We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again (many, many times): YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE. Repeat after me: Everyone. There are so many branches and styles of yoga, each of them entertaining different interests and offering different benefits. At Green Yoga, we are passionate about making yoga accessible to all. One of our focuses here is bringing more yoga into families, specifically… KIDS. Like we said, yoga is beneficial for everyone, but it’s especially great for kids. There are endless benefits, but here are five reasons why all of our children (and the rest of us) should be practicing this ancient practice of yoga:
1. Teaches Tools for Stress Relief/Relaxation: Unfortunately, just like us, our kids experience a lot of stress in their daily lives. Often they are receiving pressure at school, at home, in their social lives, sports teams – wherever – and they could use some relief. Yoga is a wonderful practice for relieving stress. The combination of deep breathing and intentional, mindful movements has a way of bringing us into the present moment and minimizing the mind chatter that can make us anxious. Many yoga poses even have a calming effect on our physical bodies as well by soothing our organs, glands, and body systems. Not to mention, the physical practice of yoga can certainly tire the body out, making it easier for us to relax. Yoga provides our kids with the tools they need to manage stress, because let’s be honest, it’s probably not going anywhere and will last well into adulthood if not forever. So, learning how to manage stress early on is a huge advantage for our little ones.
2. Increases Body Awareness: The practice of yoga asana can have a huge impact on our relationship to our body. It teaches us how to listen to our body and to respect it. We learn a lot about how our body likes to move and how it doesn’t. We learn how our body tells us when it is unhappy or uncomfortable. We learn the difference between discomfort and pain, and we discover where all of our edges are and how to accept them. Finally, we learn how incredibly capable, strong, and wonderful our bodies are. Having an open and honest relationship with your body is crucial, especially as a child. So many young people have become dissociated from their bodies, largely due to media and the society we live in. Growing up, it isn’t always easy to love our body, but yoga is a great tool to teach our kids that our bodies are miraculous, and they are capable of so much. This is a conversation we need to be having with our kids, and yoga is a great start.
3. Develops Focus and Concentration: The world we live in is so focused on instant gratification and doing so many things at once, it is has grown hard for our kids to concentrate on one particular thing at a time. This can make school and learning challenging. I think we can all agree that developing focus and concentration is beneficial for any kind of job or task you may undertake. The intricacies of yoga poses allow us to turn the volume down in the world around us as we focus in on our bodies, their alignment, and the sensations we are feeling. Adding a layer of deep breathing alongside our movements leaves very little room for our minds to wander. Yoga teaches us the art of concentration. Of course, all of our minds wander, and they will continue to. But it’s the practice of coming back to our yoga, silencing our minds even if just for a second, that gives us a taste of complete focus. This little taste is enough to work with, and if we just keep coming back to our mat, to our practice, to our breath, we begin to learn how to create that same kind of focus in other areas of our lives. Beginning this practice as a child will only increase the benefits substantially.
4. Instills Confidence: With consistent practice, yoga can build strength and increase flexibility in our bodies. As you progress through your practice, the poses will begin to feel more natural and secure. Feeling strong and centered in your body can provide so much confidence and respect for yourself. Like I mentioned earlier, it is far too common for our kids (and all of us) to doubt themselves and feel insecure in their bodies. Yoga can help them work through that as they learn that their bodies are so much more about what they can do than what they look like. Also, along with clearing the mind, yoga also clears out some of our anxieties and worries – many of which may be linked to feeling insecure – leaving us feeling more capable and confident in ourselves and our abilities.
5. It’s Fun!: Last but certainly not least, yoga is FUN! Yoga gives you the chance to move your body in ways that feel good to you, discover new ways to treat yourself with love, and to let go of expectations and just get silly. Of course, there are many traditions of yoga that are strict and follow very specific guidelines. But you have the power to make your yoga practice whatever you need it to be. Teaching correct alignment and safety in yoga is absolutely important. But it’s also important to remember that our kids get a lot of structure and rules thrown at them in all other areas of their life. Wouldn’t it be nice if their time on the mat could be more free and fluid? It’s important for our kids to understand that taking care of themselves and making healthy choices doesn’t have to be dreadful or boring. It can be fun! And it can change their lives for the better.
We believe so strongly in the power of yoga for everyone, but there’s also something extra special about instilling these tools and values in our children at a young age. It’s so important to plant the seeds of mindfulness in our young ones to ensure that they lead a healthy, fulfilling life.
Check out our upcoming family yoga workshops on our website, and if you have a group of kids (sports team, club, school organization, etc.) that would like to try yoga, we would love to teach a private custom class just for you and your group! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.