By Vivek Roy
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
Today we don’t live in a society where kids have a calm, peaceful and easy childhood. In today’s world, the struggle begins as soon as the kid enters school. He is under pressure to study and under pressure from growing competition. The picture is sad but true. From a very young age children are suffering from mental issues, typically problems that one might not have expected them to encounter until later in life. It is no wonder that these mental issues are affecting their physical health too. We as a community are unable to tackle this issue. And this is frightening.
This is an era of wholescale stress for our children. In an age group where they should have been enjoying the vibe, they are under pressure, stressed out and struggling. Moreover, we can also witness that these days kids sometimes have more interest in social media than in the real world. The virtual world and video games have become a preference over playing outside. Parents don’t mind these activities, because their own stressful and busy schedules leave them with little time for family interaction. All this commotion adds up to hindering the mental growth of the children.
Yoga and Mindfulness
Many of today’s children spend too long inside the house and too long watching the screen. This brings no flexibility in these kids. The lack of exercise means that the stress of academics and competition remains inside the body. Moreover, not exhaling all this chaos via some physical activity is the major cause af all the diseases that are building up in kids’ bodies today.
But don’t worry we have the solution to all these problems. The answer to the question is mindfulness. Apart from stress reduction and flexibility, the single most important thing yoga teaches children is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a psychological technique, the purpose of which is to bring one to focus. It works by bringing the practitioner’s concentration to experiences happening in the present moment. All this is done without any judgments. It does take time and training to master mindfulness, but it’s not impossible for motivated children to achieve.
Benefits of Yoga for Children
For children, practicing yoga brings both immediate satisfaction and permanent revolution. It doesn’t take long to see results and the variation of poses mean that children don’t get bored. With the help of yoga practice, kids can transform their bodies and minds in no time, while also improving their long-term fitness and mental health.
Interestingly, unlike other exercises and fitness regimes, yoga is for everyone. There is no specific requirement to begin practising yoga. All you have to do is want to do yoga. Most yoga places and local fitness centres offer yoga classes that are open to all age group and fitness levels. It’s exciting to enter an area packed with young teens, athletes, middle-aged moms, older gentlemen, and even fitness buffs and bodybuilders.
Everyone will feel accepted and welcomed. Unlike other sports or classes that focus on niche clients, yoga tends to offer open arms.
Yoga Helps in Building Memory and Cognition
The process of exercising yoga needs concentration. It involves the mind as well as the body. We have to have focus. And attention to the movement of our bodies. Also bring in synch the way of our breathing with all those movements.
When kids do yoga, they are especially exercising their ability to focus on the task in hand. In their day-to-day activities, this translates to better and sharper focus and cognitive functioning at school. This activity leads to improvement in the children’s academic performance.
Yoga Helps With Sleep
Getting good sleep is the one thing that is a must for all. Children most of all need healthy sleep, and exercising the body just before bedtime will help with this. When we are stressed, our body restricts and gets tense and our minds block, reducing our ability to sleep well. This state of abnormality is the same for kids.
Doing yoga will also help kids to reduce their stress. This happens by using their breathing to calm the mind and the nervous system.
The physical practice of yoga also helps to release any negative emotions that are being physically stored in the body, helping children to fall asleep faster and achieve a more satisfying sleep.
Yoga Helps With Determination and Perseverance
Yoga is a joyful and fun activity for kids. It is a non-competitive environment that helps them grow. When something turns out to be a fun activity for kids, they turn the world upside down in order to do it. Kids also have this feeling of love towards something, especially when they master something they think they cannot do.
For example let us talk of Crow Pose. It is so much fun for kids to practice. It can be difficult, but if they continue to practice they tend to learn it better. This determination and perseverance turns into the feeling of pleasure. When the above scenario happens, kids will do anything to keep that feeling of pride and accomplishment.
In their day-to-day lives, kids will learn that sticking with something, even though it is difficult and hard to do, pays off. And they will want to bring that feeling of excitement and pride along with achievement to other areas of their lives.
Yoga Helps to Self-Regulate
Self-regulation is a hidden but inbuilt ability, which involves recognizing and changing your behavior, thoughts and emotions based on the current situation you face. Self-regulation is a skill which helps kids solve problems and adjust to new challenges. It also helps children to set and achieve both short and long term goals.
By paying attention to our minds and bodies, we look inward to better understanding of our thoughts and feelings. Practicing yoga will help kids to understand and manage their emotions.
If a child feels frustration at school, there is little chance that he is paying attention to any new material or subject, and so he is not retaining or understanding, and this in turn leads to him falling behind in class.
But, by learning to reflect inward as well as recognize what they need in certain situations, kids can learn to handle their emotions and manage the situation effectively and appropriately.
Yoga Stimulates Children’s Mood
Like any physical activity, practicing yoga helps the kids to give away their negative thoughts. Yoga brings about mental clarity as well as calmness, and helps children to feel better about themselves. When we do some physical activity, such as yoga, we release endorphins. That helps in creating feelings of satisfaction and stress release. Yoga is also a fun activity in which kids can be silly, playful, and be with their friends in a non-competitive environment. While also learning so much about themselves and their body.
Some of the Best Yoga Poses for Kids
Bow pose also known as Dhanurasana in which kids have to put stress over abdominal area. Making them feel flexible.
Forming a bridge like structure or a table like structure while stretching your back and supporting it with hands and legs.
Also known as marjaryasana. Keeping all the weight of the body on knees you need to keep your palm of hands on ground and move your hips. This helps with flexibility.
In this pose you need to lie of floor, not on couch or bed, and lay down still. You can even close your eyes to relax. This is also known as Savasana. This builds a kid’s backbone and spine as well as gives extreme relaxation.
Under this asana, the kid has to do nothing but just fold ones legs into a bow like formation. Keep your hands on your legs and close one’s eyes. This will give relaxation and a stress free environment.
Recommended articles by Vivek Roy:
- 10 Things to Know Before Yoga Teacher Training in India
- 5 of the Most Soothing Yoga Poses to Help You Sleep Better
- 6 Yoga Poses to Increase Happiness and Decrease Stress
- Yoga Poses for Office Workers
About the author:
Vivek Roy is an enthusiastic Yoga blogger and Traveller from India. He has done 200 hours yoga teacher training in India. He loves to travel and share the knowledge of yoga around the world. For more information about him visit his website.