Yoga isn’t just for adults. Kids can benefit immediately – and for the longer term – by beginning a yoga practice today!
Kids Also Experience Calmness, Lightness and Focus with Yoga
For those of you reading this and who practice yoga, you will recall that lighter feeling and calmer mind that occurs after coming out of the final rest pose (shavasana). It’s a wonderful feeling and the same benefits can be experienced by a child who has also just completed a yoga practice. In our current over stimulated world, kids today face challenges, that we as adults were never exposed to growing up. There are distractions in every aspect of their lives from toddlers who have access to multiple versions of screen time to pre-teens and teenagers with obsessive attachments to their devices. Then add academic challenges and peer pressure, it is no surprise consistent data shows rising levels of anxiety and depression in kids. Thankfully, the simple practice of yoga, offers some remarkable benefits. This is powerful stuff!
Creating Lifelong Foundations
When kids are introduced to yoga at a young age, it can set the foundation for a lifelong practice and have benefits in many ways. These benefits include more focus and clarity with academic study. Yoga is not a race, which means they don’t need to fear underachieving or competing with others. This critical aspect of yoga allows children to learn about body awareness, confidence, patience and perseverance in their own time. The physical, mental and emotional strengthening that is developed through yoga is of course particularly helpful right now during the COVID-19 crisis when kids are really feeling, not only their own sense of anxiety, but also will be picking up on the heightened emotions of others around them. Any activity that can encourage acknowledging and understanding our emotions, especially without judgement, is going to help us negotiate these uncertain times more easily. Yoga teaches us never to give up and the great thing is that kids are usually unstoppable so they thrive on this. Whilst we pass on our teachings to them, it’s worthwhile remembering that kids are extraordinary teachers to us adults too!
Keeping Kid’s Bodies, Hearts and Minds Healthy and Happy With Yoga
The word yoga translates to meaning ‘union’ and this is apparent on a physical, emotional and a mental level. Physically, kids get to practice developing control and coordination of their body and breath for the balancing poses, and they learn to develop muscular strength and resilience for maintaining the poses. Mentally, they learn how focus and stillness helps them to feel calm and centered. On an emotional level, they learn about their connection to themselves and to other people, thus nurturing qualities of understanding and kindness. Yoga also develops their sense of union with nature. The names and qualities of yoga poses are drawn from the natural world and so this keeps them in touch with the world beyond technology and urban living. However, it is important that children receive age appropriate yoga training so that with a playful approach they learn to enjoy the practice to develop a life long learning skill.
Kids Learn How To Breathe and Be Mindful
Paying attention to breathing is a large component of yoga. Teaching kids to notice their breath and how it affects their mood and energy levels brings great value to them. It introduces them to mindfulness, which is a word of immense popularity nowadays. Simply put, mindfulness just means noticing, without judgement, what is happening moment by moment as felt through our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Studies report over and over again how effective mindfulness can be in lowering stress levels and negative reactions whilst increasing kindness and neural plasticity.
Whilst mindfulness doesn’t mean the same thing as meditation, meditation is a practice that comes hand in hand with yoga, and that can be helpful in developing mindfulness. Yoga is meditative by nature and encourages kids to foster an awareness of their inner world. They learn to notice how they feel, which is a valuable tool for them to learn how to self soothe and manage stress in their everyday lives.
Introducing Mindful Sparks
Myself (Jen) and my friend and business partner Lilly, began MINDFUL SPARKS in 2019. Mindful Sparks is a mindfulness based company and consultancy. We are based in Bangkok and, as it’s founders, we are both qualified mindful educators, with over 13 years experience in education as teachers, teacher trainers, curriculum designers, yoga instructors and dance instructors. We teach yoga and deliver mindfulness training for children and adults to encourage healthy ways of relating to themselves, others and the world with compassion and interest.
Our teaching approach is based on five elements we consider as essential foundations of a mindful practice:
- mental wellbeing
- environmental awareness
- nutritional knowledge
- emotional wellbeing
- physical health
We believe that this diverse spectrum allows us to engage the whole child, knowing that each person has their own unique and individual needs and interests.
If you have any queries or an interest in learning more about what we offer, please do get in touch we are based in Ekkamai and are happy to offer online classes during these uncertain times. Visit our Facebook or Instagram pages for more details.
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