practice concentration and self-control, which then enhances their focus and awareness.
Yoga Helps Kids Practice Being Present and Mindful
Today, as many parents and kids rush from activity to another, it can be difficult to be still and appreciate the moment. It doesn’t start out like that for kids. Picture preschoolers noticing the shape of a leaf or the color of the sky as they dawdle home from the park. Sadly, many kids become accustomed to a fast-paced lifestyle until they do not know any other way.
There is much benefit to slowing down, unplugging, and being away from it all for a bit. A good kids yoga class can provide that. It begins with settling into the moment and focusing on breathing and the body.
Children can then practice engaging poses with games and end with a Savasana or quiet time. The end of class usually becomes the students’ favorite part while they lie still and “do nothing.” They know they worked their bodies hard, and this is a time to give back, be still, and reap the benefits of strengthening their bodies and increasing mindfulness. Being involved in a yoga class keeps the kids present, aware, and in the moment, which is a valuable skill to practice throughout life.
Yoga Boosts Confidence
Yoga makes you feel good, which increases confidence. I see this all the time in my kids yoga classes when children are able to master a pose they have been working on or see their flexibility and balance You can literally see them step out of the yoga class standing straighter with more self-assurance. They are also calmer, more poised, and confident in their abilities—not only in the next class, but throughout their daily activities.
Yoga Relieves Stress and Promotes Health
Yoga is a physical activity that releases happy endorphins. When you do yoga, you feel good inside and out and you want to maintain that feeling. Breathing exercises in yoga help calm and center kids. This gives kids the tools to use when they are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious in life. The twisting, moving, inverting, and holding poses during yoga also improves the digestive system.
Yoga Helps Kids Develop Awareness of Themselves and Others
Everyone is unique and special in their own way, and we all come from different places and backgrounds. With yoga we celebrate and respect differences as we try new postures and poses. Kids enjoy working with one another in partner and group poses and achieving success together. Yoga is also about encouraging one another and promoting acceptance, trust, kindness, and empathy as they grow and learn together.
Let’s help give children the tools they will have throughout life. Teaching yoga to children helps benefit everyone physically and mentally, plus it is absolutely fun for everyone involved!
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