You can never be too young to begin yoga. Learn about the benefits yoga can have for children in today's blog from our yoga expert and guest blogger, Tanynya Hekymara.
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“True happiness is when the love that is within us finds expression in external activities.” — Ammachi, "the Hugging Saint"
Would you like the children in your life to learn this lesson earlier instead of later? This article discusses the benefits of yoga for children. I strive to provide the reader with wellness information encouraging deeper research into the topic as the journey towards healthy living continues. Always consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Social Development Yoga practice develops positive social behaviors such as gratitude, compassion, cooperation, and anti-bullying. Youth are at such a critical age socially. They begin to question their relationships with others, their self-worth and identity. Tenets of yoga include honesty, non-violence and non-judgmental self-awareness, all of which are extremely important for all human beings and are incorporated into yoga class. In a study, 96% of children practicing yoga reported being kinder to others.
Personal Development. 88% of children practicing yoga reported an improved positive attitude toward themselves. The constant intentional practice of yoga can improve self-esteem and inspire coping skills, and healthy self-comfort behaviors in the practitioner, reducing stress and increasing self-discipline. Again, children are still exploring and learning these skills. Yoga can provide a healthy supplement or support to parenting and mentorship.
Physical Benefits. The physical benefits are probably the best known benefits of yoga for youth. They include healthy breathing, improved strength, greater flexibility, increased coordination, and enhanced balance. All of these benefits are helpful in daily life, sports, dance, playing an instrument, and more. In addition, practicing yoga at a young age develops a healthy life-long physical activity.
Academics. Because yoga encourages focus through paying attention to the body, meditation, and breathing techniques, students practicing yoga report using breathing techniques to concentrate. In a 2009 study, Kauts and Sharma reported that school-age yoga practitioners improved their academic performance, and in 2004 Siar reported increased class participation and test scores. There is a positive correlation between the ability to concentrate and improved self-esteem and courageous, empathetic, curious learners.
If you are interested in children’s yoga classes, search the internet for classes in your area. I recommend finding a class specifically for kids 0 to 13 years of age. For youth over 13, I recommend finding a class the student will enjoy and which takes time to teach new poses.
I wish you the best as you raise and/or mentor the young people in your life.
I leave you with,
Meaning peace for all…
Photography by Shay McAtee