I breathe in, a happy body, mind, and soul. I breathe out , and I smile.
A Mom rushes out the door with her yoga mat tucked under her arm. She knows her yoga class will help balance her life. What she doesn't know is what yoga can do for her kids. I have been teaching yoga to kids of all shapes, colors and sizes for four years. I’ve studied the effects that yoga has on kids and have found what I believe to be five major benefits of yoga for kids.
1. Balance of Body & Mind – When a child finds balance in his body, he is then balanced in his mind. When a child is learning to balance in a yoga pose and falls down, he gets back up, tries again, then falls and gets back up to try and try again. When the child finally finds his balance in the pose, he has truly found balance in his mind as well by learning to keep trying until achieving a positive outcome.
2. Concentration/Focus – By learning to balance, a child naturally is also learning to build concentration and focus. As a child is learning to still his body to hold a yoga pose, he becomes unaware of everything around him. His mind becomes focused on the task at hand, which is to find his balance; this is yoga.
3. Breathing Awareness – When a child is learning to balance in a yoga pose, she may become frustrated and feel challenged. By learning to take a deep breath and then try again, she builds an awareness of how proper breathing calms the body. This gives her control over many aspects of life such as help falling asleep, improved performance in sports, staying calm before an exam, and how to relax when trying something new.
4. Builds Self-Confidence – Learning to hold a yoga pose or to sit and breathe brings awareness to the child of how she is in control of her own body. By feeling in control, the child develops a strong awareness of herself. This teaches a child the power of self-control and self-discipline in making good decisions. I have seen many tweens who could otherwise be influenced in the wrong direction.
5. Happiness – Bringing balance to the body and mind, learning to concentrate and focus on the task at hand, and using the breath to remain calm builds self confidence which leads to the most important benefit of yoga... HAPPINESS!