By Faye Martins
The practice of Yoga helps children cope with today’s fast paced world in many ways. Although children seem to have an inexhaustible supply of energy, they often struggle with many of the same physical and mental challenges as adults. Some of these challenges are stress, anxiety, depression, a feeling of being overwhelmed, health issues, and low self-esteem. The practice of Yoga helps children to slow down, focus, feel their bodies and build a sense of physical and emotional competency.
A specialized kids Yoga training session will encourage children to be physically fit, engaged with their peers in an interactive activity, increase their self-esteem, develop good muscle tone, enhance flexibility, teach stress management, and keep an accurate sense of perspective on their daily lives.
Teaching children the art of pranayama or Yogic breathing is one of the most effective tools a child gains from the practice of Yoga. Yogic breathing helps to ease stress, anxiety, depression, increase lung capacity, and ameliorate asthma attacks. Pranayama is also a tool that can be accessed anywhere at anytime, which gives children the ability to soothe themselves in times of emotional upset or anxiety.
The relaxation techniques that are taught during a Yoga class help give children the tools to manage their own emotional states. These techniques teach children how to focus their minds in order increase their power of concentration. This skill is directly applicable to academic achievement.
Often, a child will not score well on a test, or a final exam, if he or she is very anxious about the examination process, which makes the test difficult to focus on. Both the Yogic techniques of breathing and focusing help children to slow down, relax, and concentrate on the task at hand.
Many children today are on prescription medication for ADHD, anxiety, and depression. A regular Yoga practice will help children to manage their own stress, anxiety, hyperactivity, and depression, in such a way that less medication may be needed in the long run. Of course, always consult with your family doctor if you feel that your child may be ready to cut back on a pharmacological or natural medication.
A strong asana practice will help a child to develop coordination, strength, flexibility, balance, and a sense of physical competency. The pranayama and meditation practices will also complement a strong asana practice by helping children to relax, be aware of their bodies, slow down, and focus on one task at a time.
A great children’s Yoga instructor will also make sure that the class is fun! This “fun” way of staying physically active, and socially-engaged, will give a child a firm foundation of mental, physical, and emotional fitness that can last a lifetime.
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