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Yoga For Kids, Yes Please!

By Bridget
24 July 2016   |   10:23 pm
Benefits of yoga for children and why it is important. Yoga is a physical practice that brings balance to the mind and the body, and can have a lasting impact on the wellbeing of children. Yoga for children helps them learn how to control their energy so they can focus and increase their concentration levels.…

Benefits of yoga for children and why it is important.

Yoga is a physical practice that brings balance to the mind and the body, and can have a lasting impact on the wellbeing of children. Yoga for children helps them learn how to control their energy so they can focus and increase their concentration levels. Yoga incorporates breathing techniques and poses that help them not only physically but mentally and emotionally. Practicing yoga at an early stage in life helps children handle stress, conflict resolution with their peers, and encourages kindness and consideration for others.

Common misconceptions about yoga.

I feel like it is always critical to buttress the fact that there are way too many misconceptions about yoga, and that needs to be addressed repeatedly. Fundamentally, yoga is a physical and adaptive practice and not a religion nor hocus pocus. Its origins were established in India where their cultural practices were amply adapted into the physical practice of yoga. Hence it varies from place to place and with different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. The key thing is, it is a physical exercise that has a myriad of benefits for the body and mind.

Benefits of yoga for children.

Our children live in a fast-paced world of busy parents, school pressures, incessant lessons, video games, malls, and competitive sports. We usually don’t think of these influences as stressful for our kids, but often they are. The bustling pace of our children’s lives can have a profound effect on their innate joy—and usually not for the better.

I have found that yoga can help counter these pressures. When children learn techniques for self-health, relaxation, and inner fulfillment, they can navigate life’s challenges with a little more ease. Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem and body awareness with a physical activity that’s non-competitive. Fostering cooperation and compassion—instead of opposition—is a great gift to give our children.

Yoga For Kids, Yes Please!

Children derive enormous benefits from yoga. Physically, it enhances their flexibility, strength, coordination, and body awareness and even handwriting! In addition, their concentration and sense of calmness and relaxation improves. In practicing yoga, children exercise, play, connect more deeply with their inner self, and develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them. Yoga develops that marvelous inner light that all children have to the surface.

Yoga For Kids, Yes Please!

Experience with children

3 months ago, I had my first experience teaching yoga to children at a local Daara in Dakar, Senegal as an initiative to bring awareness about the welfare of the talibés (children forced to beg on streets). I looked forward to the opportunity with confidence—after all, I’d been teaching yoga to adults for quite a while, and had experience teaching art class to children in different schools in the past. But after classes with a group of 3 to 14-year-olds, I had to seriously reevaluate my approach. I needed to learn to let go of my expectations of what yoga is and is not.

Yoga For Kids, Yes Please!

When I began to honor the children’s innate intelligence and tune in to how they were instructing me to instruct them, we began to co-create our classes. We used the yoga asanas (poses) as a base, and I found they started to respond to every word I said in French, given they only spoke Wollof. I utilized the opportunity to teach them a few phrases in French and English and our time together became a truly interdisciplinary approach to learning. Together we wove stories with our bodies and minds in a flow that could only happen in child’s play. 

For more information on children’s yoga, group classes, private and corporate practice do send us an email on info.yogawithstacey@gmail.com . Follow us for yoga tips and banter on Twitter @yogawithstacey and Instagram @yoga_with_stacey

Namasté

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