yoga to reduce violenceBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Parents often read or hear that Yoga will help their children.  However, what can parents expect from Kids Yoga classes? Starting with the very first Yoga lesson, classes are a great way to constructively keep children active, teach them lifelong habits, reduce temper tantrums, and give them improved body awareness. The benefits of kids Yoga classes include increased flexibility and strength, improved focus and concentration, and an ability to cope with stress and anxiety. While children aren’t necessarily aware of each of these benefits, the most important things they do know is that it’s fun and it feels good. Parents, on the other hand, want to know precisely what they can expect when they enroll their kids in a Yoga class.

Parents should always feel free to talk with the teacher about any concerns or questions. If parents have never attended a class, or are unsure whether their child will enjoy the class, they should ask the instructor if they can observe a class or two. Yoga teachers will often put parents at ease by giving them an overview of the class, and by inviting them to watch or join in if they would like. At Aura Wellness Center, we are developing an app for children and families to be able to have family Yoga time on demand. This gives parents extra options for busy parents who are on tight schedules. Tiki an animated tiger, will be an aid for parents, teachers, and children. We will be adding trailers and clips in August on YouTube and Daily Motion.

Children’s Yoga sessions are structured a bit differently than adult classes. Parents should find a welcoming environment with music, mats, pose illustrations, and possibly props. The Yoga instructor should be friendly and engaging – putting kids at ease. The pace of the class will vary. It should begin with an engaging activity to warm up the body, then progress to a game or other high-energy activity, then wind down with more soothing, meditative instruction. The children should be interacting with each other, the instructor, and the poses, throughout the entire class, as opposed to sitting back watching someone else do a Yoga pose, then mimicking it.

What Can Parents Expect?

Results of a class will ultimately vary from child to child. Parents should not expect a complete transformation of their child. However, when a child is constructively and regularly participating in Yoga sessions, he or she is likely to sleep well, focus in academic environments, reduce violent outbursts, and perform better in athletic settings. Overall, they can expect their child to learn a few techniques for taking a break from the day by breathing, stretching, or sitting quietly. Kids will learn that their bodies are strong and flexible. They will learn that breathing is an important part of life that too many people ignore. Children will also learn how to breathe deeply, and when to apply breathing exercises throughout the day, to help re-focus or release anxiety. They will learn some Yoga poses to stretch and strengthen their bodies. Perhaps, most importantly, children will learn how good they can feel by simply stretching, breathing, relaxing, and focusing their minds.

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We are developing “Tiki’s Yoga Journey,” an app for children and families.

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