How Do Kids Benefit from YOGA?
Yoga for kids is a fun way for children to develop important skills in a fun, non-competitive environment. Even at a young age, children often feel pressure at school academically and socially, plus the added pressure of competitive organized sports. It is easy for girls and boys to become overly self-critical, and lose confidence in themselves as they grow and change.
Yoga is a great remedy; there is no judgment in a yoga class about how a child does a pose or plays a game. Doing a pose ‘perfectly’ is not the aim of yoga, which nurtures a child’s inner strength and self acceptance.
This nourishing atmosphere encourages children to relax and have fun while they develop not only strength, coordination, flexibility and balance, but also body awareness, better focus and concentration, and self confidence.
In fact, a 2003 study by the University of California of children in a Los Angeles school found that children who had frequent yoga instruction saw significant increases in children’s self esteem, as well as overall fitness, academic performance, and even a decrease in discipline problems as students felt more relaxed and were more respectful of their peers!
Children are also encouraged to respect and pay attention to their bodies, making sure each pose feels good and coming in and out of positions when they feel ready (something most adults have a hard time doing!). As children grow and their bodies change quickly, this becomes an important skill.
But what makes yoga classes different from other movement-based activities incorporating music and games, like gymborees? Besides the immense physical and mental benefits, a central tenet of yoga practice is respect and honor:
for ourselves, for each other, and our environment. In a yoga class, children often go on a magical journey around the world, and learn about many cultures and places. Since many of the yoga poses are of animals, children also learn about different animal habitats, endangered species, and even recycling!
Children have an innate affinity with the natural world, and animals in particular. They understand and enjoy learning about and caring for the earth and its inhabitants, both human and animal.
In this way, yoga is a holistic practice, with an inner as well as outer focus. But most importantly for kids, yoga is fun!
Source: Rainbow Kids Yoga
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