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Kids are easily distracted by the busyness of life, the newest toys and gadgets and technology advancements that have changed the way they play. If you answer yes to the following questions, your children may benefit from yoga:
–Do you spend less than five hours at home in between sleep times?
–Are your kids involved in more than one extracurricular activity?
–Do your kids spend more time on a tablet or phone than playing outside or with others?
Benefits of yoga include:
–improved socialization skills by interacting with a group or for children who need a little less talk in their day;
–strengthened gross motor skills by using poses that build the child’s overall strength, balance and flexibility;
–decreased behavioral and mental health issues by improving self-confidence, mood, concentration and emotional balance.
Working for a nonprofit organization brings many little ones in an out of my office. When working with children, I often use meditation and relaxation techniques to help them through the challenges of their lives including, divorce, classroom behavioral issues, bullying and anxiety.
One of my favorite stories is about a child who was struggling to stay focused in school, had trouble with bullies and often would have emotional instability. Once I got to know this kiddo, I realized that there was a lack of awareness and self-control. Kids often have resiliency within themselves; it’s just a matter of helping them tap into it. I started using some deep-breathing techniques to help calm and create a space of stillness. We worked on controlling the breath and paying attention to the way our bodies felt. Once we had that down, we moved on to some yoga movements where the kiddo often would say, “I can’t do it.” I would remind the child to breath and focus, and the child was able to accomplish the pose. We then worked on awareness of thoughts and feelings. We found a safe place to express these thoughts and feelings and learned to challenge unrealistic beliefs. After some time, this kiddo was able to have better self-control, decreased emotional outburst and made progress at school.
Yoga has been a practiced for centuries and is a common tool used for various reasons around the world. There is substantial evidence that has shown dramatic improvements for those who participate. I have even adapted some of these practices in my own home. There are some great video resources parents can find that are fun for kids to simply follow along. There are also some resources online that teach basic poses for kids. While yoga may not be ideal for everyone, I encourage parents to give it a try. Most of all, have fun and keep moving.