If you read my blog often then you will likely already know that the endless benefits of yoga are among my favourite topics to discuss – possibly second only to the endless importance of self-care!
Although the focus of discussing the benefits of yoga is usually in relation to us as adults, there is also so much to be said for encouraging your children to take to the mat too!
As adults living in the modern day world we are prone to all kinds of distractions, temptations, stresses, and drains on our energy. And the same is absolutely true of the world our children are growing up in! This is especially the case within their school environments, where they also have to cope with pressure from their peers and the everyday challenges of their education.
Many schools are now striving to incorporate yoga into school life because they have seen first hand the positive impact it can have on their pupils. However, you don't have to wait until your child's school begins to offer it before encouraging your child to give it a go!
Today I'm talking about the many different ways that children can benefit from yoga!
1. Learn About Their Bodies
During a yoga class the teacher will explain to their students how the different muscles and limbs of the body are working together to hold each pose. This can help children to build a better understanding of their bodies and how they work.
As well as the lessons learnt from the physical act of practicing yoga, the breathing techniques can also help children to understand this aspect of their anatomy better. Breathing techniques can also help children to discover how they can gain greater control over their mind, and therefore their emotions.
2. Use Their Bodies
During a yoga class each child will have to use their bodies to flow through the poses. This will involve stretching, strengthening, and positioning the body in ways that may not be typical.
The combination of stretching and strengthening is a fantastic way to teach all-round fitness, as each child will come to understand that their bodies work in a way that requires the input of different types of exercise.
In the very early sessions of learning yoga, it is likely that your child will be taught single poses that they will hold for short periods of time. However, as time goes on they will learn how to connect these poses and flow through them in sequence. This can be a fantastic lesson in how well they can use their bodies, and develop these skills.
3. Understand and Manage Stress
Breathing exercises are fantastic for many different reasons, and within yoga they can be especially helpful for creating the mindset necessary to understand and manage stressful thoughts and feelings.
Regularly engaging in these breathing exercises will also help to naturally lower stress levels, which is something that we should be helping our children to understand and manage from a young age.
4. Enhance Focus
Strength of the mind is one of the core foundations of yoga practice. It is only when the mind develops that the body can progress through the poses also.
The balancing poses can be the most helpful for teaching focus and concentration, as each child is required to use their mind and their bodies to maintain this balance for the duration of the pose. This is a great way for them to learn that they can achieve new feats when they truly put their mind to it!
As awareness of the body grows through the combination of breathing and movement, children can develop a more in tune sense of self.
Helping children to improve their concentration is a simple way to support them at school as they may feel better able to pay attention in class.
5. Expel Energy in a Non-Competitive Way
A yoga class is an amazing way for a child to engage in a group activity that is both physical and active, but that is not competitive in any way!
The act of doing yoga itself is largely a physical one, however, this is still a meditative practice that quiets the mind and soothes the soul. It will encourage feelings of peace and relaxation, allowing your child to expel excess energy whilst also maintaining feelings of calm.
Not all children enjoy team sports or competitive games, and showing them that there are alternatives that are still fun and social is a great way to guide them to doing things that they love.
6. Enhance Confidence
As your child continues to practice yoga they will develop their understanding of this practice and their physical abilities.
Learning any kind of new skill can be great for a child's confidence, and doing something that they enjoy, that also teaches them how their bodies support their movement, can be additionally helpful for enhancing their body image.
Better Health for Life
Children who are happy and healthy are much more likely to carry positive habits into adulthood than those who aren't equipped with the same tools and knowledge.
Introducing your children to yoga at a young age, and allowing their practice to develop at a natural pace, will give them both the physical and emotional guidance to help them navigate their childhood.
As adults we can improve so many aspects of our life by embracing a regular yoga practice, such as increased posture, reduced anxiety, better sleep, functional strength, and more!
Being able to overcome the sources of stress in your life can help you to spread this positivity to your children. This is something that I aim to help you do each and every week with my Get Inspired Newsletter!
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