Yoga For Kids: helping them deal with stress and anxiety

What are the benefits of yoga for kids?

Introducing yoga early in life can have positive effects on a child’s emotional and social development, as well as their physical well-being. Yoga for children teaches positive self-esteem and builds confidence, self-love and acceptance of who they are through visualization techniques. It teaches children that they are all unique and special. Yoga can help children with behavior issues, by teaching concentration methods and making them aware of their surroundings through relaxation, and training the mind not to wander off into daydream or anxious thoughts. Yoga provides a safe exercise routine for children with physical disabilities, and those with weight issues, by learning how to deal with cravings and false hunger pangs.

A typical yoga class for kids

The class will begin with a warm up by getting children to take of their shoes, find a suitable floor space and sit with their legs crossed. They will start the class feeling relaxed, and then guided through a visualization exercise with their eyes closed which helps quiet the mind.

Breath awareness will be central to the class, and children will learn to breath steadily and from different parts of the body as they relax and as they move and stretch in and out of postures. Breathing techniques will help them learn how to relax and focus by simply watching the breath. Yoga can also help children who suffer from asthma or other respiratory illness, but it is important to disclose any medical issues like this to the instructor so that they can support your child in the best way.

Children are not taught how to make perfect posture, but how to stretch safely and have fun at the same time. Associating posture with real world objects such as trees, space ships and animals promotes an atmosphere of fun and humor into the class, and some instructors bring their own props to help with these visualization methods. Different postures will include standing, sitting, balancing and bending, whilst reminding children to breathe in and out gently though the nose.

Guided relaxation through visualization exercises encourages creativity as well as concentration:  teaching children to free their minds of worries and anxieties, and taking them on adventures within their own imaginations. This could be floating on a cloud, or swimming amongst fish.

Classes usually finish with a reawakening exercise that brings them back to the present. This might include lying on the floor, wiggling fingers and toes, and standing up slowly.

Remember, Yoga for kids should be fun, creative, confidence building, and relaxing for all children regardless of shape and ability.

Further Reading

Yoga Bugs run groups around the UK

www.yogabugs.co.uk

Yoga Journal the benefits of yoga for kids 

Check out this sun salutation to help get you in the yoga mood 🙂

 

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