yoga benefits for childrenBy Sanjeev Patel, CYT 500

For our children of today, Yoga is needed more now, than ever. Children face considerable stress in their lives. School, family, and peer pressures, as well as exposure to disturbing news coverage (crime, violence, war, terrorism, natural disasters, etc.) can make them very anxious.

When we are tense, our breath is shallow and fast; when we are relaxed, we breathe more slowly and deeply. In Yoga, we practice deep, slow, and even breaths (Natural Yoga Pranayama) to lower stress, and promote a more relaxed, comfortable state. Using the power of their own breath, kids sleep better, smile more, and cope with daily stress more efficiently.

Yoga emphasizes our connection to the natural world, with many poses that mimic animals. These Yoga poses are wonderful vehicles for sharing information about our connection to the environment. This gives children information, which will be useful for life. Children’s Yoga classes embrace the creativity of playing “make believe.”

Young Yogis meow in Cat pose, and roar in Lion pose – exploring how it might feel to be that particular animal. Imitation of animals develops compassion and respect for other creatures and our precious environment.

Barking and roaring, of course, means Kids Yoga classes can get rather noisy; and sometimes, outright silly, as kids “jiggle, wiggle, and giggle.” All this motion creates mood-elevating endorphins in the body, as well as offering kids healthy ways to express their emotions, rather than bottling them up or striking out.

The major difference, between teaching Yoga to adults and teaching Yoga to children, is where we direct the student’s attention. In adult classes, the attention is directed inward – students want to be taken out of their “thinking minds,” so that they can stay in the present moment and deeply experience each pose.

In Kids Yoga classes, Yoga teachers encourage students to connect their asanas to the outside world. We ask children to tap into their creativity and practice Yoga as a learning tool.

© Copyright 2010 – Sanjeev Patel / Aura Publications

Sanjeev Patel is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.

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