• Chantelle Cabral

8 reasons why kids should practice yoga

Updated: Feb 26

Yoga for children involves movement, imagination and playfulness.

Many schools have incorporated yoga into their wellness programs and have seen a positive outcome. According to a recent research by Harvard Medical school, yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and can even reduce anxiety and stress in children. I’ve put down 8 strong reasons why children should practice yoga.

1. Fostering a positive body image thus improving self esteem.

Body Image is how you feel and think about your body. Kids tend to sometimes, compare themselves with each other as they grow. This could lead to a poor body image of themselves, making way for anxiety and low self-esteem to creep in and thus affecting social functioning. Yoga helps kids to embrace themselves for who they are. It replaces low self-esteem with assertiveness and self-confidence. By accepting themselves for who they are, they are most comfortable in their skin, helping them to shine brighter.

2. Self-discipline.

Children are often corrected by parents, teachers, guardians etc… and it may sometimes feel like nagging to them. Yoga teaches kids to be disciplined. Learning how to be disciplined on their own, encourages them to cultivate good habits and take up activities that interests them and see it to the end. Learning to be disciplined on your own from a young age is a start to some good habits that will follow.

3. Enhanced physical flexibility.

The present global situation has forced children to be indoors for a long time. And its not long before the cold sets in too. Getting your child engaged in Yoga will keep them active. Kids learn to use their muscles in new ways. It keeps their growing muscles strong and active, aiding better blood flow. A healthy mind and a fit body makes a happy child.

4. Develops concentration and focus.

Meera Balasubramaniam, MD, a psychiatrist at the NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan said “The children trained in yoga showed greater improvement in areas of attention and hyperactivity as well as homework compliance," . Mindfulness and meditation strengthens your ability to control your attention. Children learn how to observe and retain focus. As they becomes more aware of their emotions and the environment, they become less likely to act impulsively. Children respond more logically and they are now able to maintain attention and complete the task at hand.

5. Constant self-discovery and inquisitiveness.

Through movement, children find themselves constantly curious. They learn a little bit more of how they can move, what makes them happy and how they can express themselves through movement. Yoga teaches children how to act and respond when faced with a challenging situation.

6. Improves memory and cognitive functioning.

Through mindful meditation, children learn how to stay focused for a longer period of time. This sense of awareness brings about an improvement in absorption of information, hence improving memory, balance and coordination. A recent study published online in the frontiers in psychology show that Yoga has a significant positive impact on the development of visual attention, visuomotor precision, and ADHD behaviour.

7. Improves sleep and reduces restlessness.

Children tend to be active all day long and sometimes, it can be challenge to get them to sleep, especially when you are tired and need to call it a day. Some breathing patters and movements help kids to relax their bodies and naturally fall asleep. Yoga is a fantastic relaxation tool for children and adults. By doing yoga together, you are not only strengthening their mind and body, but also your connection with them.

8. Reduces stress and anxiety.

A regular day for a child is filled with school, homework, and extracurricular activities. It’s vital that they know how to deal with stress. By developing coping strategies early in life, kids may be less likely to develop psychological conditions related to chronic stress. Yoga teaches them how to be less anxious when faced with challenges. By maintaining composure and responding instead of reacting to a situation, children are able to distinguish between positive and negative emotions, maintaining a balance.

With so many benefits, yoga is a positive reinforcement for children. By practicing Yoga at an early age, children can reap lifelong benefits of this ancient Indian practice.

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