Benefits of Yoga for children
Children will use their minds, bodies, senses and their imaginations to assimilate the world around them. It is this ability that we can use to introduce them to the world of Yoga. By using music, story telling, playing creative games we can allow children to learn the fundamentals of Yoga. We incorporate the yoga postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) and relaxation (savasnana) into each class in a fun and engaging way.
By using these tools in a constructive way we can share the physical (strength and flexibility), mental (concentration and creative) and spiritual (inner peace and calm) ideals of yoga with children.
Yoga and mindfulness meditation will give children tools to work with outside of the yoga class. They will find that they can meet every day challenges in a calmer more controlled manner. A positive experience at an early age will encourage a lifelong love of yoga and all the benefits and support that it can bring.
Physical benefits include:
Increases balance, coordination and overall body awareness
Develops core strength, essential for good posture and alignment
Encourages motor development on both sides of the body
Assist neuromuscular development Increases circulation, uptake of oxygen, and functioning of hormones
Reduces the risk of injury; improves performance in sports
Improves digestion and elimination
Strengthens the immune system
Relaxes the body, promoting better sleep.
Mental benefit includes:
Calms and clears the mind
Brings the child into the present moment
Relieves stress and tension
Increases concentration, focus and attention span
Promotes thinking and boosts memory
Stimulates auditory process and responsiveness
Expands imagination and creativityImproves ability to be less reactive, more mindful of thoughts and speech
Reduces stress and anxietyBalances low and high energy levels.
Spiritual benefits include:
Promotes a sense of inner peace and overall well being
Offers the opportunity to feel centred and calm
Inspires respect for self and others
Encourages social and environmental awareness
Supports a universal sense of connectedness
Develops discipline and self control.
Emotional benefits include:
Calming, through mindful breathing and mediative practices
Promotes social interaction
Offers mental relaxation during stressful times
Increases self awareness and awareness of others
Encourages acceptance of oneself and ones abilities
Increases confidence in a non-egotistical manner
Helps to regulate emotions and build resilience
It offers a non-competitive physical activity.
These are just some of the benefits that yoga can give children in everyday life, this can also extend into the classroom. More and more children are experiencing high levels of anxiety and stress at school. Yoga by nature, supports and maximises the ability to cope with difficult situations.
Yoga facilitates all kinds of movement, including cross lateral movement, which is crucial for learning. Cross-lateral movements are those in which arms and legs cross over the midline of the body. The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and the left side of the brain controls the left side of the body. When arms and legs cross the bodies midline, both side are forced to communicate. This integration of both side of the brain enhances learning.
At the end of the day with all the benefits that yoga brings it is also and most importantly good fun!