Healing Power of Yoga for Children and Youth
There are more than 20 million Americans who already practice yoga in this country in some form, because they are aware of the benefits of decreased stress and much greater flexibility, as well as an increased ability to concentrate and achieve inner peace. These benefits are most often associated with the adult practice of yoga, but it is just as true that children can benefit from the healing power of yoga, and at a young age learn some very important principles that will yield huge benefits in later life. Here are some of the ways that mindfulness training and meditation training can be of enormous benefit to children as well as adults.
Training children about yoga
Since children have much shorter attention spans than adults, it’s necessary to instruct them in bite-sized chunks of training, so the duration of classes and the material presented is tailored for maximum receptivity by youngsters. It’s also necessary to make allowances for children’s stages of development, both mentally and physically.
For instance, children generally do not have the sense of body awareness that adults do, although on the plus side, they are generally much more flexible than adults. Poses need to be described in understandable terms rather than their traditional Sanskrit names, and rules and boundaries have to be established so children can appreciate proper social behavior. Teaching kids yoga is a great way to impart morality and a good sense of ethics early in life that will carry over into adulthood.
Making it fun
It’s also sometimes necessary to maintain children’s interest by injecting some fun into the discipline with a few simple games, and by not pushing them too hard with the discipline aspect of the practice. By mixing some fun in with the mindfulness, meditative experience, and body awareness, children’s interest can be sustained to make the sessions as productive and beneficial as possible.
Most children who make even a moderate effort to participate and understand what is being presented to them, will eventually come to realize the tremendous benefits and will keep coming back to yoga all on their own, without any urging. The skills and the social behaviors learned and mastered in the practice of yoga by children help them grow individually, and are characteristics which they can apply to their everyday lives in school, and as they grow into adulthood.
How yoga can heal
With patient and proper instruction, children can derive a great many benefits from the regular practice of yoga, which will carry forward far beyond the actual sessions themselves. Children who participate regularly and really apply themselves can expect to:
- Have a much better alternative to immersion in electronic devices
- Enjoy the benefits of being in a healthy, non-competitive social setting
- Acquire a more positive self-image
- Become more self-confident
- Enjoy increased focus and concentration
- Manage stress much better through meditation and breathing exercises
- Understand how to use their bodies in positive ways
It’s never too early to begin teaching kids yoga!