What is yoga?
Yoga is the phenomenon that has basically taken the world by storm in the last few years. Some say that the practice has found growing popularity as a response to the fast-paced, wealth driven, internet age where everything is based on instant and fleeting gratification.
Yoga is a discipline which teaches breath control, simple meditation (ie. Being calm and aware of one’s own body) and adopting specific postures which help with health, flexibility and relaxation.
Why should my kids do yoga?
Maintains flexibility and strengthens growing bodies
Kids who engage in rough and tumble activities and sports are less prone to injury when they practice regular yoga.
Enhances concentration and focus
Moving from one pose to another can be quite a challenge for kids and can require a high level of concentration for them to be able to focus on the correct muscle groups to help them successfully get into a pose. This promotes concentration in other areas of life, including school work.
‘Namaste’ a greeting used among yogis means ‘the light in me sees the light in you’. Yoga teaches children to respect all living things because the same light shines from everyone. This helps them to understand that judgment and negativity should be avoided.
Increases self-esteem and discipline
Mastering a difficult pose after a lot of practice and hard work brings with it a great sense of accomplishment. It boosts a child’s confidence as it makes them feel as though they can do anything that they set their mind to. They learn that if they are disciplined and work hard and consistently, they will be able to achieve their goals.
Gives a child tools for stress management
A child is faced with challenging situations all the time. Yoga provides instant stress relief from these, the postures and stretching release endorphins which send positive messages to the brain. Even the deep breathing that yoga teaches has an unbelievably calming effect in a stressful situation.
Increases self-awareness (in mind and body)
Yoga teaches children to be aware of how their body feels in every movement, stretch and posture. This body awareness is of high value both while they are kids and as they grow, from understanding niggly injuries and sickness to being aware of what their body requires to stay healthy.
They learn how their mind influences their attitude and emotions and can ripple to those round them. Yoga means a happier child in happier surroundings.
Considering all the benefits of kid yoga, the question seems to change from why should my child do yoga to why shouldn’t my child do yoga?
It’s a no-brainer really!
The pics for this post were supplied by Carolina Barrause (thank you Carolina!) who runs Kid Yoga classes at the Astanga Studio in Kloof. If you are in the Durban/Upper Highway area you can contact her on email@example.com or visit www.astanga.co.za to sign your child up for the inspiring practice of yoga!
Classes for children run every Thursday and space in each age group is limited.
If you are not in the Durban/Kloof area, please give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org or using the form on our contact page and we will be happy to recommend yoga studios that cater to children, if we know of any in your area.