This article first appeared in mindbodygreen.com and is written by Cheryl MacDonald
More than ever, kids today are spending more time indoors, at home and sitting at their desks at school. Our children’s activities and definitions of “fun” shouldn’t be limited to television, iPads and video games.
Yoga allows us to interact with our children in a playful way, by fueling their imagination and lust for life. Yoga keeps children fit, excited and curious, while still proving educational. With time, a consistent yoga practice can help develop their emotional and social skills, among numerous other mental and physical benefits.
When it comes to health and fitness for children, we tend to focus on a particular sport or outdoor play, but the sensitivity of their developing emotional minds can sometimes get overlooked. Who would have thought the ancient Eastern art of yoga is equally beneficial for a child’s well-being, as well as our own?
Here are five great reasons why kids today need yoga in their lives:
1. Concentration is enhanced.
When children become accustomed to practicing yoga postures, they automatically improve their ability to concentrate. Ancient sages used yoga as a form of meditation, and their powers of concentration are legendary.
Your child will learn how to sit still in one place and focus on what’s important, as opposed to allowing their mind wander and become easily distracted. Improved concentration translates into their time at school during lessons, boosts their attention span and can help improve their grades.
2. Flexibility and balance are increased.
Yoga helps to improve flexibility and balance by toning their little muscles gently and safely. Practicing asana makes children stronger and less likely to suffer sprains and fractures from accidental falls and other mishaps common to adventurous, curious kids.
3. Overall well-being is improved.
Kids who practice yoga regularly feel good about themselves, and are quite likely healthier and happier than those who don’t. A regular yoga practice promotes a healthy lifestyle and outlook from a young age. They’ll feel both mentally and physically rejuvenated after a yoga session, thus improving their overall mental and physical health.
4. Continued practice boosts confidence.
When your child is able to display great agility and flexibility, it does wonders for their confidence. Their improved performance at school also helps to build their self-esteem amongst their peers at school.
They’ll become more poised and start to believe in their own abilities. This feeling provides them with the adrenaline they need to achieve success in all of their endeavors, and they’ll take that with them through the rest of their lives.
5. Relaxed mind and awareness increases.
Even children are subject to stress these days, because of their workload at school and the high expectations that their parents have for them. They are pushed to be high achievers at every aspect of their lives, and when they fail, they might take it to heart and can even become depressed.
Yoga helps children to relax and de-stress when they feel upset or depressed. It helps them to live life in a state of higher awareness and helps to put their stresses and strains into perspective. It soothes their frayed minds and helps them get back to a calm mental state.
Cheryl MacDonald is the founder of YogaBellies, which specializes in perinatal yoga and natural birth preparation. She created the Birth ROCKS natural birth preparation method and has trained over 70 YogaBellies teachers across the world.