How yoga can help your kid?
How yoga can help your kid? According to Harvard Health, mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment. It is a key element in reducing stress and anxiety.
The coronavirus pandemic has not only disrupted the lives of adults but children too. Schools have closed. Parents are playing teachers. Kids can’t go to the playground or library. They cannot meet their friends. A child could be frightened by this new reality and can become stressed and anxious.
Mindfulness can reduce stress and anxiety in children. Practising mindfulness can improve physical and psychological wellbeing in kids. Kids who practise yoga develop positive and healthy habits and attitudes.
Calling all parents and guardians who live in NSW!
NSW Active Kids is giving you a $100 voucher to use towards yoga classes at TopKidz in Sydney. To download the voucher, please visit NSW Active Kids website.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation. There are many ways to achieve mindfulness. Yoga meditation is one of the most effective methods. Many of the techniques used in yoga-like meditation, body sensations, and sensory awareness, can help children achieve a state of relaxation while still focusing on their thoughts and feelings at that moment.
Some types of mindfulness build concentration and focus making them extremely useful for academic excellence and musical training.
Benefits of yoga and mindfulness in kids
Here are three amazing ways yoga mindfulness can benefit children.
- Mindfulness improves kids’ wellbeing
- Mindfulness improves kids’ physical health
- Mindfulness improves children’s mental health
Mindfulness improves kids’ wellbeing
Children who learn how to focus on the present can cope better with changes to their environments. During stressful periods like virus quarantine, yoga poses can help the child to relax and to feel better.
Mindfulness improves kids’ physical health
Practising mindfulness will help children be healthier. Mindfulness can relieve childhood stress, promote blood circulation, reduce pain, improve sleep and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.
Mindfulness improves children’s mental health
Studies have shown that mindfulness is good for mental health. Mediation techniques used in yoga has been used to treat depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and attention-deficit disorders.
How to use yoga meditation to achieve mindfulness
Yoga is a transformational experience for children. It is a safe environment for them to build strength and flexibility and to improve memory and focus. At Top Kidz Academy, we use yoga to complement music training. Yoga stretches and poses help improve posture and balance which are important aspects of instrument playing. Commitment to achieving a yoga pose promotes discipline and perseverance. Breathing and meditation taught in yoga can also improve mental dexterity and calm nerves before performances.
Interested in trying some yoga meditation with the kids during quarantine? Here are some basic techniques.
Basic yoga meditation techniques
Sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Repeating a phrase ‘or a mantra’ silently can also help. Allow your thoughts and feelings to flow through without making any judgements. For example, if you are in your yoga pose and you feel like you’re missing your friends, don’t start processing that thought. Let it flow but focus on your breathing. “When you focus on breathing, you become aware that the mind likes jumping from one topic to another. If you concentrate on the breathing, not the thoughts, you can train the brain to come back to the present. It’s a way to develop mindfulness.
Once you’ve narrowed your concentration to your breathing, you can slowly begin to engage with the senses. Notice subtle body sensations like tingling or an itch. Notice the sights, sounds, smells, taste and touch around you. Try and identify each sensation but do not start dwelling on them. If you find your mind wandering, gently bring it back to focus on your breathing. Breathe in through the nose. Let the air expand and fill the belly. Then breathe out slowly through the mouth. As you breathe out, you can expel all the negative energies and return the mind to centre.
Finally, allow emotions to be present. Practice a steady naming of each emotion: ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘scared’, ‘worried’, ‘frightened’ and so forth. Don’t dwell on them.
Yoga poses to promote kids’ mindfulness
Specific yoga poses like The Volcano, Mountain and Helicopter are excellent ways to release nervous tension and reduce stress. If your kid is feeling overwhelmed by studying at home, practising these simple poses between lessons can help them relax and refocus.
Maxi’s simple Helicopter yoga pose for toddlers: Stand with feet apart. Place hands on shoulders, elbows up to shoulder height. Twist on your breath. Inhale – arms up. Exhale –twist right. Inhale – arms to the centre. Exhale – twist left. Repeat.
Yoga builds strength and balance
Holding a yoga pose requires mental concentration and physical dexterity. Balance is a great way to train focus and discipline. A simple pose you can do at home is the Tree Pose.
Yoga for sensory awareness and self-awareness
Yoga creates a connection between mind, body and the external environment. During yoga, children learn to become aware of different parts of their bodies. They learn how to recognise emotions, to relax and to manage their feelings.
Reference for further reading:
BodyMindLife (2020). ‘Yoga for kids with Beth Borowsky’ Retrieved from https://www.bodymindlife.com/blog/yoga/yoga-for-kids-with-beth-borowsky
ChildrenInspiredbyYoga (n.d.). ‘How yoga supports mindfulness for children.’ Retrieved from https://childreninspiredbyyoga.com/blog/2018/07/how-yoga-supports-mindfulness-for-children/
Harvard Health (n.d.). ‘Benefits of mindfulness’. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/benefits-of-mindfulness.htm
Gavin, M.L.(May 2018). ‘Yoga for lowering stress.’ Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/yoga-stress.html
Yurco, C. (n.d.). ‘Why musicians need yoga.’ Retrieved from https://makingmusicmag.com/why-musicians-need-yoga/Posted on: April 25, 2020, by : Delon Y