With COVID-19 sending more than half the world into lockdown, life at home is looking very different in the years to come. And with most schools closed, children are also stuck at home, with little or no outlet for their excess mental and physical energies. Given the travel and movement restrictions in place (for the foreseeable future), parents are looking for new ways to help their children stay healthy and physically active, all in the confines of an unchanging environment.
Fortunately, there are quite a few things that are easily doable to ensure the physical and mental well-being of children. Since contact sports and group activities are fraught with safety concerns, exercises that kids can do on their own is one of the solutions. And one form of exercise that benefits both mind and body is yoga for kids. A holistic activity that stimulates the mind as much as the body, even recent studies suggest that yoga is as beneficial for children as it is for adults.
Here are 7 reasons why you should consider yoga for kids:
- Flexibility – All the movements and postures in yoga help open up the body for a maximum range of motion. Each asana engages different muscle groups and helps children stay active, and they understand their bodies better in the process.
- Focus – Yoga is holistic in that it deeply engages the mind of the practitioner. Since kids have abundant reserves of energy, it harnesses this and channels it positively, while also improving other areas like concentration, sports, posture, and general wellbeing.
- Balance – Apart from improving flexibility in children, yoga also helps develop a better sense of balance and improved coordination. By actively engaging the body, and maintaining or holding the postures, yoga rapidly improves their motor skills and promotes increased dexterity.
- Confidence – When children practice yoga regularly, they will slowly, and surely improve. With each asana that they master and each movement that they learn, children become more confident about themselves and their abilities. This can boost their self-confidence, positively impacting social interactions and interest to learn new skills. In fact, with time and practice, kids can accomplish seemingly complicated asanas with greater ease than adults.
- Self-Awareness – Learning yoga is a slow, patient process, and through this kids also learn to be more accepting of themselves and others. Yoga teaches children important life lessons in tolerance, patience, self-love, and peace of mind, all of which aid in becoming well-rounded adults.
- Mental Strength – A good yoga teacher for kids will also focus on helping them achieve mental clarity and fortitude. Yoga teachers are like guides, they only offer direction but the actual effort needs to be put in by the practitioner. Along the way children will learn lessons in compassion and mindfulness, strengthening their overall mental development from a young age.
- For the differently-abled – Over the years, yoga has proven to be significantly helpful for children with special needs. For example, some yoga poses stretch and create space in the spine, which reduces pressure on the discs and in turn reduces overall muscle tension. Over time, this can help children with cerebral palsy to improve their range of motion and coordination. Breathing techniques in yoga have resulted in positively helping children with autism, who are often mouth breathers, by helping them breathe deeply and inculcate a habit of breathing through their noses. Yoga has also been known to help children with behavioral issues like ADHD or ADD.
While being on what seems like an indefinite vacation sounds like a good idea, children are prone to getting antsy, anxious, or stressed out if they don’t have enough avenues to productively utilize their energy. If your kids are rolling their eyes, or tuning out when you bring up yoga for children, show them that it’s not boring or fusty in the least! There are themed classes where students are taken on a virtual adventure each time, with clear instructions and easy-to-follow asanas. The goal isn’t to make children into mini-masters, but to help lay the foundation for the right form and posture for daily life.