Children in our modern world are often juggling school, extracurricular activities, family challenges, social media bullying, and an internet chock-full of doom and gloom. Even more than adults, children can use the many helpful lessons which yoga provides. Yoga presents a toolkit of coping mechanisms for the many messages and hurdles that children must deal with.
Here are just a few ways in which yoga provides the perfect combination of support and knowledge for our younger community members.
Yoga Provides Safe Activity
Not that long ago, parents used to simply send their kids out into the world to ‘play’ for the afternoon. In modern times, parents are worried about crime, traffic, unsafe neighborhoods, and more. There are fewer and fewer ways in which kids can be active and safe. Yoga provides that outlet in a way which can be done pretty much anywhere. If a child has a mat, they can build their muscles, flexibility, core strength, and overall health.
Yoga Provides Non-Competitive Social Outlets
So much of our modern world is about winners and losers. Those with skill and those without. But yoga is wholly about each person walking their own path. Every pose can be modified and adjusted. Every person can participate at their own pace. It’s about each person being the best they can be given their current situation.
Yoga Builds a Healthy Body Image
Yoga’s message is that each of us is born with a unique body. We each can do our best to maintain our body’s health. Through the different poses we come to understand and appreciate our bodies, just the way they are. This is an especially critical message in our modern Instagram world.
Yoga Nurtures Self-Esteem
Participants in a yoga class are each encouraged to be their best in their own unique way. Every person matters; every person has something to offer. A child who isn’t the tallest might be the very best at downward facing dog. A child who isn’t the fastest might be wonderful at maintaining a plank pose. Every child has a special talent.
Yoga Builds Compassion
Yoga reminds us that every one of us matters. Every one of us should be heard and considered. We all have different shapes and sizes and that is all right.
Yoga Teaches Focus and Concentration
There’s no finish line in yoga. Instead, the quest is to hold a pose just a bit longer. To breathe just a bit deeper. It teaches the students how to build focus and to maintain concentration. Each practice session builds those skills a little fuller.
If you’ve been doing yoga as an adult, it’s important to keep in mind that children learn in different ways than adults do. It could be that children are not interested in an hour-long structured sequence of yoga poses. Perhaps they want to act out a story with yoga poses for the animals. Perhaps they want to try poses set to different types of music. Maybe a dance-yoga session will strike a chord. Be flexible and open to different adventures at different moments. Build in the different learning styles so all children have their chance to participate.
Yoga is a valuable skill which can help a child thrive through their current challenges – and which will serve them well as they grow and become an adult. Yoga provides the foundation for a successful, healthy long life.