Yoga Helps Kids Relax, and More…
Today’s kids face increased homework loads and pressure to compete academically, athletically, and socially. Stress relief tools for kids are becoming increasingly important. More and more, kids are finding Yoga to be an effective way to deal with stress, and gain other valuable tools for living at the same time.
When older kids come to yoga classes, they arrive tired from the stresses of homework, extra curricular activities, and their social life. Their yoga class gives them a chance to release stress from their body with the active exercises, and then the quieter, relaxing poses soothe their nervous system. It’s their chance to focus on themselves, where there’s no competition, no pressure to perform. Their yoga becomes about knowing themselves.
The benefits of yoga go beyond stress relief. Working with the basic physical yoga exercises called asanas, kids develop control over their emotions, gain self-confidence, and learn about themselves. Because of the non-competitive philosophy of yoga, kids learn to make decisions for themselves, without worrying about peer pressure.
The documented benefits of yoga are many: improving flexibility, concentration, lung capacity and circulation, strength, balance, and mental clarity. For kids, these benefits translate into important life skills. One of my instructors, Aurora, who has taught yoga at Yoga Centers for over 6 years, saw how yoga positively affected one of her 12 year-old students, who originally saw yoga as a way to improve his tennis game. “He told me there was another boy at school whom he would have hit before he started practicing yoga, but since he’d been practicing yoga his response was transformed. He could maintain his composure, and he chose to react without violence. He could react from a calm, neutral and strong place.”
One mother, whose 8 year-old son started doing yoga after working with an occupational therapist on motor skills, says that yoga helped her son gain coordination and confidence. “He was never very athletic, but now he has found a sport that he enjoys. He is learning how to become aware of his body, and this helps improve his motor skills.” Yoga also helps kids improve their concentration for reading, writing, and doing homework.
For the younger kids, yoga is mostly a joy-filled, heart-opening practice. Classes focus on finding the joy in exploring the poses as a group, and learning to express themselves. For children of all ages, yoga provides tools and life skills that can equip them to better deal with the stresses and challenges of growing up in today’s world.
Kids, did you know:
- Yoga is over 5,000 years old!
- Yoga started in ancient India.
- Most movie stars and Olympic athletes do yoga daily.
- Yoga is the world’s oldest exercise.
- Yoga is not a religion.
- Boys who do yoga well are called yogis.
- Girls who do yoga well are called yoginis.
- Yoga poses are called asanas: there are thousands of them
- Asanas copy nature: animals, insects, trees, mountains.
- Yoga makes you strong, healthy and flexible.
- Yoga is fun, makes you happy, and kids love yoga.
- Yoga prevents sports injuries and makes sports easier.
- Yoga builds confidence and self esteem.
- Yoga makes you think more clearly.
- Yoga balances your emotions.
- Yoga teaches relaxation and lessens stress
Aadil Palkhivala, world-renowned yoga master, is the founder of Purna Yoga, the owner of the premier yoga studio in the Pacific Northwest, Yoga Centers, the director of The College of Purna Yoga teacher training program, and the author of Fire of Love – For Students of Life, For Teachers of Yoga.
©Aadil Palkhivala 2008