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The Benefits of Kids Yoga

 

It is really difficult to be a kid today! Today’s kids deal with a lot more than what it used to be earlier. They have to cope with innumerable distractions, temptations thrown at them via the over stimulated multi media exposure they get alongside the regular issues of peer pressure and challenges of sibling pressures, doing more with less and be creative in an extremely competitive world! This is where yoga can help! It is a low-cost, supportive tool that can have a constructive influence on children.

Here are some of the many benefits of teaching yoga to kids:

Children are actually natural yogis. Their ability to trust in others and have less inhibitions than adults, allows them to receive the teachings of yoga and grow from them in inspiring ways.

Yoga can benefit children significantly, and in some ways, possibly even more so than it nourishes adults. Yoga is non-competitive and can be done either alone or in a group, with no equipment, which makes it a great activity for children to participate in anywhere, anytime! I like to use yoga at the beginning and end of therapy sessions for the following reasons….

1. Healthy habits

While practicing children’s yoga, we bend forward and back, we twist and side bend, strengthen and stretch, balance and even spend some time upside down. Besides the obvious benefits of yoga in helping us be stronger and more flexible, yoga for children also helps in developing coordination, balance and many other important motor skills. Yoga can even make us a bit taller by improving our posture and stretching and lubricating our muscles and joints!

Furthermore, children’s yoga classes offer fast and active play while warming up or playing with yoga poses as well as quiet more focussed time while holding certain poses or practicing relaxation exercises. As time goes on, the whole practice is done with heightened awareness of the body with the individual parts of the body being stretched, strengthened or relaxed during the practice.

2. Focus and follow instructions

In a world of distractions, children seem unable to focus on anything for long. Yoga teaches children to be present, to concentrate, follow instructions and focus on their breathing. They learn how breathing can help them throughout the day, in any situation.

3. Calming techniques

Children often deal with their emotions by crying and throwing tantrums. Yoga enables them to have techniques they can begin to apply to situations in everyday life.

4. Positive mental health

Children who have the above mentioned techniques are more likely to be positive, optimistic, focused and calm, which are all tools for resilience. Hopefully, this enables children to be less likely to succumb to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that are prevalent today.

5. Body awareness

Yoga teaches children how to move more freely and with greater ease and awareness as well as learning about body parts and concepts such as left and right.

6. Coordination and muscle tone

Yoga can be used to assist children to develop both unilateral and bilateral coordination as well as motor planning skills. The postures used help children become strong and flexible, with increased muscle tone.

7. Balance

One of the most important aspects of yoga is developing balance skills and stretching appropriately.

8.Posture

Having strong core muscles can help children to sit appropriately with an upright posture for longer periods of time and assist in increasing attention and focus at school and home.

All of the above mentioned skills are key for success in play, school and home activities. Skills learnt in yoga can be beneficial in all environments and are fun to learn so your little ones will be excited to participate in yoga whilst actually boosting their development!

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Gurkamal (Kamal) Punia Dasani BSc OT

Owner of TherapyBox Australia, an online store and blog, boosting the development of children. Senior Occupational Therapist, Vision Therapist and Applied Behaviour Analysis Therapist at Riverston Children’s Centre in Jumeirah, Dubai

www.riverstoncc.ae | www.therapyboxaustralia.com


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