Before we get started, I have a question for you: How would you like to provide your child(ren) with tools they can use and develop across their lifespan that will help them problem solve, be kinder and more self-aware, and ultimately more successful and happy?
I have a feeling your answer goes something like, “Well, yeah…obviously I want that for my kids!”
If so, you’ve found the right article. Read on…
If you Google “benefits of kids' yoga," there are pages and pages of articles that happily explain all the great stuff that happens when kids get on their mats. Here are some of those benefits:
- Skills learned through yoga include play, self-regulation, and focus
- Physical benefits include increased strength, muscle tone, gross motor skills, balance, flexibility, and sensory awareness
- Breathing techniques can ease stress and anxiety, thereby reducing tantrum behaviors
- Self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-confidence are all improved through yoga
So, let’s get to those questions!
First of all, what exactly IS yoga?
The word yoga is derived from Sanskrit, meaning “yoke” or “union”. Yoga is the union of body, mind, and spirit. In short, it is a practice, or discipline that incorporates breath work, postures, and meditation. Although the postures (known as Asana) are usually what people think of when they hear the word yoga, it is much more than that. Yoga is for everybody – you don’t need to be “in shape” or flexible or able to meditate before taking a yoga class. There are many different types of yoga, so it may help to take a few different classes before you find the practice that resonates with you.
Is yoga a religion?
Yoga is a science. Some religions have adopted aspects of yoga, but yoga itself is not a religion. Religious people practice yoga. Non-religious people practice yoga.
So why do you put your hands in prayer position and say “Namaste”?
The word Namaste means, “I bow to you." It is a term of respect, also translated as “the light in me honors the light in you.” The placement of the palms together at the heart is a mudra, or hand gesture. As you join your palms together, you connect the right and left hemispheres of the brain, representing a union (see first question).
I’ve been to a yoga class before, and I don’t think my kids could be still and focus for that long…
You’re right – most kids would probably not last more than a few minutes in a typical adult yoga class. Kids’ yoga is designed to be fun! As in adult yoga classes, we do poses and meditation, focus on breathing, teach mindfulness, and throw in some deep relaxation. The difference is, we do it all with music, games, and cool props.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment -- of our feelings, thoughts, sensations in our bodies, and surrounding environment. Whatever feelings or thoughts we are having, we allow them to be, without judgment. When we are mindful, we are not reliving the past or worrying about the future. More and more schools are adding mindfulness into their classrooms. According to MindfulSchools.org, research has found that the benefits of mindfulness include increased compassion, attention, emotional regulation, and calmness. Neuroscientifically speaking, mindfulness actually changes the brain.
My kids take dance lessons and play sports, so why should they also take a yoga class?
Yoga teaches kids to focus, problem solve, and deal with stress and anxiety – all in a non-competitive environment. When it’s time to take to the field, your child has the tools to calmly and adeptly play their best game. Dance recital coming up? Yoga can help children reduce their anxiety before going out on stage and then help them confidently and gracefully complete their routines. The skills attained through yoga are present when testing for that karate belt, playing a role in the school play, and during state-wide testing in school. Although competitive activities can be beneficial in many ways, yoga can become a way of life.
Wow! This all sounds great. Where are these amazing classes held?
I’m at the Beleno Center on Thursdays at 4:30pm. Classes on Fridays at 11am are available for homeschoolers and cyberschoolers.
We also offer adult yoga: Kundalini yoga, Mondays at 6pm; Yin yoga, Tuesdays at 5:30pm, and Vinyasa yoga, Thursdays at 6pm.
See you soon!