Recently, a friend of mine told me that her daughter had come home from school one day and told her about her special yoga class. A lady had come into the school and taught them some yoga. My friend was a bit put out. To her, it was all a bit excessive and most certainly completely unnecessary.
Straightaway, I thought back to my own somewhat unhappy schooldays and imagined what my reaction would have been back then. Without a shadow of doubt, I would have tried to disrupt the class out of sheer boredom, fuelled by an intense inability to keep still.
My friend had started off totally sceptical and was reluctant to make the voluntary financial contribution to the weekly class. As the weeks went, shed noticed a change in her daughter. She seemed calmer and more content. It took quite a while until my friend began associating the change in her daughter with the commencement of the yoga classes. But the penny did eventually drop and she was completely intrigued. When she saw the benefits, she even considered building a yoga studio in her home. She considered a multi-purpose room in her backyard, and started to research the best workshop for gardens that could be used for yoga, as well as just for relaxation during the summer months.
As it happened, we had a mutual friend who had practiced yoga for many years. Over a delicious cup of coffee, my friend and I began quizzing her about the value of yoga for kids. Naturally, to her it was a complete “no-brainer”, of course yoga was going to be good for kids. She also knew by our reaction that she need to patiently explain the benefits of yoga for kids to us.
Benefits of Yoga for Kids
She started off explaining how the technology and busy existence kids are immersed in was a great source of stress to them. In her opinion, kids no longer possess the ability to simply be still, without any distraction or entertainment of any kind. She also told us that yoga taught kids to be centred and calm, breathe properly, and ultimately be better able to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life.
The best part about yoga is that the kids can practice whenever they want. All you really need is a mildly cushioned surface, which is what a yoga mat provides, and themselves. There’s no equipment or gear required to do yoga, and it can be an incredibly calming activity to partake in, even alone. And for kids, finding solace in being by themselves is a necessary trait to have. She went on to say that at its core, yoga is an exercise, and who are we to stop our kids from exercising the way they want to?
The more she spoke, the more I could picture it: my kids waking up on a summer morning and practicing yoga on our patio. We were also thinking about constructing a summerhouse, which I feel would be perfect for a small garden, and using it as a multi-purpose space for the kids to play in would be great. They could start their morning with a bit of yoga, and then spend afternoons doing arts and crafts, or reading a book.
Going back to our conversation, these were the key benefits that my friend explained:
- Yoga Helps Kids to Feel More Confident: Yoga helps kids to feel more centred and comfortable in their own skin as a consequence of which they have a higher level of confidence.
- Yoga Promotes a Positive Body Image: Mastering yoga skills and getting to know their own body a little better contributed to a better body image. The strength and flexibility developed through yoga helped kids of all ages to feel stronger and happier.
- Yoga Is Like Prayer for the Body: Kids are spiritual beings and need spiritual nurturing. Yoga is a great way to teach kids about their spiritual essence in a fun and interesting fashion. Over time, they develop the ability to be quiet and feel at peace.
- Yoga Is a Non-Competitive Group Activity: The non-competitive nature of yoga helps to build friendships.
- Yoga Helps to Manage Stress: The breathing aspect of yoga is particularly useful in helping children to cope with stressful situations.
- Yoga Improves Concentration: Regular yoga practice improves a child’s concentration levels considerably.
- Yoga Helps Kids to Discover Calm and Tranquillity: Kids are constantly being stimulated in some ways and often do not know how to be quiet and relaxed any longer. After practicing yoga for a prolonged period of time, kids begin to value “quiet time” and start viewing it as a source of rest and relaxation.
When my friend was finished explaining all the benefits to us, I asked her for the phone number of her yoga teacher to enrol in a class, realising that I would benefit from yoga just as much. You never know, perhaps my kids will do yoga in the future too.