Yoga for children is very close to my heart, as I have seen first-hand how it has helped me throughout my life. My Mam taught me meditation and breath-work as a child, breathing slowly, mindfully, and working my way from my toes to my head until I fell asleep. Such a wise, intuitive woman! My intro to the physical yoga practice began when I found one of my Gran’s yoga books from the 70’s and found shoulder stands aid in digestion (of course when your stomach isn’t too full). As a highly sensitive and somewhat anxious child, as we see with many children today, my little yoga practice became a way for me to process and retreat. Children today are overwhelmed with so much to do, to achieve, social media, and aren’t getting the much needed time to sit with their thoughts, emotions, be bored and thus get creative.
The best part of yoga, breath-work (pranayama) & mediation (mindfulness) – you can practice, anywhere, anytime! This self practice is such a gift and can help transform lives, as many parents and teachers have seen. Yoga means ‘oneness’ – with ourselves and others. It’s non-denominational and a personal journey. The purpose of Studio 202 ~ Community for Inspired Living is to nurture this connection to ourselves and others, allowing our creativity and strengths to shine. Our kids program, EMPOWER was created to help nurture the whole child – emotionally, socially, physically and mentally. Simply offering a child the opportunity to sit in peace without any distractions and to feel their breath is a wonderful beginning to this practice, and can offer great peace.
Below we explore the top 5 benefits of yoga for kids:
- Improve Physical Health
Yoga for children is taught through age appropriate games, working on balance, flexibility, strength & endurance. We need to move our bodies! We are not designed to be sitting all day. When we move, we need more breath. More breath leads to better blood flow to keep our minds alert and our bodies healthy! Through breath, we also release toxins and emotions.
- Support Emotional Health
Through movement, we also release all sorts of chemicals to bring our bodies into a naturally healthy state, including:
- Serotonin – happy hormone
- Norepinephrine – alertness & memory
- BDNF – brain-derived neurotrophic factor to help build new connections
- Dopamine – motivation & reward hormone
- Endorphins – feel-good chemical
In addition, breath-work and movement help us to release our stored emotions and stress, and be able to look at situations objectively and with clarity to make better decisions.
- Improve Energy & Focus
Exercise and breath-work makes us feel good! The norepinephrine helps us to stay alert to learn and work. By getting little bits of exercise throughout the day we function better. Try taking a break every hour to move, do jumping-jacks, whatever makes you feel good!
When we are happy, we are in a receptive state to learn and grow. The mix of hormones mentioned above, work together us stay motivated and interested… as does learning and doing something meaningful, but sometimes we have to do the not-so fun stuff to get to the fun stuff!
- Self-Empowerment, Confidence & Intuitive-Skills
It’s empowering to understand ourselves and our bodies! We are very complex creatures, and by practicing breath-work and mindfulness through art, games, movement and more, we are able to better understand ourselves, see our talents, and things we can work on. Being able to overcome challenges is particularly rewarding and further builds our confidence and intuition.
- Encourages Greater Self Awareness & Understanding of Others
By understand ourselves, our emotions and how we communicate, we also become more mindful of others. While we are all connected, it is empowering to recognize we all have our own little worlds. And sometimes when something is not right in our world, we can react poorly. When we are mindful, we are better at managing our communication and emotions. Understanding this also helps us help others when they react poorly. We learn our boundaries, what feels healthy and not healthy for us, and how to effectively communicate this. It’s humbling and teaches us to be kind to ourselves, and be kind to others.
For more information on our approach and classes we offer at the studio, please visit our Kids Yoga page. If you are interested in having us offer our EMPOWER yoga + mindfulness program at your child’s school, please email: Katie@studio202community.com
By giving your child the gift to better connect with themselves,
you have given them a tool they will have for the rest of their lives!