We have all heard about or personally felt the benefits of yoga for our physical, mental, and spiritual health. The sense of calm and feeling of strength post-yoga practice is undeniable. Yoga is a great activity for kids to try, whether it be done alone, in a group, or with the entire family. Without a doubt, practising yoga on a regular basis will help your kids feel great and keep their bodies and minds in motion.
1. Yoga teaches kids about self-acceptance.
Our society sends us so many messages about inadequacy, false expectations, inappropriate body image, and more and kids are exposed to these messages every day through social media outlets. Yoga teaches kids to accept their bodies and their physical strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately gives them the tools to ward off those feelings of inadequacy, self- doubt, and low self-esteem that arise during adolescence.
2. Yoga helps kids develop their visual spatial skills.
Yoga works on strength, coordination, balance, motor skills, and so much more. It also increases core strength and helps children learn proper posture. As children learn how to guide themselves in and out of yoga poses, they are taught self-awareness and how to control their bodies by focusing on individual movements.
3. Yoga can be an individual sport.
In a world where team sports are held up on high on a pedestal, many kids feel unaccomplished and excluded if they don’t belong to a team. The beauty of yoga is that it can be practised in a group, and even better, independently. Children learn that there is no one better or worse at yoga than anyone else, and that physical abilities differ from person to person.
4. Yoga teaches kids calming techniques.
Most children are never taught how to express themselves appropriately, and so they deal with frustration by crying or throwing tantrums. Children are never too young to learn the breathing techniques that are used in yoga to calm the body and the mind. With time they will inevitably learn how to apply those calming tools in their everyday lives and react to any situation in an appropriate manner.
5. Yoga helps kids learn about patience.
By doing yoga kids learn about physical and mental restraint. They learn to practice in a group without rushing and respect everyone’s abilities and individual paces. Not only do they learn about being patient with others, they learn about being with themselves, taking their time to get in and out of poses, accepting their difficulties and getting past them.
6. Yoga supports positive mental health in children.
Mental health issues among children are on the rise. What better way to prevent them or reduce them than by teaching children how to focus on acceptance, love, positivity, optimism, resilience, etc. When children are exposed to yoga they learn about self-acceptance, which makes them more apt to see the good in others and to accept everyone for who they are, and they are also less likely to succumb to depression, anxiety, and other mental issues that are on the rise today.
7. Yoga teaches kids to take a mental break.
Kids need just as many mental breaks in their day as adults too, but they hardly ever get them. Their little brains are constantly in overdrive – expectations at school, homework, after-school activities, television, video games and technology, etc. Sometimes they just need time to BE, and most often this needs to be taught to them. Yoga encourages silent meditation as the body moves through poses, which helps children learn how to appreciate the stillness of the body and the mind.
8. Yoga allows kids to feel accomplished.
Yoga teaches kids to accept their bodies and how to improve flexibility, stamina, and strength. Yoga poses and flows are broken down step by step and not only are they fun, they are also challenging. In fact, the concept of failure is never introduced in yoga. This helps instil a sense of accomplishment that translates into other daily activities.
9. Yoga builds self-confidence.
Fear of failure is a learned behaviour that most kids aren’t born with. Children are more resilient and fearless than adults by nature, and have little to no inhibitions. Many challenging yoga poses encourage kids to overcome that small amount of fear that they might have and focuses on the idea that they are all equally strong and capable in their own personal way.
10. Yoga helps kids focus.
It seems that more and more these days kids are unable to focus on one given task for an extended length of time. Yoga helps teach kids to be present and to concentrate and focus on their body and breath. This allows them to tune into what’s happening on the inside, rather than the outside distractions around them. The ability to focus during yoga has a snowball effect and transfers to their everyday lives. Children are always told that they need to be engaged and productive. Their busy little minds are always in overdrive, so when they learn how to relax and be present they are better able to handle stressful situations.
11. Yoga is FUN!
Kids yoga is engaging, dynamic, and most of all fun! During yoga children learn that it’s actually acceptable to move freely, laugh out loud, be creative and silly. There is no competition, just fun and games. Everyone is encouraged to participate at their own pace, and children quickly learn that nothing they do needs to be perfect, and that everyone falls and everyone gets up. There is a ton of laughter and the environment is one of mutual love and respect.