In our fast-paced world many people – both adults and children – are facing troubles to focus and manage their emotions. This world is full of distractions, pressure, temptations, and overstimulation.
Living in the 21st Century can be very exhausting. We just went through a global pandemic with many restrictions, the media is constantly reporting about war and crisis and on top of that everyone has to deal with daily struggles at work and in school.
One way of building a healthy mind-body connection is by practising yoga.
Yoga is not just about exercising the body; it goes much deeper than that – hand in hand with mindfulness. In some schools around the globe special programs are used to teach yoga.
Here is why yoga can be beneficial for kids of all ages:
Yoga allows to relax
Children who struggle to stay present in the moment and regulate themselves can learn this through yoga. Many of the poses and exercises can easily be implemented in daily life. Relaxation in yoga is taught during fun activities, accompanied with music and sometimes storytelling.
Yoga is about breathing and stress reduction
The first steps to practicing yoga are about learning to breathe correctly and calmly. Learning how to do that can help children in all situations throughout their lives, for example when feeling stressed and anxious before an exam.
By breathing correctly, self-regulation is enhanced. Kids tune in with themselves, learn to listen to their inner selves and to what they are feeling and experiencing in the current moment. By focusing, they learn to be calm and concentrated.
Yoga means switching off
Many kids relax after school in front of the TV, tablet, or smartphone. Yoga can be a healthy alternative in helping them to switch off from their daily life.
Instead of having their eyes and mind overstimulated from a screen and unchanneled input, they learn to look inside with their eyes closed and without any distractions. Learning to focus and concentrate will help kids to also get their tasks and homework done without getting distracted.
Yoga for strength, flexibility, and coordination
When practicing yoga with a certified instructor, children learn how to move their bodies while breathing correctly. They will start to realize how strong they are and how to turn these strengths into acceptance (of themselves and others), confidence and compassion.
By practicing yoga, kids become aware of their body and of what their body is capable of. Long-term practice leads to physical strengths and enhances a positive self-image.
Also, energy is released in a controlled way.
Yoga is healthy and non-competitive
In the classroom and school environment kids often experience competition and comparison along with pressure to perform: Who is the best?
When practicing yoga in a group with other children, there is no competition. There are many different types of yoga – kids can choose what works best for them and their energy levels. By practicing yoga in a group, kids learn to be supportive and balance each other.
By practicing yoga with a parent or family member, the connection can grow stronger based on spending relaxing quality time with each other and learning together about open-minded acceptance.
Yoga enhances kids’ mental health
For every child it can be hard to focus and regulate themselves. Yoga can also be beneficial for those diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, or other disorders, as well as those who are going through major changes in their lives such as divorce of their parents or moving places for example for whom it can be even harder.
Overall, yoga can bring balance to a kid’s life by developing a healthy mind-body connection.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Franziska Richter is a transcultural counsellor with Willingness Team, offering counselling sessions to individuals and couples. She is particularly interested in sexuality, relationship issues, trauma and general mental health.
Harper, J. C. (2014). Little flower yoga for kids: A yoga and mindfulness program to help your child improve attention and emotional balance. New Harbinger.