Yoga for Kids: Why They Need It
In this age of technology, being a child can be difficult. Children have to deal with social media, cell phones, and impossible standards. Constant stimulation and the accessibility of technology has made it easy to get lost in the frenzy and chaos of it all. A 2010 study revealed elementary-aged children use technology an average of 7.5 hours per day and 75% of them have a television in their bedroom. Times are changing, as they do with every generation, and it is important to pay attention and be aware of the consequences this new lifestyle may bring. Being constantly connected doesn’t allow children opportunities to relax and be spontaneous. They can become preoccupied with their social media presence which becomes exhausting and ultimately stressful.
As we learned from the blog post last week, stress is a biological response our bodies experience when we are put into an uneasy or uncomfortable situation. Most of us probably consider stress to be a feeling exclusive to adults and a problem our children don’t have to worry about just yet. Your deadline at work, the stack of bills that need to be paid, the roof that is starting to leak—those are things that cause you stress, not your children. Well, yes your children are not stressed about a leaky roof or paying the electric bill, but they are still experiencing the same feelings that are just triggered by different causes. Feelings of stress arise when a person, young or old, is overwhelmed and uncomfortable. A constant worrying about being connected or available at all times, a fear of missing out from all the fun other kids are showing on their social media, or being bullied or pressured from someone miles away sitting behind a screen. These are all common situations that make children experience feelings of stress. What can we offer our kids to help them manage and cope with their stress?
Yoga provides a wide range of benefits, from physical improvements such as improved flexibility and balance, to mental enhancements such as heightened focus and clarity or more mindfulness and stress reduction. Living in such a fast-paced world, yoga provides an opportunity to reflect inwardly and gain insight to your body, mind, and spirit. It offers a time of intimate thought that is not available to most of us throughout our busy, hectic days. It gives kids especially, a time to unplug from technology and ignite creativity and imagination through movement and self-expression. Here are some of the reasons children should be practicing yoga:
✵ It will relieve their stress ✵
We know that being a kid today is not easy. Yoga can provide children with calming techniques such as meditation and awareness of breath that will help them recognize stress and actively work through it. Coping with stress is needed throughout life and learning how to do it at a young age is a skill they will treasure forever. A study published by Harvard Medical Center showed that yoga can modulate the body’s response to stress, reducing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and calming respiration. Yoga can also increase heart rate variability, which is an indicator that the body is biologically more capable of responding to stress properly.
✵ It will improve their concentration and enhance their ability to focus ✵
By focusing on breath and disregarding distracting thoughts, yoga can improve a child’s mental concentration. The meditation and calming techniques used in yoga improve the brain’s cognitive function. This will increase the level of productivity in a child, making school a more positive experience. The Journal of Physical Activity and Health conducted a study that revealed just 20 minutes of yoga and meditation improved student's speed and accuracy on brain functioning tests. This suggests that the lessons learned on the mat can transform a child’s mental clarity and improve their ability to perform certain tasks.
✵ It teaches them body acceptance ✵
Body dissatisfaction can appear in children as young as 5 years old. It is a feeling that perpetuates and intensifies with age. Yoga promotes body acceptance by encouraging you to challenge your negative thoughts and inner critic. Yoga poses show you what your body is capable of and how strong it already is—there’s no need to change it. It helps kids develop confidence and self-esteem and learn to love their bodies.
We invite you and your child to experience the wonderful benefits of yoga this Saturday at our ILYSM Tween Workshop. The day will consist of yoga, meditation, and art as kids will paint along with artist Ryan Clement and create their own 11x14 masterpiece they can take home with them after class. This is an opportunity to provoke your child's imagination and creativity. Yoga and meditation will be done by Jill Hayes, RYT who specializes in Yoga for Teens.
For more information visit our Upcoming Events page or to sign up click here.