The Most Important Benefits of Yoga for Kids.
The Most Important Benefits of Yoga for Kids.
Children today are extremely busy, with their entire days filled with school, classes, extracurriculars, homework, competitions, et cetera. They also deal with several distractions, overstimulation, peer pressure, temptations, and so on, daily. While most of us may feel that these things may not be stressful for children, most of the time, they actually are! The busy bustling pace of our kids’ lives can have a profound impact on their physical and mental well-being.
Yoga comes as a welcome relief, as it is something that children can practice anywhere, including breathing techniques and physical postures, because a dedicated and intentional yoga practice can be incredibly valuable for our children. It can help their concentration, emotional, social, physical, and mental wellbeing, and the way our children learn to act or react in situations, along with helping them in their own self-discovery.
At Sherwood High, we believe that the benefits of yoga for students are plenty. Therefore, we will look at the most important benefits of yoga for kids in this blog.
So, what is yoga?
According to Alexandra De Collibus, founder of Sweet Pea Yoga, who teaches yoga to infants, toddlers, and kids, “Yoga is the practice of accessing and integrating all aspects of our true nature — body, mind, and spirit — in the pursuit of inner harmony.”
Why do kids need Yoga as much as we do?
Yoga today is recognized all over the world because it does not only look into the physical well-being of a person but also nurtures the mental, emotional and spiritual connection.
While most people are aware of the benefits of yoga for adults, the benefits of yoga for children are not so widely known. Yoga helps children to relax, sleep better, relieve stress and anxiety, improve emotional regulation, mood, et cetera.
Physical benefits of yoga for kids:
1. Enhanced Physical strength:
Yoga promotes physical strength as children learn to use their muscles in different and fresh ways, irrespective of the posture. Whether a child is practicing a pose by standing, sitting, or lying down, it is equally challenging to various muscles in their body that will help the child become physically stronger.
2. Better physical flexibility:
Children are born naturally flexible, but as they grow, their bodies tend to lose that flexibility with age. However, by practicing yoga, they will be able to retain their flexibility. As yoga introduces children to move their bodies and muscles in new and challenging ways, children become more flexible and agile, with increased dexterity.
3. Refined balance and coordination
One of the most important elements of yoga is balance, as balancing poses help in promoting mental and physical poise. As children learn and improve in balancing themselves better for different poses, their mental clarity and stability increase from the effort of trying such poses. Balance and coordination go hand-in-hand. This better balance and coordination helps children not only with their body balance and mental clarity but also with gross and fine motor coordination.
4. Increased immunity:
Almost everything about a child’s wellbeing comes down to their immune system. When a child’s immune system is well developed, they are less likely to be prone to infections and illnesses. The initial years of a child’s life are the building blocks to their future and yoga improves resistance and builds a strong defense mechanism that increases the child’s overall immunity.
5. Boost overall body fitness:
Apart from all these above said specific physical benefits, yoga also improves overall body fitness. With better fitness comes an increase in strength and stamina, which doing just a simple stretch or poses of yoga can yield. Many researches also suggest that regular practice of yoga could improve muscular endurance, BMI, and cardiopulmonary fitness in children.
Benefits of yoga for young minds:
1. Improved memory and cognitive functions:
By practicing yoga, children create focus within themselves, which helps in improved memory and cognitive functioning. As kids are essentially practicing their ability to focus on the task at hand while they’re practicing yoga, it automatically makes them better focused and increases their cognitive functioning at classes in schools, which in turn leads to improved academic performance.
2. Increased concentration and attention span:
The act of practicing poses encourages children to concentrate on that specific activity to achieve a particular pose. While children today are becoming increasingly impatient and restless, practicing yoga will help increase their attention span and build their power of concentration as yoga teaches them to focus on something as simple as a single movement or breath.
3. Boosted confidence and self-esteem:
It is known that practicing yoga releases endorphins that help decrease stress and make us feel good, which psychologically boosts our confidence. Yoga teaches children to be patient, try harder, persevere, and work towards their goals relentlessly in order to master every single pose. Therefore, once the child masters that posture for which they have been working so hard, it boosts their self-confidence and self-esteem greatly.
4. Reduced stress and anxiety:
Yoga is known to relieve negative thoughts and feelings, bring about clarity, and make children feel good about themselves, all of which would help create feelings of happiness and calm within children. This will, in turn, improve their mood. An improved mood also means reduced stress and anxiety as the same endorphins that induce happy feelings also help reduce negative feelings, stress, and anxiety. Practicing yoga helps children in relieving stress and tension by using their breathing to calm their minds, bodies, and their systems, which in turn also helps them fall asleep faster and improves their quality of sleep.
5. Strengthened mind-body coordination:
Learning a variety of yoga poses can teach children about their own bodies and about what they are capable of doing. This knowledge enhances the mind-body connection and coordination. The name “yoga” itself means “yoke” or “join” speaking about the union of the mind and body. So ultimately, children learn to accept and love themselves as they are and see the good in others, and learn to be aware of their innate capacities, become more resilient, positive, optimistic, and are less likely to succumb to negativity, depression, anxiety or any other prevalent mental health issues.
Apart from these above-mentioned benefits, there are also many emotional and social benefits to yoga. Yoga teaches children emotional regulation, discipline, mindfulness, increases their body awareness, determination, perseverance, self-regulation, independence, positivity, coping skills, and reduces impulsivity. Though yoga is typically regarded as an individual activity, there is also a social component to it that helps children share community experiences with others, hence improving social relationships.